Students Win More Than Top Honors at DECA’s Conference

By LAZARO GONZALEZ FIU Hospitality students won first and second place, and ranked top ten among different categories at DECA’s International Career Development Conference on April 16–19 in Washington D.C. The two-freshmen and two-junior team secured their ticket to the national conference when they excelled at the state competition held a month earlier, by winning individual and team challenges, beating thousands of students from 275 colleges and universities from across the U.S. They landed at the capital full of confidence, but unable to see the finish line clearly. After all, they were about to go head to head against what could be thousands of the most successful and committed scholars from around the world—including Canada, The UK, Asia and the Caribbean, to name a few—who had achieved similar feats to qualify for the nationals. The summer Olympic games would not happen for another few months, but to these students it may have felt just as if they had landed in the middle of a relay race. But instead of their muscles, they would use their brains. Split in teams of three or four, they took on different real-world challenges with a clear mandate: solve the problem; arrive at the best possible outcome and win. The two juniors scored big. Kimberly Rivera, who transferred to FIU from Broward College, swept the Red Lobster YPCN Leadership Seminar Case Study Challenge. Her team placed in first place. After the team victory, she was selected as the leader solo competitor to go against leaders from the other teams. She won that, too. Among other challenges, she presented on a new business concept and figured out how to solve problems within the DECA organization itself. In the Human Resource Management [...]

Yolanda Suarez to be recognized as Worlds Ahead Graduate

By LAZARO GONZALEZ President Mark Rosenberg will recognize Yolanda Suarez at the spring 2016 commencement for her incredible accomplishments during the last four years, as she joins the exclusive list of Worlds Ahead Graduates. These are students who have excelled inside and outside the classroom. For Yolanda, excelling is the norm in just about anything she sets out to do. As a freshman, sitting quietly among thousands of other students at a National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) conference, listening to speeches from student leaders, Yolanda told herself “I’m going to be on that stage one day.” Fast forward to her senior year. Not only did she get on the stage, she was elected to be the National Programs Director for NSMH, representing 86 school chapters and thousands of students nationwide. The once shy young woman who overcame a fear of public speaking, whose favorite TV program at five was Chef Emeril Lagasse’s “Bam!” show, told her parents while sitting on a playground swing that she wanted to become a chef. Without a culinary program, FIU’s hospitality management program proved a wiser more economic choice for the daughter of an IT professional from Puerto Rico and a stay-at-home mom from Italy who sacrificed to purchase a Florida prepaid college plan. At FIU, Yolanda led students to conferences; got hotels and other hospitality organizations to donate food and products to the homeless; completed an internship program at Disney World, and was a student lead at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. The go-getter also was nominated to be part of the Hospitality Student Advisory Board. After graduation, Yolanda will join the Hilton Management Development Program. She was one of only 50 out of 600 [...]

Second CHART Regional Training Forum in Miami to be held on May 19

The Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) is an organization of visionary trainers in the hotel and restaurant fields. This more than 50-year-old organization holds two conferences a year with the goal of sharing training best practices, educate trainers in essential competencies, and encourage learning and growing. More than 40 human resources and training team members attended the first Miami Regional Training Forum held in January. This second forum we will focus on diversity training and diversity in the workplace with Jeff Drozdowski, Manager/National Training at Little Caesar Enterprises. When: Thursday, May 19 from 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Where: Hospitality Management Building at BBC RSVP: Karen Wollard: (305) 919-4525

Student and Entrepreneur Wins First Place in Annual Ice Cream Technology Conference

Juan Puerto, still a junior at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, won the top prize at the Annual Ice Cream Flavor Contest in the Most Innovative Novelty category. Through the competition, held at the Ice Cream Technology Conference hosted by the International Dairy Food Association, his Coconut and Milk Fruit Bar stood out among products from big industry names like Wells Enterprises (BlueBunny), Dove, Baskin Robbins and Publix Supermarkets. Juan credits the hospitality program at FIU with teaching him essential tools that he can use in and out of the food production laboratories. “Having learned foodservice operations, and accounting has been key to running my business,” he said. Read the official press release See the full list of Contestants

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