Academics Student Spotlights

Three AHU Students Earn Hispanic Heritage Scholarships for First Time in Fund's History

Maria Salcedo and Chantal Diaz receive Hispanic Heritage Scholarships

Maria Salcedo (left) and Chantal Diaz (right) are among first ever AHU students to receive HHSF scholarships.

The Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund (HHSF), an organization dedicated to investing in the college education of Hispanic youth in Central Florida, recently awarded a record-breaking 50 scholarships totaling more than $360,000 to students.

Among the winners are three AdventHealth University students: Maria Salcedo, Chantal Diaz, and Greter Rosales. They are the first students from the university to receive this scholarship from the HHSF.

“I am beyond happy that I was able to be one of the first students to receive this scholarship,” said Salcedo. “I think this opens a door for many students to apply and feel encouraged that these opportunities are out there for the Hispanic community.”

Salcedo, 46, had a career as a doctor in Colombia, but when she came to the United States in 2016, she would have had to start all over again. With a family to support, she knew she could not go through residency again. She decided to apply to AHU’s cardiovascular sonography program and now is in her second trimester.

“I was hesitant to go back to school, and when I got into AHU, I knew it was going to be hard because I have been out of school for so long,” said Salcedo. “I found support from my professors, and everyone in the university has been supportive and critical to my success.”

Diaz, a payment reconciliation specialist in the finance department at AdventHealth Medical Group’s Gastroenterology and Hepatology office in Apopka, was born in Mexico and came to the United States when she was in third grade. Fast forward, she is now in her senior year in the nursing program at AHU.

“I already had to take out private loans because the federal loans weren’t enough, so this takes a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Diaz. “I encourage more students to apply. Initially I was scared to apply because I thought I wasn’t going to get it, but it doesn’t hurt to try.”

Diaz, 32, said she hopes to become a nurse midwife.

Once they graduate, Salcedo and Diaz plan to stay within the AdventHealth family and work at one of the health care system’s facilities.

AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division is implementing goals and objectives from the recently developed 2023-2025 Community Health Plans to address the health priorities for each of the hospitals and communities served. One of the goals is to emphasize workforce development by increasing support for career training and education programs, which is why AdventHealth is proud to support organizations like HHSF.

Yamile Luna, chief operating officer of AdventHealth Winter Garden and Clermont, is currently serving her two-year term as chair of HHSF’s volunteer committee.

“AdventHealth is a proud partner of the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund,” said Luna. “We understand that creating economic opportunity and providing knowledge and education to Hispanic leaders of tomorrow is a key component to our fast-growing Latino community’s success.”

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, HHSF is hosting its annual luncheon on Oct. 11 to honor the 50 students.

To learn more about HHSF, visit or learn more about eligibility and how to apply.

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