GW Distinguished Scholar Overcame Many Obstacles to Education

Dan Titus (left) accepting award he is holding from Provost Maltzman, both in suits.
Dan Titus, left, accepting the Distinguished Scholar Award from Provost Forrest Maltzman.
June 08, 2019

A burning internal drive to strive for nothing short of excellence through hard-work, perseverance and determination have made all the difference for Dan Titus, a May 2019 graduate from the Integrated Information, Science and Technology (IIST) bachelor’s degree completion program.

Titus has been awarded GW’s 2019 Distinguished Scholar Award by Provost Forrest Maltzman. He was nominated by Dr. Sara Hooshangi, his program director, as the top student to be honored in The College of Professional Studies for his exemplary performance both inside and outside the classroom.

He has embodied the spirit, intellect and perseverance of the student body at CPS, by maintaining high academic standards while juggling family responsibilities and a full-time job. He graduated with a 3.94 GPA and is a member of two honor societies, Phi Theta Kappa and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

He was also recognized as the Undergraduate College of Professional Studies Distinguished Scholar at the Commencement ceremony in May.

Before he realized his dream of completing his bachelor’s degree, he had to overcome many obstacles. His story starts as a five-year old moving to America from Panama, the youngest of four children. His father died when he was twelve. While his mother was very supportive of him her English was limited. He became independent at a young age, becoming a teenage parent at 17 and working a full-time job in the construction industry to support his child.

While he excelled in the construction industry, earned his G.E.D. at 19, and began to take courses at the Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), his career took priority over his education. He was quickly recognized for his quality work and achieved leadership roles, first in construction, then telecommunications and later in the hospitality industry.

“I took a step back and said to myself if I was able to move from a server in a restaurant to a managing partner in eight years, imagine if I finish my degree and acquire more knowledge. Where could I be in another eight years?”

He decided to make finishing his degree a priority so he could expand his career options. He received an associate degree from NVCC in 2017 before transferring to GW’s IIST program. He graduated from GW with his bachelor’s degree in May 2019.

“Completing my bachelor's,” he said, “has been a longtime fantasy. Being a GW student has opened many doors. I’ve acquired a data management position, scholarships and critical skills to succeed in today’s technological society. I’ve established lifelong friendships and made my family proud.”

While currently working in a data management position, he will continue his studies in the master’s degree program in Information Systems Technology, GW School of Business.

He is constantly looking for new ways to challenge himself and recently trained for and ran his first Marathon, despite having asthma. He is thinking about someday running the American Ninja Warrior competition.

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” –George Eliot. Titus constantly finds himself reciting Eliot’s quote to others. Titus states, “As long as you are alive, you can be whoever you want to be. Any progress in a certain direction, whether big or small. If you stay alive and keep striving for your goals, you will eventually obtain them. The only person that can stop your progress, is yourself.”