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Sebastian Vallejo

April 2016

By the time E. Sebastian Vallejo graduates he will have seen much of the world. From growing up in Ecuador to attending Penn State, to spending a semester in Australia, Vallejo does not shy away from educational travel experiences.

As a high school student in Cuenca, Ecuador, Vallejo decided to take summer courses at a university in New York, which is where he discovered his love for hospitality management. Soon after, his personal research revealed that Penn State offers one of the best hospitality management programs in the country.

While at Penn State, Vallejo’s courses have included educational visits to Italy, France and Spain. He has completed two internships at hotels in Ecuador and a third at Walt Disney World. Additionally, he is slated to study abroad in Australia for the fall semester of 2016.

“Part of what drew me to Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management is how international the program is,” Vallejo said. “The university is connected around the world, and that caught my attention.”

Vallejo hopes his career will begin in the entertainment business, possibly working for an international music festival

“I love seeing people who are happy and in those environments where nothing else matters, just the music, the people and good food,” Vallejo said. “Those kinds of experiences are some of the greatest memories I have. While working in that environment, you’re having fun while other people are having even more fun than you.”

Penn State courses are preparing Vallejo for his dream career.

“In class, it’s about being prepared for what could happen, and once you’re in the real world, you know you need to be careful in what you do,” he said. “We are learning this is a business where we’re trying to make money and build a legacy, but you need to do it right and happily, otherwise it’s not going to work.”

At the same time, Vallejo’s family has supported him through his experiences. His parents, sister and he share a friendly competitiveness when it comes to achieving personal career goals.

“It’s good competition. It pushes the four of us,” he said. “We are a team.”

More than 4,500 Penn State students are enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD) studying a wide-array of fields, each committed to the concept of improving the quality of life for others. Vallejo, who found a home in SHM, is one of those HHD students.

In addition to SHM, there are a variety of areas for students to study within HHD through the Departments of Biobehavioral Health, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health Policy and Administration, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Nutritional Sciences, and Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management. Learn more about HHD.