I applied to the Southern Management Leadership Program (SMLP) during my senior year at Prince George’s Community College. SMLP is a scholarship initiative targeted at students interested in entrepreneurship, starting a business or leading a company. I was 19 and had recently arrived from Honduras, where I’d finished high school.
At first, it was hard to adapt to living in a new country, but I had one goal in mind: to obtain a college degree. I was the first in my family to attend college. I had a full course load, but I also worked full time so I could help family members in Honduras. After sharing my story and my goals with the SMLP program managers, I was selected for the scholarship.
The most significant benefit I received from the scholarship was the support and guidance from the managers and the other students in my SMLP cohort. Of course the financial factor is very important, but having people offering me support and advice was the best thing I got from the program. My transition to UMD was not easy, but this support network made things much better. Being in the SMLP program was like being part of a family.
After graduation, I was accepted into the master’s in accounting with data analytics program at Villanova University, sponsored by the accounting firm KPMG. UMD
prepared me well for this program. Since completing the program last summer, I’ve been working as an audit associate at KPMG.
I’m very proud to be a Terp. I’m part of the UMD Latinx Alumni Network. UMD shaped me into a professional, gave me more self-confidence and a valuable educational experience. And I made great friends along the way.
"The donors who support SMLP and other scholarship programs are giving young people a great opportunity to accomplish their dreams. Their generosity is life changing—not just for the students they help, but for their families too. I hope to make a positive impact in the lives of others like they did in mine."