Tiffany Calestina

Degree: M.S. Hospitality & Tourism Management

College: Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management

Tiffany Rose Calestina is a true example of what it means to keep reaching for your dreams, no matter what life brings you. Despite being in hospice care, the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management student graduates this Spring with a 4.0 GPA and a Master of Science in Hospitality Management with a specialization in mega and large-scale events.

Tiffany’s journey has been challenging, overcoming extraordinary physical and health obstacles to complete her education. Doctors tried to remove a tumor from her brain unsuccessfully, which resulted in hearing and vision loss on her right side. The tumor causes seizures and flare ups, which make her unable to walk. She recently had a miscarriage, which she learned was a result of several hematomas in her chest and endometriosis. Tiffany also suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, and was forced to have a mastectomy due to breast cancer.

Despite the hurdles, Tiffany graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management in 2019. Then, she decided to continue her studies in the same field through FIU Hospitality's online program.

Tiffany is in constant pain, but never shows it. In fact, she is a positive force with a passion for events. She already works as an events manager coordinating weddings, corporate events, and parties. When she graduates, she would like to add to her event experience and work in the field of research or as an online professor.

Although she is unable to get out bed somedays due to unbearable pain, Tiffany remains positive and grateful. "No one is promised a tomorrow and for me, time is the most precious thing," she said. Those who know her agree and say Tiffany exudes love and gratitude and is a "light to others."

By Ivonne Yee-Amor
Communications, PR & Marketing
Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management