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Sharon Hadiwijaya is a 2019 International Gold & Silver Plate Society stipend recipient. She attends the Cal Poly Pomona and is majoring in Hospitality Management. 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 in the Hospitality Management. I made the decision to be in this major because I have always loved the idea of serving and making other people happy. Making others happy through a friendly gesture, being helpful and informative, or offering a delectable dish honestly brings me such joy.

How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
This scholarship has graciously helped me pursue a career in foodservice by offering the financial need to finish my last semester strong here at Cal Poly Pomona. In the past, I did have doubts if I even could ever graduate with a degree in the Hospitality Management due to financial issues and distress that was happening in my family. Without this scholarship, I wouldn't be able to fully invest my time and focus on schoolwork, and instead worry and stress about how to make the needs to pay for my student tuition in the upcoming semester. Nonetheless, this scholarship has opened my eyes to see that some organizations like IFMA do care about the future generation of food and hospitality professionals, and that they are willing to generously give and support these students, including myself, to fulfill their dream and aspiration.

What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice would be when I was working as a counter help at Panda Express. Shouting "Welcome to Panda" every time a customer walks into the restaurant, offering multiple food samples, and scooping their food choices into those fancy white and red to-go boxes were some of my day-to-day responsibilities.

What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
After graduation, my "dream job" varies from becoming a food service director, food product sales manager, or to be a sales development manager in the food service field sales.

What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
Through my education journey here at the Collins College as a Hospitality student, I am able to absorb all of the skills and understanding from my classes and apply them in real life. Cal Poly’s motto of “Learn By Doing,” is a motivation for me to get out of my comfort zone and just do what I have learned here from my valuable Professors and colleagues. Honestly, I would have never stepped out of my comfort zone if it was not for my Fall semester class requirement of earning 800 work hours in the food and hotel industry. Through my work experiences of working in the fast food industry at Panda Express and as the Sales & Marketing Intern at Embassy Suites Hilton, I was entirely exposed to the real world where I get to work and embark on a new journey that was not common or familiar to me before. I learned how to have self-control in order to manage my emotion especially in challenging situation where a customer starts to scream all of these negativity and complaints in front of me. I learned how to become creative in finding different solutions so that guests can be fully satisfied during their stay or
meal experiences. Each day I am constantly learning new things, and I believe all of these experiences has helped (and will continue to help) shape me to become a better person with the genuine heart of a servant-hood.

What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
Unfortunately, one of the challenges that students face today would be the fact that they lack the "experience" to be given the job opportunity. Often times, employer focus more on the student's years of experiences rather than noticing the full potential that a recent graduate may have. Especially with the fact that they have the valuable skills, and willingness to learn/be mentored.

Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you?
I am blessed with so many different mentors, but one that stands the most would be my Mom. My Mom has always been my personal adviser who taught me to always give thanks, work hard, be kind to everyone, and to never be afraid to dream big. She is one of my top role models because of how she has invested so much time, ideas, and love in me.

What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is an Indonesian dish called Rawon. It is an Indonesian beef soup that originates from Surabaya, East Java. Rawon utilizes the black keluak nut as the main seasoning, which gives a dark color and nutty flavor to the soup. Paired with white steamed rice, boiled eggs, bean sprouts, and krupuk (deep fried crackers), these tasty stewed beef soup are the way to my heart.

About The IFMA Education Foundation

The IFMA Education Foundation promotes the next generation of foodservice leaders. The Foundation is committed to giving 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.

How to help the next generation of foodservice!