There's Always a Way

A strong work ethic met with a Penn State education has led first-generation student Josh Maldonado-Santiago to a world of opportunity and a life of service as a future Air Force officer.

Growing up as the son of Puerto Rican immigrants in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Josh Maldonado-Santiago took the ethos of hard work instilled in him by his parents to heart, eventually graduating first in his high school class, attending Penn State, and excelling in the University’s Air Force ROTC program.  Credit: Photos courtesy of Josh Maldonado-SantiagoAll Rights Reserved.

Josh Maldonado-Santiago learned early on that nothing would ever be handed to him. From blue-collar beginnings in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to the threshold of a Penn State degree and an officer’s commission in the U.S. Air Force, every success in Maldonado-Santiago’s life has been achieved through two guiding principles: hard work and sacrifice.

“Between Penn State and the military, I’m part of something bigger than I thought I would be,” said Maldonado-Santiago. “That’s a good feeling. I push myself so hard because I don’t want to lose it. I’ve come a long way to get where I’m at right now, and I’m not going to jeopardize it by slacking off.”

READ MORE about how Maldonado-Santiago has made the most of his Penn State experience to build a bright future serving his country at


Last Updated June 02, 2021