A note from 2014 Dr. Peter Ricci HSMAI South Florida Scholarship recipients: Tara & Nicole Wengert
As seniors in the Hospitality Management program at Florida Atlantic University, we have learned a lot about this unique industry. Being twins has allowed us to experience this journey together where we were also able to learn about ourselves as individuals. We first started our paths to the field by taking Culinary Arts at Atlantic Technical High School in Coconut Creek, FL. The passion that the people had in that field and their amazing and heartwarming personalities are what ultimately led us to our chosen major. Hospitality Management combined the customer service aspect that we loved about Culinary along with the academic rigor we were looking for that came along with getting a BBA in Hospitality Management. Getting a BBA in Hospitality Management at FAU is a great combination between hospitality coursework and rigorous business courses that are an essential foundation to working in any business.
We inevitably came across Dr. Peter Ricci before declaring our major, who has become the best mentor and professor in hospitality that we could ever ask for. He truly is a hospitality expert and is nothing but passionate for giving his students the best of the best, whether it be jobs, advice or knowledge of the field. We have also been awarded many scholarships this past year including this year’s Dr. Peter Ricci scholarship through HSMAI. In addition, we have also been awarded the American Hotel & Lodging Association scholarship, Palm Beach County Hotel & Lodging scholarship, and FAU College of Business Scholarships. The HSMAI scholarship awarded in Dr. Ricci’s name is the ultimate honor and we are delighted to be given a scholarship that means so much to us.
The opportunities that we have come across during our time at FAU have been phenomenal. We were both able to gets jobs in our field relatively quickly. I (Tara) began as a front desk agent at the Hampton Inn & Suites near the Sawgrass Mall in Tamarac and have been happily working there ever since. While working there, I was given the opportunity to learn about sales and quickly took a liking to it. In addition to my front desk job, I did a summer digital marketing internship at the Boca Raton Resort where I learned a lot about hotel marketing. Because of my experiences of working in a hotel, I am currently considering a career in hotel sales and marketing upon graduation. I would love to get 1-2 years of experience before going back to school for a Master’s degree. I (Nicole) have been through a number of jobs in the hospitality industry, ranging from office work, an events internship and a manager in development program at the Boca Resort. Currently, I am training to be a front desk agent at the Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruiseport. I believe my passion lies with events and marketing, and can see myself happy in a position that combines both. I also have a goal of obtaining my Master’s degree in 2 years.
To learn more about FAU please visit www.business.fau.edu/hospitality