After months of social distancing and quarantine, many sectors of business have slowly begun to reopen their doors to the public. However, the hospitality industry is still facing challenges as dining options, tourism and travel have not yet rebounded. Many students in the hospitality industry lost internship opportunities this summer.
Despite these changes and challenges, the School of Hospitality Business recently received a boost of positivity as several undergraduate students were selected by the AHLA Foundation to receive national scholarships.
Since 1953, the AHLA Foundation, an education-based not-for-profit affiliate of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, has focused on the development of future hospitality industry workers through scholarships.
“In the last several months, millions of hospitality employees have lost their job and our small-business hotel owners have had to cease operations completely. At AHLA and the AHLA Foundation, we’ve been working tirelessly to do all we can to support furloughed employees and help owners and operators keep their doors open,” Rosanna Maietta, AHLA Foundation president, said in a statement to the Broad College. “That’s why we feel it’s even more important to remain committed to disbursing $1 million to hardworking hospitality students across the country.”
A total of seven hospitality business students were selected as 2020 scholarship recipients: junior Nadia Cismesia and seniors Vinh Le, Brendan Connolly, Zoe Frantzeskakis, Christina Heydenburg, Marissa House and Courtney Miars.
Cismesia, Frantzeskakis, Heydenburg and Miars were recipients of the Steve Hymans Extended Stay Fund scholarhsip; House and Le received American Express Fund scholarships, and Connolly is the only recipient of the Creighton Holden Memorial Fund scholarship.
“Being selected for this scholarship is so meaningful to me because it shows that all the hard work I’ve put into my schooling during my years at MSU has been seen as exemplary and deserving of a reward,” Heydenburg said. “Throughout this school year, I hope to still strive toward excellence despite online classes and upset job plans.”
Le, who will serve as CFO of the Broad College’s Hospitality Association, said, “It’s always an honor to be recognized and awarded a scholarship from AHLA. This scholarship means a lot to me during this unprecedented time.”
Miars said, “I feel very honored to have been selected for this generous award. I look forward to this upcoming school year, and my overarching goal is to give back.” she said. “I feel very lucky to have had the amazing staff and students of the Hospitality Business School support me and help me find my way. I only hope I can do the same for my peers.”