Lila Cornelio, Providence CampusA native of Evanstown, Illinois, Lila Cornelio is a first-generation Mexican-American and the initial recipient of The Mary Ann Esposito Foundation Scholarship, which provides financial aid to JWU students to help them achieve their dream of working in the culinary arts.
In addition to the funding, the scholarship provides Cornelio, a culinary nutrition major in the College of Culinary Arts at the Providence Campus, the opportunity to be mentored by Esposito through involvement with her TV show, Ciao Italia, which is filmed in Rhode Island.
“I am very honored to have received this scholarship,” said Cornelio. “I have always been impressed by Mrs. Esposito and the way in which her Italian heritage and passion for cooking have influenced her career. Growing up in a traditional Mexican household, I appreciate her ability to stay true to her roots. Her support and her mentorship will go a long way towards helping make my dreams a reality.”
From a young age, Lila knew that she wanted to pursue a career in the Culinary Arts. While spending many summers with her family in Mexico, Lila was impressed by how carefully people tended to their own land — growing their own crops, milking their own cows. Once Lila understood and appreciated the connection between the land and food, she was hooked.
“When time came to choose a college, there were two good schools in Chicago, but they were nothing like Johnson & Wales University,” explained Cornelio. “The warm atmosphere, friendly people, and passion for excellence were big deciding factors in enrolling at Johnson & Wales University.”
Following graduation, Lila plans to specialize in upscale, healthy Mexican cuisine and work with people who have special dietary needs. In addition to Culinary Arts, Lila is an avid runner and a member of JWU’s Cross Country Team.Charles Barnes, North Miami Campus "My father and I made a deal that if I graduated high school he would put me through college. During my senior year however he passed away and then I began to worry how I would put myself through college. Then I remembered what my father had always told me, 'Do what needs to be done.' That was when I told myself, that no matter how many loans I had to take out I was going to do what needed to be done and out myself through college.
"The Bank of America Scholarship has helped take off some of the burden. It is more important now than ever before that the University has these types of scholarships available. This scholarship has helped me take one step closer to my dreams. They have taken their own success and passed it on to others who need and deserve it, so that they too can be successful."
Ashlee Ciliberti, North Miami Campus"One day during my freshman year I received email from the Director of Financial Services that said to contact him as soon as possible. I couldn’t imagine what it was about. When I called him, I found out that I was a recipient of one of the highest donated scholarships that a student ever has received at Johnson & Wales University. Hearing this made me extremely excited.
"Through the school’s general scholarship program, I was awarded a $7500 scholarship from Columbia Sussex Corporation. Receiving the scholarship really meant a lot to me. My mother is a single parent of 2 children and I know as proud as she is of me that I am in college and doing great, it’s not that easy on her pockets. This scholarship not only meant a lot to me, but also my mother. It definitely made a difference in the amount we would have to come out of pocket to cover my school fees.
"I’ve always worked very hard to be a good student. I have maintained over a 3.0 while in high school and college and though I always strive for the best no matter what, to be rewarded by receiving such a big scholarship really made me feel good. I felt like my hard work and dedication to my education was being rewarded and it was a great feeling.
Christopher Brunson, Denver CampusA junior in The Hospitality College majoring in Sports, Entertainment and Event Management, Brunson is the recipient of a Daniels Opportunity Scholarship awarded through a grant to JWU from The Daniels Fund. This program seeks to award scholarships to non-traditional students that are committed to being successful in college and in life.
Although Chris is a humble person, he has a large presence on the Denver Campus. He is a valued member of the men’s Basketball team. By faculty and staff who know him, he elicits such compliments as “thoughtful student” and “great person." He hopes to one day utilize his degree in a career in the sports industry. He says, “I feel that JWU will help me achieve these goals through the curriculum and its expansive network.”
The youngest of six siblings, Chris is not only a first-generation college student, but a first-generation high school graduate. He is very appreciative for the Daniels Opportunity Scholarship for its very positive influence on his life and for affording him the chance to continue his education. When asked why he chose JWU, Chris lists the curriculum, small class size, campus diversity, and the opportunity to learn from industry professionals as major factors in his decision. As a champion both on and off the court, Chris is an inspiration to us all.
Andrea Brown, Charlotte CampusPassion for food service has existed in Andrea Brown’s family for multiple generations, but the junior food and beverage management major came to JWU to better understand the business side of the industry.
“I grew up watching my grandmother work for years with her catering business. She always worked so hard but was always struggling to make ends meet,” Andrea explained. “She never finished high school; therefore she could never quite understand how a business should be run to make a profit.”
Andrea realized that JWU offered a comprehensive course selection where she could learn about all aspects of the food service industry and was impressed by the university’s career services and externship opportunities. Her education has been empowered by a Bank of America scholarship, which has ensured that she can complete her JWU education.
“Before receiving my scholarship, I was contemplating on taking a term off to save money to return to school the next term,” said Andrea. “Receiving this scholarship was very important to me.”
Thanks to the generous support of donors, the following students were able to make their dreams of attaining a culinary arts education a reality. read more