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Marissa Ojeda is a 2017 IFMA Education Foundation scholarship recipient. She attends Cal Poly Pomona - The Collins College of Hospitality Management and is majoring in Hospitality 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?
I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. When I was younger I was associated with the LAPD Hollenbeck Police Activities League which gave me opportunities that others could only dream of. In 2012, I was fortunate enough to be in the first group of students that the Farm and Kitchen Foundation helped. The program’s mission was to empower inner-city youth through access and exposure to culinary education, innovative programming, civic engagement and positive interactions with caring adults. Through this program, I was inspired to pursue a career in the Hospitality industry.

How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
This scholarship has enabled me to further pursue my career in foodservice by allowing me to focus more on my studies so that I can finish my undergraduate within four years. Although I am currently working at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the hours are quite flexible and still give me the opportunity to gain exposure in the foodservice industry.

What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice was after my first year at Cal Poly, I received a Food & Beverage summer internship at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Through this internship I worked in the commissary where I got my hands dirty and learned the back of the house operations. My first few days included washing dishes, then I moved to food prep stations and lastly given the opportunity to assist with banquets such as weddings and corporate events held throughout the zoo. It was this experience that I realized foodservice operations was the area of Hospitality that I wanted to pursue.

What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
My dream job after graduation is to be a Catering Manager with Legends Hospitality at one of the many sport entertainment facility's they operate.

What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
My career in the foodservice industry began only 3 years ago, in just that short amount of time I have learned how to be a leader and working with others. I have enhanced my cooking skills and management skills through applied coursework at Cal Poly Pomona.

Do you have mentor? How have they helped you?
Throughout my college career, I have had many mentors in school and at my internships. Each mentor has advised me on issues related to the industry, good networking tips and resume building techniques.

What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is anything with shrimp, specifically a pound of shrimp with "the whole sha-bang" from Boiling Crab a Cajun/Creole Seafood restaurant.

What companies have you worked at for internships?
I have worked at Legends Hospitality Special Events & Catering : AT&T Stadium Dallas Cowboys, Legends Hospitality Concessions Management Intern : Los Angeles Angels Stadium, The Riviera Country Club : Human Resources Intern, San Diego Zoo Global : Food & Beverage Intern.

About The IFMA Educational 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.