How did you become interested in your major?
After my CIA externship, I decided that getting a bachelor’s degree will benefit me in the future. During the last semester of my culinary arts degree, I fell in love with service and wine! I decided to do CIA’s concentration in Advanced Wine, Beverage, and Hospitality. Having the opportunity to experience serving guests and studying wine really showed me that going for my bachelor’s degree was worth it. It will definitely help me find great future jobs.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue this career?
Many people have influenced my decision to pursue the hospitality field, but the support from my mother and aunt has truly made me push to always do better. I was always around my aunt when she cooked at home and just kind of watched everything she was doing. We often had the Food Network on in our house, which I loved to watch. I didn’t always cook at home until I started cooking at my vocational school my junior year—yet I always think back to the many great meals I ate with my family and really thank my mother and aunt for always being by my side.
Did you have to overcome any challenges to come to the CIA?
I would say my biggest challenge was getting myself to the CIA. It was very hard financially to get everything set in place to go to school. It is expensive to go to college, but once I got my award letter from the CIA I knew that I could make my way through college. With the many scholarships that the CIA has, it really made it easier to pay for school and get a bachelor’s degree as well.
Why did you choose the CIA?
My first boss at the country club where I worked was a graduate from the CIA and really talked about how great it was. Then Chris Costa, a CIA admissions representative, came to my vocational school and really made me fall in love with the college. He signed me up for an open house that the school has, and once I set foot on the campus I knew this was the place for me. It was my first college visit and I made my decision that day!
What do you like best about the CIA?
I like the amount of opportunities that I have as a student on campus—whether it’s having so many kitchens to eat from, the many different housing options, and the wide variety of job options for students. I feel like our campus provides all the resources to have the best college experience possible!
What is/are the best lesson(s) you’ve learned while at the CIA or what advice would you give to new students?
I think the best lesson I have learned at school is to never give up. The CIA provides you all the materials to do anything you set your mind to, and really will assist you with whatever you want to do. I learn every day at the CIA to never give up and always reach for the goals you set for yourself.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I played on the CIA men’s volleyball team, and I participate in the many intramural sports offered on campus such as softball. I also become a resident assistant and joined a great department on campus. A few semesters later, I was promoted to a senior resident assistant, which has really helped me gain better leadership skills.
What are your career goals or plans right after graduation?
Right after my graduation I would like to become a food and beverage manager at a country club in the Carolinas. During that time, I would like to study for my Advanced Sommelier Certification through The Court of Master Sommeliers.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering attending the CIA?
My advice to you is to come and visit the CIA and really see what the college is all about. Stay educated and up to date about what is happening in the hospitality industry. If you to go to a place where everyone has the same passion and love for food, then The Culinary Institute of America is the place for you!