Bridget Niland, dean of the College of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management, and the Rev. James Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, with 2022 Merani Scholarship recipient Sheila Strott.

Sheila Strott, an incoming freshman in Niagara University’s College of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management, is the 2022 recipient of the university’s Merani scholarship, a collaboration between Niagara and the Merani Hotel Group to provide opportunities for high-level experiential learning in the hospitality industry. Strott, a Grand Island, N.Y., resident who graduated from Mount Saint Mary Academy in June, will receive a four-year, $30,000 scholarship and three paid rotating internships at Merani properties.

Strott’s volunteer work with organizations such as the Food Bank of Western New York and as a teacher’s aide, as well as her experience as CEO of a virtual company at her high school and her work at the Buffalo Launch Club, were some of the factors that earned her the prestigious award.

“Being the recipient of the Merani Scholarship means so much to me because it is putting me one step closer to reaching my goals,” Strott said, noting that she hopes to own her own hotel and resort one day. “This scholarship not only makes Niagara a more affordable experience, but also allows me to work side by side with experienced leaders in the industry. This internship will help me gain knowledge and hands-on experience beyond just the classroom and, for that opportunity, I could not be more grateful.”

The scholarship was established in 2018 to synergize efforts to develop the outstanding hospitality leaders of tomorrow. Recipients will train and work alongside Merani executives at one of the organization’s five hotel properties in the Niagara Falls region--three on the American side of the falls and two in Ontario, Canada. Merani also operates a food truck and four restaurants. This exceptional opportunity will augment the knowledge gained in the classroom.

“Sheila is a driven and determined student and has the passion to learn all aspects of the hotel and hospitality industry,” said Bridget Niland, dean of the College of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management. “Her ability to successfully balance school, work, and extracurricular activities makes her the ideal recipient of this scholarship.”

Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management offers undergraduate degree programs in hotel and restaurant management, sport and recreation management, and tourism and event management, as well as a graduate program in sport management. To learn more, please call 716.286.8279 or visit

Additional information on the Merani Hotel Group can be found at