Jennifer Black, a 22-year-old senior at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, is likely the only graduate this spring that won’t be pursuing a traditional position in the lodging, food & beverage, event or tourism industries. In fact, Black is taking a unique approach to hospitality by looking to service students rather than catering to guests. That’s why Black will be enrolling at the University of South Carolina this fall to pursue a Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs, where she will ultimately look to combine her interest in hospitality with her passion for student life.
“I am looking to pair my hospitality management degree with my collegiate experience,” said Black. “I want to work in an academic institution, where I can cater to students and help them advance.”
At a young age, Black realized that she wanted to work in the hospitality industry in some capacity, and in 2008, she enrolled at the University of Central Florida to study that very subject. Black immediately began testing the waters of the hospitality industry by working at Universal Studios and the Marriott Grande Vista hotel during her first two years at UCF.
But it wasn’t until her junior year that Black discovered her passion for campus involvement.
“I have been a member of the LEAD Scholars program since I was a freshman, but other than that, I really didn’t get involved until my junior year,” said Black. “UCF is such a big community that it’s difficult to not eventually get involved on some level, and once I did, I really enjoyed it.”
Currently, Black serves her fellow students in a variety of facets around campus, including as a resident assistant at the Rosen College campus apartments, as an orientation team leader, and as an elections commissioner for the Student Government Association. She also serves on the President’s Leadership Council and participates in the Alternative Spring Break program.
Black also led the LEAD Scholars program in most volunteered hours completed in 2009 and 2010.
In addition to her campus involvement duties, Black has also set an example for students academically. The lifetime member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society has won several scholarly awards, including the Harris Rosen Scholarship, the Rosen College Founders’ Day Award, and the prestigious Order of Pegasus award – UCF’s highest honor.
“The best advice that I can offer other students is to take advantage of every opportunity and volunteer for everything,” said Black.
At the end of this semester, Jennifer Black will graduate from UCF with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, a minor in Dance and a Certificate in Leadership Studies.