Major: Bachelor’s Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts Management
Campus: Hyde Park, NY
Hometown: Middletown, PA
How did you become interested in your major?
When I was a little girl, my mom would bake cakes for friends and family and would allow me to help her. As I got older, she gave me more and more responsibilities and we enjoyed making cakes together. She showed me how to decorate cakes and eventually I was good enough to be on my own. Whenever I was in the kitchen baking, I realized it didn’t feel like work and I was just having fun. I knew I had a gift for baking and knew this was the career I wanted to pursue.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue this career?
Without a doubt it was my mom. She had the patience to teach me everything she knew when I was young and allowed me to develop my skills and try new things as I grew up. Looking back now, I realize that without her help I would not be where I am today.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
Yes, I attended a traditional high school rather than a vocational/technical school that had a culinary program. My culinary opportunities were limited. I knew that all my skills would have to come from my own hands-on experience. However, my high school did offer an internship program and I was able to spend every morning of my senior year in a bakery. This valuable experience solidified my decision and I knew that I definitely wanted to become a pastry chef.
Why did you choose the CIA?
For me, I didn’t even have in mind another college as a second choice. From the moment I found out about the CIA, I knew I had to go there. I toured a few other colleges but none of them even compared to the CIA. When I visited the CIA campus in New York, my decision was finalized. I chose the CIA because I want to be the best pastry chef I can be and I know that the CIA will get me there.
What do you like best about the CIA?
I like the diversity of classes that we take. From breads to chocolates to cakes, I feel like the CIA covers everything I would want to know about baking and pastry. With our classes being three weeks long, I love that I get to be immersed in the course—devoting all my time and efforts into one topic at a time.
What is/are the best lesson(s) you’ve learned while at the CIA or what advice would you give to new students?
Both the best lesson I’ve learned and the advice I would give to new students is to believe in yourself and trust in your abilities. It was scary starting college with no vocational background when other people in my class had that experience. After starting my classes, I realized that we were all in the same place and we were all at the same level. If you study and work hard, the CIA will make you a great chef.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I am on the CIA’s tennis team for the second year in a row. I’ve been playing tennis since I was in seventh grade. So, when I found out that the CIA had a team, I was very excited. Since the school doesn’t offer a women’s tennis team, our team is co-ed. All the other teams we play are men-only. It was very intimidating at first to compete against all males, but once I started winning matches I realized I could hold my own and actually enjoy success.
What are your career goals or plans right after graduation?
My plan is to then open my own bakery. This has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl. I would like to specialize in wedding and specialty cakes.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering attending the CIA?
If cooking or baking is your passion, then this is absolutely the best place for you. My advice would be to always work hard and do your best. If you can do that, then you will succeed here at the CIA.