Demelza Hays was chosen as one of 15 of students – from more than 6,000 applicants – to receive the Critical Language Scholarship from the United States State Department.  Already fluent in Spanish, Hays will use the scholarship to study the Punjabi and Hindi languages abroad in India for two months this summer.

A statistics teaching assistant, Hays is the founder of Tamarindo Properties, LLC, a real estate company that invests in foreclosed homes and manages properties within the Tampa Bay area.

Hays, who hopes to become a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State, has served as an intern for U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor.  She is president of Club de Espanol at USF, which is comprised of roughly 250 members.  In partnership with the Spanish Language Department at USF, Hays created an on campus tutoring service free to all students.