Mackenzie Holm is a 2017 IFMA Education Foundation scholarship recipient. She attends Purdue University and is majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Find out what she had to say when we asked her a few questions about her foodservice scholarship and future career.
What is your major & what made you decide on it?
My major is in Hospitality and Tourism Management. I decided on this major because of my love for food and the happiness it brings people.
How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
This scholarship has enabled me to pursue a career in foodservice in so many ways. Most importantly, by decreasing the stress that my parents and I have about being able to afford tuition and room and board. It has also allowed me to focus more time and energy on schoolwork, organization involvement, and reaching out to recruiters. It is also helping me mentally, by showing me that hard work pays off and that people are supporting me in dreaming bigger and reaching higher in my career goals.
What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice was at my church in my hometown. It was actually my first job ever. I worked at the bistro/coffee shop. I was supposed to just make coffee drinks, but any opportunity to make food in the kitchen I took.
What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
After graduation, my dream job would be to work in the food service department in elementary schools. I would love to develop nutritionally focused menus to help children learn healthy lifestyles, and also help educate them on food.
What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
In these past four years I have learned so much that I will be able to apply to my career in foodservice. I have learned principles of accounting, marketing, human resources, law, effective management techniques, and much more class based knowledge. I have also learned many things beyond the classroom: how to encourage people and push them to their full potential, how to teach others without micromanaging them, and most importantly I have learned to believe in myself and to never stop reaching for my goals. All of these skills, inside the classroom and out, will be extremely helpful in my career in foodservice.
What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
Sadly, there are a lot of challenges that students are facing in todays foodservice industry. Being a female, I am often doubted in my ability to lead in a kitchen environment, I take this as an opportunity to show people that you do not have to fit the typical chef look to lead a team to success. Secondly, being young poses some difficulties as well. Students are having to learn how to manage workers that are not only older but have 20+ years of food service experience.
Do you have mentor? How have they helped you?
My mentor is my advisor, Maggy Leitch. I met Maggy while I was visiting Purdue in high school, and she has been there for me ever since. She has helped me in every way you can help a person. She had guided me to a path of success by advising me with organizations to join, companies that fit my personality and skills, and always believing in me and pushing me to be better.
What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is my dads homemade collard greens with ham hocks. The smells brings me home, and I always request he makes it for the holidays.
What companies have you worked at for internships?
I have worked internships at Schahet Hotel Management, Ritz Charles Caterers, Purdue Athletics & Centerplate at NCAA Headquarters.
About the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.