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Juan Tamayo

Degree: Master of Science in Hospitality Management

College/School: Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

At his uncle’s restaurant in Connecticut, Juan watched as music and platters of food from his home country, Cuba, brought family and friends together. He realized then how a restaurant can serve as the center of a community.

Juan’s mother had been a professor in Cuba. In America, she took a job in a mattress factory. When Juan got in trouble in school, his mother took him there. He saw assembly line workers not much older than him. His mother told him that no matter what happens in your life, education is the one thing that can’t be taken away from you.

Juan followed that advice. After graduating high school in the top 10 percent of his class, Juan earned a business management degree at Ithaca College. He spent the next two years teaching in an inner-city Jacksonville school as part of the Teach for America program.

He enrolled in FIU in 2016, and while completing his master’s degree in hospitality management, Juan worked his way up to become a food and beverage manager at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.

With his degree, Juan hopes to bring together his teaching and hospitality experience. He will pursue a Ph.D. in organizational behavior management and hopes to become an expert on how hospitality leaders can lead their teams more effectively.

By Eric Barton, Writer
Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management