Hello, my name is Reginald DeGraffenreid, but please call me Reggie. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but I was raised here in Maryland. I’m a product of a Montgomery County education having graduated from Quince Orchard High School, and Montgomery College (MC). In my life I have worked in several different jobs and gained a lot of work experience. However, I never really found a career that left me feeling fulfilled. Eventually, I decided to return to school and pursue a career in hospitality, where I could combine my desire to serve, my love for people and food, and my natural inclination for business.
I first learned about the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) from my current advisor and program director, Ruth O’ Rourke. I was one of three students from my hospitality program at MC who attended a Montgomery County hospitality breakfast and had the good fortune to be sitting next to Ruth. During the breakfast I learned about USG, and specifically the Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) program at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (UMES). Ruth's energy, passion for the program and campus, and the attention she showed me over the remainder of my time at MC played a huge role in my decision.
Active recruitment sparked my interest, but it was the substance of the HTM program at UMES, and the convenient location of the USG campus that ultimately were my deciding factors. The HTM program at UMES is designed to mold good students into great leaders. Through a combination of course material taught by professionals in the industry, challenging events that allow us to expand our skill-sets, and an emphasis on career development, UMES offers a program that pushes me to my limits and I know I will be ready to excel in my field.
Already, I’ve had the opportunity to get involved and make a difference. Within my first two weeks, I was placed in charge of our Campus Kitchen “Raise the Dough Fundraiser.” It was quite an honor to be chosen to lead a campaign that does such good work in our community.
After graduation, my plan is to take a job as a kitchen manager in preparation for my ultimate goal, that is to own, develop, and operate a restaurant. When I look back, I know USG will have been an instrumental part of my success.