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July/August 2012

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Eric's Club Spring2012
Turning Campers into Cougars
Over the course of just three days, high school students interested in studying hospitality cram a semester-long research project into three hours, visit a variety of venues to learn about the wide range of careers they can pursue, make dinner with Executive Chef Abbas Jaffari, tour the College and campus while asking lots of questions of the Conrad Hilton Ambassadors, and attend a bowling party at the UC. They also stay in the new Cougar Village freshmen dorms and play volleyball and swim at the UH Rec Center. This, in a nutshell, is summer camp with director of Enrollment Danny Arocha (pictured center), who the kids say is "totally awesome." Now in its eighth year, this June Danny and his Ambassadors hosted 82 students in three summer camps, giving prospective students a taste of real college life. Though most campers hail from Texas, Alberto Jiménez (left) and Katy Riddell (right) travelled the furthest to experience life as hospitality majors at Hilton College. Alberto is from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He attended several camps, including one on animal science. After experiencing hospitality camp, he's almost certain a career in hotels or casinos is his calling. Katy travelled from Rye, New Hampshire, and knew about these camps because she attended the College's Fall Recruiting Blitz last November. Katy knew she wanted a career in hotels, but this summer camp sealed the deal and she plans to apply for 2013. From day one, more than 50 percent of the students who attend these annual summer camps become Hilton College students. Today, the alumni of the first camps enjoy successful careers in hospitality. If the past is any indication, Danny has already recruited 40 great students before his 2013 recruiting efforts have even begun. Go Danny! Go Coogs! (Photo: Michael Scott)
Eric's Club Spring2012
Acing NACE's Highest Honors
Each July, catering and event professionals from around the country gather to recognize and honor their peers at the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) Experience Awards Gala. This summer when the group gathered for their annual conference in New Orleans July 15-18, Hilton College students and an alumna took three of NACE's top honors. (Pictured left to right) Senior Stephanie Truett was presented with NACE's prestigious $10,000 Vince DeFinis Scholarship by outgoing NACE Foundation board member Dean John Bowen and Troy Conklin, president of the Foundation of NACE. May 2012 graduate Brittany Talavera was selected National Student of the Year, and alumna Julie Brown-Edwards, CPCE ('85), director of Catering at Baltimore's Tremont Plaza Suites Hotel and Grand Historic Venue, was named National Catering Executive of the Year. Congratulating Julie are Kevin Brant, CPCE, immediate past president of the National Board, and Greg Casella, CPCE, immediate past president of NACE National. Cougar kudos to Stephanie, Brittany and Julie on these amazing accolades! And "thank you" to both faculty advisor Erin Oeser, who has helped to make the Houston Student Chapter of NACE one of the largest and strongest in the country, and Dr. JéAnna Abbott, who continues to foster the College's longstanding relationship with NACE.  
CMAA Panelists
Cougar Power at ICHRIE
Providence, Rhode Island, was the stage for the annual International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) Summer Conference & Marketplace held August 1-4. This year, five of our own were recognized for outstanding achievement and service. (Pictured left to right) Associate Dean Carl Boger was honored with the Service Award for his work on the ICHRIE Board of Directors; Dean John Bowen won the prestigious Stevenson W. Fletcher Award, which recognizes an individual educator for outstanding contributions to the field of hospitality and tourism education; William D. Frye (MHM '97), an associate professor at Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management and executive editor of The Room Chronicle, the number one journal for hotel rooms management, received the Raphael Kavanaugh Champion of Education Award, which is only presented by the Board on special occasion for exceptional contributions to the industry; Ryan Smith (MHM '11), a visiting lecturer at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, picked up the McCool Breakthrough Award for his peers at Hotel ICON; and assistant professor Yoon Koh, earned the 2012 Outstanding Scientific Paper Reviewer in Finance Award. Cougar kudos to all of our accomplished alumni and faculty!   
CMAA Panelists

From Master's Thesis to Farmers' Market
Not all produce is washed before heading to market. And unlike large commercial farmers who can ship produce to packing facilities for washing, smaller farmers must do everything themselves. With leafy greens having the highest incidence of contamination nationwide and not a lot of research available for smaller farms to access methods for efficiently and economically washing produce, the seed was planted for graduate student Cecilia Zerio Egli's (center) master's thesis. Supported by a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture and with assistance from her co-primary investigators—Dr. Sujata Sirsat (left) and Dr. Jay Neal (right)—the idea for a "salad spinner" for farmers blossomed. The team surveyed more than 80 local and regional farmers about their harvesting and washing practices, asking if they would use a washing device if it were available. The result of their research is the device pictured here, which is made from PVC pipe, a stainless steel strainer and a five-gallon drum. After a news release on this spinner was distributed, Dr. Neal was contacted by farmers in Austin, New Mexico, Indiana and Illinois to test pilot production of the spinner. As part of her thesis, CiCi also developed "IKEA-like" instructions for these farmers to follow—along with best practices for growing, harvesting and washing produce—and modifications will be made as needed. The Hilton College food science team plans to make these instructions available in the fall to farmers and farmers' markets, thus providing a simple and inexpensive device for small farms to efficiently wash leafy produce and practically guaranteeing CiCi a top grade on her thesis come graduation. (Photo: Michael Scott)