My passion for hospitality was fostered by my work experience, fueled by Montgomery College (MC), and cultivated here at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). Being a product of Montgomery County Public Schools, it was no surprise to me that a county with a great K-12 education system would have an equally incredible higher education system.
I started my college career at MC, initially unsure of the path I wanted to take, alongside working full-time at a hotel. Once I decided to pursue the hospitality industry academically, I realized I had found my niche. I discovered the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) at a USG open house. Listening to the program director and the other students from the program speak with the same passion I felt for hospitality signified that I was coming to the right place.
One thing I’ve really enjoyed about USG is how much it embraces diversity and change. Joining the National Society for Minorities in Hospitality has been a great resource for networking with like- and unlike-minded individuals to create an environment of acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. Coming from a diverse background, as well as a diverse and ever-changing industry, working with people with vastly different experiences makes all of us more prepared to take on the challenges we’ll face in our careers.
During my time so far USG, I’ve learned about several facets of hospitality, ranging from front desk operations in a hotel, to catering for large events, to sourcing local food from farms practically in our backyard! I’ve been able to participate in organizations like the Campus Kitchens Project, a nationwide scholastic non-profit committed to cooking healthy, delicious food for underprivileged families, while learning to fundraise, manage resources, and give back to our community sustainably.
While I’m still exploring my career options within hotel management, I’ve truly enjoyed organizing and catering events, and I can see myself rising into event management. When I graduate, I know I’ll leave with the complete set of skills I’ve developed and fine-tuned here. I’ll be ready to take on the hospitality world, one guest at a time.