Degree: Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management with a Real Estate Specialization
College/School: Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management
Samuel Kelerstein-Sandler was born in Mexico to Jewish parents who taught him values such as hard work, honesty and caring for others. Friends and family usually gathered at his house to celebrate special occasions. From a young age, Samuel wanted to make a difference and at 21, he was leading an organization that taught leadership, loyalty, trust, and tolerance to 250 children and teenagers.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in Mexico, Samuel worked for a U.S. computer company for two years. He then decided to switch careers, remembering what he loved the most while growing up – taking care of guests. He started his hospitality career from the bottom up, working with hotels and in restaurants.
By age 26, Samuel had created a non-profit promoting the heritage and history of Mexico’s Jewish community. At 28, he was successfully managing a group of restaurants when he decided to pursue a master’s in hospitality and tourism management at FIU.
Among his many achievements at FIU, he earned the Metromedia Restaurant Minority Scholarship and helped revive the South Florida collegiate chapter of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Samuel also has represented FIU at national and international hospitality conferences. He credits professors Rocco Angelo, David Talty, Miranda Kitterlin, John Thomas, and Greg Bohan as mentors.
Samuel plans to create new businesses in hospitality that will help make the world a better place. His first venture, involving frozen desserts, is Glyk Gelato, which will open in South Florida soon.