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January 2013

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Fall 2012 Graduation
Class Acts From the Fall Class of 2012
The Fall Class of 2012 donned their caps and gowns, grabbed their diplomas and said goodbye to Hilton College on December 21, ready to make waves in the hospitality world. This semester, 23 students received their Master of Science in Hospitality Management, and 145 students earned their Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management. What's more, 62 of those students graduated with honors—quite an accomplishment! But before they all hit the streets to celebrate, three of the newly minted alumni were honored at a reception for graduates and their families at the Hilton University of Houston. Pictured with Dean John Bowen, Kaitlyn Venable—a CIA-trained chef actively involved in Par Excellence, Gourmet Night and Hospitality Hall of Honor, among other events and organizations—received the Dean's Award for undergraduates. The Dean's Award is given each semester to a standout graduate who personifies hospitality in all of their endeavors at the College. Also honored at the reception were Anita Koo (pictured upper right), who received the Alumni Award for Scholastic Excellence for undergrads and was one of just nine UH students to graduate Summa Cum Laude this semester, and Xiaowei Zhang, (pictured lower left) who received the Alumni Award for Scholastic Excellence for graduate students. Congrats to Kaitlyn, Anita, Xiaowei and all of the other Fall 2012 grads. Best of luck, and we look forward to hearing about all of your successes out in the "real world!" (Photos: Michael Scott)
Lori Osborn
New Face in Career Placement Services
Hilton College has a new director of Placement Services! Lori Osborn comes to us from Dona Ana Community College in New Mexico, where she taught multiple HR and hospitality-related courses. She received her bachelor's in Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management from New Mexico State University, as well as her master's in Family & Consumer Science. Though Lori is a New Mexico native, this isn't her first stint in the Lone Star State—she's also worked as an HR manager for Jason's Deli and at Texas A&M University. Lori's main responsibility at Hilton College is to help students find their way into the workforce through full-time, part-time and internship positions. Lori also serves as the point person for recruiters who want to come on campus, coordinates the College's bi-annual Career Fairs, and she's always there to help students with résumés, cover letters and interview etiquette. Her best piece of advice for job-seekers? Do your homework. She says it's important to learn about the culture of the company you want to work for, and find one that matches your values. When she's not hooking Hilton College students up with great jobs, Lori enjoys spending time with her dog, Bailey, and catching the occasional Astros game. Welcome to the team, Lori! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Inside Hilton College Blog
Pulling Back the Hilton College Curtain
At Hilton College, we're proud of our experiential-learning philosophy, and we want potential students to really understand what that means for their education. Now, we've got a new way to do just that, thanks to the magic of the World Wide Web. Our new blog, "Inside Hilton College: An Outsider's Take on Life Inside a Hospitality School," made its debut this month. "Inside Hilton College," written by our new Director of Digital Marketing Taylor Wiley, pulls back the curtain and gives readers an exciting—and often humorous—first-person perspective on everything the College has to offer. Taylor, a former journalist with no prior hospitality-industry experience, is flinging herself with abandon into the hospitality-school fire, participating in events, attending tastings, sitting in on classes and taking part in labs to give potential students a clearer idea of what they have to look forward to when they join the Hilton College family. But it's not just for them; the blog is a great way for alums, current students and parents to keep up with what's happening around here. So bookmark the blog page, and check back often for updates. We think you'll enjoy it—and you might just learn a thing or two. Taylor is!
Staff Council Awards

Staff Council Shout-Out for 3 College Standouts
Everyone knows Hilton College has outstanding faculty, but there's another set of employees who also deserve a pat on the back—our fabulous staff! To celebrate its 25th year on campus, the UH Staff Council recently recognized 25 staff members from all over the University, and three of Hilton College's own were among the honorees: (pictured left to right) Danny Arocha ('95), director of Enrollment; Miguel Cabrera ('05 Bauer), program manager for Development; and Akash Grover ('07), director of Room Operations for the Hilton University of Houston. Danny, Miguel, Akash and the other honorees were all nominated in early 2012, and Staff Council carefully chose the employees they thought best represented the broad range of talents of the University's "Tier One staff." Danny was recognized as a "Tier One booster" for his recruitment efforts at Hilton College and his contagious enthusiasm for all things UH. Miguel, who works every day with alumni and big names in the hospitality industry to bring in tens of thousands of dollars for new and existing endowments, was recognized as a "Tier One connector" by the Council. And Akash, a Hilton College alum who came back to the Hilton University of Houston to help develop students for the hotel industry with real-world experience, was recognized for providing "Tier One hospitality training." Congrats to this terrific trio on their Staff Council honors, and thanks to the rest of our staff for working hard to make Hilton College the best hospitality school in the world! (Photo illustration: Taylor Wiley)

NACE Houston Awards

Big Winners at the NACE Houston Awards
It was quite a night for Hilton College at the 2012 National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) Houston Chapter Awards, held December 18 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel! NACE Houston, the largest chapter in the country, hosts the awards annually to recognize some of the brightest stars in Bayou City event planning. At the 2012 event, four members of the College family walked away with major honors. The honorees were Krystal Peay ('10), director of the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair (pictured left); Erin Oeser ('98), lecturer and executive director of Gourmet Night (center); Summer McNeill, current student and treasurer of the NACE Cougar Chapter (right); and Monique Studak, industry lecturer (not pictured). Krystal won two awards: the Baumann/Reinheardt Chapter Member of the Year Award, which recognizes chapter members who exemplify dedication, leadership and commitment to the NACE Mission Statement; and the Hopkins Cougar Advocate Award, which is awarded to members for their work with the student chapter. Erin received the coveted Synergy Award, which is presented to a team of Houston NACE members for their work on a specific event—in this case, for Gourmet Night 2012, themed the 100th Anniversary of Titanic's Maiden Voyage. Four other vendors associated with Gourmet Night 2012 were also recognized. Summer received the Student Chapter Member of the Year Award, which recognizes student members for their contributions to the NACE Houston Chapter. Monique received the Spirit of NACE Award. Kudos to all! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)

NACE Houston Awards

Global Networking for Grad Students
Sixteen students and six faculty members traveled to Seattle in early January for the annual Graduate Education & Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism, an event that was started by Hilton College 18 years ago and will return to the University of Houston next year. At the 2013 conference, which was hosted by Washington State University, both master's and doctoral candidates had the opportunity to present their research and network with fellow hospitality scholars from all over the world. Pictured above are the 10 graduate students who presented research: Daehan Cha, Yu Ting Chien, Hong Conroy, Alexis Hoey, Jung Kuk Jang, Wenjing Li, Xiayan Luo, Sung Gyun Mun, Armaghan Sadeghbeigi and Qing Qing Liu; and the six faculty members who were there to support the presenters: Dean John Bowen, Associate Dean Carl Boger, Dr. Ki-Joon Back, director of the College's Graduate Program; Dr. Mary Dawson, Dr. Yoon Koh and Dr. Jay Neal. The other six Hilton College students attended the conference as participants only. As the founder of the conference, Hilton College hosts the event every third year. The 2014 conference will take place at Hilton College January 3-5, and the 2015 conference will be hosted in Tampa by Florida State University.