Juliet Leon is a 2014 International Gold & Silver Plate Society stipend recipient. She attends Cornell University and is majoring in Food Science. Find out what she had to say when we asked her a few questions about her foodservice stipend and future career.
What is your major & what made you decide on it?
My major is Food Science. I first decided upon this major because I have always been fascinated by the continual evolution of food manufacturing and processing and there are endless possibilities within the field.
How has your stipend enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
This stipend has alleviated some of my financial burden which allows me to focus more on my coursework and spend fewer hours at my part-time job. Recently, I have used this extra time to join a product development team as a Group Leader. Gaining more experience in the food industry will allow me to further narrow my interests and pursue a career in food manufacturing. Food spoilage is a particular area in food microbiology which interests me.
What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice was as a banquet server at the Hilton Garden Inn. My job responsibilities included managing corporate functions/luncheons and collaborating with my team members to provide quality customer service.
What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
My dream job after I graduate would be to find employment with a progressive, innovative food company in their product development department. If possible, I would like to also continue on to get my Master's degree in Food Science.
Through my internship at Rich's and other past experiences, I have learned that collaboration between different departments of a company is essential for its success.
Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you?
Kristin Alongi was my mentor during my 2014 summer internship at Rich Products Corporation and continues to be a close friend and adviser. During my internship, we met frequently to discuss what it means to be an effective leader and how one can take the necessary steps towards this goal. Anytime I have a question regarding my education or my future, she is always there to share her wisdom from past experiences.
What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
Through my internship at Rich's and other past experiences, I have learned that collaboration between different departments of a company is essential for its success. If there is a lack of communication, it leads to confusion and inefficiency. When everyone is on the same page, we can all work towards the same goal of providing high quality foodservice.
What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
In today's world of foodservice, students face the challenge of lacking enough experience to successfully contribute in the corporate world. I believe higher education institutions should work harder to provide more realistic experiences and education about what the foodservice industry is really like.
What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal reflects my ethnic background. My grandparents are Syrian and my grandmother will make us stuffed grape leaves and kibbeh on special occasions. Kibbeh is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that is comprised of cracked wheat, minced onions, pinenuts, and finely ground beef or lamb. This is my favorite
meal because my grandmother rarely makes it so when she does, it is a special treat.
About The IFMA Educational Foundation
The IFMA Educational Foundation promotes the next generation of foodservice leaders. The Foundation is committed to give qualified culinary, marketing or food science students support toward completion of education requirements. Over the years, we've accomplished our goal by providing scholarships, publications, educational programs, internships and stipends to accredited institutions and individuals enrolled in accredited institutions.
Do you want to support the next generation of foodservice by making a donation to IFMA's Educational Foundation? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.