Julia Spondike: Attitude for Learning, Aptitude for Achieving


CIA Student Bio

“I wanted the most elite college experience I could find! I pursued education at a trade school, then upon graduation, had the opportunity to compete nationally and earn a full tuition scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America.”

How did you become interested in food?
My passion and love for food came from my grandmother’s legacy, as well as the iconic Julia Child. I loved hearing stories of my grandmas and great-grandmas always being in the kitchen; they would make fresh Italian pastas and dishes with my family observing close by. My dad’s stories made my heart leap out of my chest with compassion and interest for the world of food.

Why did you choose the CIA?
I wanted the most elite college experience I could find! I pursued education at a trade school, then upon graduation, had the opportunity to compete nationally and earn a full tuition scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America. My dream was to attend the CIA, and my dedication to the craft made that possible. I have also chosen to continue on and pursue a culinary science bachelor’s degree through the CIA, which is definitely known for being the best culinary school around.

How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
Let’s just say without any financial help, I would not be graduating from the CIA on May 3 this year. The SkillsUSA’s competition full-tuition scholarship was the open door for me to come to CIA. After being here, I realized how coveted a position it is to be a student at this school. My long-term goal was to make it to CIA, and that was achieved through hard work and that scholarship.

“The end goal of my career is to have my own test/teaching kitchen. By continuing my education with CIA for the bachelor’s program in culinary science, I know it will give me the foundation to make my goals a reality.”—Julia Spondike, CIA culinary arts

What do you like best about the CIA?
I am very appreciative of the incredible team of chefs and professors that teach at this school. They have probably had the biggest impact on my college experience, and I have learned so much from them—even just about life in general.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
In the very little free time I have, I love participating in evening events at The Egg like karaoke nights. Being a peer tutor and a resource captain at the Learning Strategies Center has also given me the opportunity to connect with so many students on campus!

What is your favorite dish to make?
I love being able to experiment with all different kinds of dishes! I wouldn’t want to pin it down to one dish, but I could say that my favorite cuisine to dapple in, currently, is Thai food.

How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
Upon graduation from the associate program, I believe I will be equipped with fundamental knowledge of food, wine, and hospitality. Professionalism is a monumental action that is practiced at CIA, so being able to demonstrate professionalism in all areas of my career and personality will help me to be better-prepared for the business and communication side of food.

What are the best lessons you’ve learned while at the CIA?
One thing that will always stick with me is that if someone has an attitude for learning, they can achieve so much more than they initially intended for themselves. A lesson that I learned for myself was that not everyone is going to like and/or respect you (especially in a leadership position) but as long as you treat everyone fairly, there can be a harmonious dance choreographed within your team and kitchen classes.

What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
The end goal of my career is to have my own test/teaching kitchen. By continuing my education with CIA for the bachelor’s program in culinary science, I know it will give me the foundation to make my goals a reality.

What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
Know what you are passionate about, and why! Action without purpose is a recipe for disaster. Have a plan, or plan to fail. Even though we all will face challenges in our education and our lives, never give up on what you believe in (including yourself). Also make friends and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! I think that would be the one thing I regret doing—hesitating to make genuine connections with my peers.

Julia Spondike is a CIA student pursuing her associate degree in culinary arts at the CIA’s campus in Hyde Park, NY. She is from Lorain, OH.