2016 Scholarship Winner

Joshua Maldonado-Santiago  

Joshua Maldonado-Santiago

Member Company: Ray Litwin's HVAC
Pennsylvania State University

Are you still in school? Are you working and if so, in what field?
As of now I am currently a junior at Penn State Majoring in Telecommunications with a Minor in Military Studies. Both classes and extracurricular activities are going extremely well for me. I am always busy because at Penn State I am a Cadet in the Air Force ROTC program so that requires me to accomplish a lot of duties in addition to all of my full time student responsibilities. ROTC paired with classes has really been beneficial for me because it has helped me see the bigger picture for why things are done the way they are.

Moreover, this program has taught me a lot, the biggest ones being time-management skills, root cause analysis skills and furthermore, leadership. This past fall semester was one of the busiest up to date for me. After three weeks of extensive military training over the summer in Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama and Camp Shelby in Mississippi, I graduated top third of the training flight with the highest fitness score in the entire training class.

This grand accomplishment led to a promotion within ROTC to Cadet Captain in addition to holding the Position of Executive Officer for a wing of over 140 Cadets.

I spent a lot of time in the semester working on projects monitored by Air force Captains and Colonels. My position required a lot out of me, by no means was it easy. Sometimes we had problems within our unit and I had to be the one to figure out why things were happening in addition to explaining to those below me why it was that I was doing what I was doing. From this I learned that sometimes you have to do your job regardless of whether people like the decisions or not. You have a bigger mission to accomplish and objectives to meet along that way, if something breaks down a long that way, as I came to realize, you need to be versatile and fix the problems that arise in order to ensure that what you set out to accomplish does in fact get accomplished. Coming hand in hand with this, I picked up a few leadership qualities that have really helped me. This past semester taught me that sometimes you have to be strong and be the calm authoritative figure that people look up to during rough times. It has taught me that you have to remain extremely humble, you have sympathize and more importantly you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep your people happy and on track towards the end result. Being the Executive Officer for the Air Force ROTC program at Penn State for one semester was an extreme honor and privilege. I learned so much that could be applied to my classes. , I am still a full time student with above a 3.0 GPA, I have classes Monday through Friday and I also work a part time job for the Marketing Department at Penn State four times a week. As you can see, this past semester was very rigorous, but my passion and love for what I do kept me positive and kept me pushing forward regardless of what was going on. You have to look at the bigger picture, and you have to stay focused and tackle everything else one step at a time.