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Jacqualine O'Connor is a 2016 International Gold & Silver Plate Society stipend recipient. She attends Western Michigan University and is majoring in Food and Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing. 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 and Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing with a minor in General business. I decided to go into the food industry because no matter what happens in life, food will always be needed. My mother is a part of the food industry and the way she talks about her job made me think that, I want to be a part of the food industry too.

How has your stipend enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
The stipend has lifted a burden off of my shoulders by being able to not worry about my school debt. I am able to focus more on my studies and apply my knowledge in the real world.

What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in the foodservice industry was a cashier at Gordon Food Service.

What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
My dream job would entail anything that has to do category management.

What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
I have learned that culture is the deciding factor when it comes to where I want to work. Money is great, but going into work and being truly happy with the people I work with and the values of the company makes the job great.

What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
The challenge is that we are fresh out of college and don't have a lot of experience. We will gain knowledge through experience, but it will take time. We all started as students and I feel like some people forget that aspect.

Do you have mentor? How have they helped you?
My mentor is a co-worker at work. He and I meet on a monthly basis and go over ways I can improve my knowledge and skills. I find it very helpful because he has provided me with his career path, obstacles, and wins he has encountered throughout his career.

What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is a simple egg sandwich with cottage cheese on the side.

What companies have you worked at for internships?
I have worked with The Hershey Company and The Kellogg Company.

About IFMA Education Foundation:

The IFMA Education 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 Education Foundation?   
Contact us at ifma@ifmaworld.com.