Grand Hyatt New York
a: I'm one of 35 college graduates in the country chosen for Hyatt's Corporate Management Training (CMT) program. Starting January 4, I'll train for five months at the 1311-room hotel in the heart of Manhattan, learning its inner workings including the front desk and housekeeping.q: What's your favorite part of the job?
a: Hyatt's a company where everyone wants to help each other instead of worrying about their own egos. I worked at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo over the Summer, and am currently a Gallery Host at Hyatt Place in Orlando. Because I was a Hyatt Campus Ambassador, I got first pick for locations and am ecstatic about going to New York.q: What's the greatest challenge?
a: Understanding the unions. Florida's has at-will employment but it's different in other states.q: Do you stay in touch with any other UCF hospitality alums?
a: Kara McClatchy '09 and Jennifer Shepherd '05, plus Matt Dunn '09 who also works at Hyatt.q: Outside work...you're most likely to be seen?
a: Facebooking and Twittering - with a purpose. I'm obsessed with how social networks connect people. I follow tourism-related sites for cities, companies and organizations all over the world. When you look at what everyone else is doing, the Orange County/Orlando CVB's "67 Days of Smiles" campaign is so unique. I job shadowed an employee there, and it's just amazing what they do to market this city.q: Your biggest accomplishment since graduating, outside your career?
a: Although I'm graduating today (literally), all my dreams have already come true. I wanted to study abroad, be an exchange student, be a camp counselor for kids, work for a big corporation and live in New York City. I was awarded scholarships for studying abroad as well as from The National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP) and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. I've done it all, so need to make a new list of goals.q: How did UCF prepare you for what you do?
a: Rosen graduates are taught professionalism, so we're ready to take on Corporate America. When I attended the NCBMP conference, some of the students from other colleges didn't know how to talk with Vice Presidents and CEOs of companies. I shared what I learned about resumes and business cards with them. Adjunct professor Darren Chiappetta made an impact on my written and verbal communication. I am so proud to be a Knight.q: How could the hospitality program have been better?
a: The Event Management degree program should include a large senior event project that showcases everything learned, involving real-life negotiating and encouraging creativity. Specialized bridal curriculum should be introduced, as well as more ways to get your hands dirty instead of listening to lectures. For instance, the Event Technology class could include hands-on experience with A/V equipment and MeetingMatrix certification. This kind of work would make us stand out to employers.q: A UCF memory?
a: Being an exchange student at the Université d'Angers in France. There were 35 college students from all over the world, including seven from Rosen College and the rest from Sweden, Finland, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Hungary, Poland and China. We studied tourism and were completely immersed in French culture for five and a half months. It just opens your mind. Every hospitality major should do this.q: Favorite meal in Orlando?
a: Dinner prepared by assistant professor Dr. Kim Severt. She's been there for me since I met her on our study abroad trip to Lausanne, Switzerland. In addition to being a great cook, she has been my biggest supporter, mentor, friend, and second mom. Dr. Kim has significantly contributed to my professional and personal growth. She is a rare jewel.q: On your iPod?
a: Alternative, live acoustic vocals and Classic Jazz.q: Little known fact about you?
a: I once dreamed of being a jazz vocal singer.