Where Are They Now?
Apparel and Textiles Alumni
Class of 2005
During my first year at Target, I worked in Target
Sourcing Services as an Import Coordinator, bringing
in shipments of furniture from overseas. Global
Fashion Economics was invaluable to me at that
time. I later changed areas and became assistant
technical designer in Newborn Infant Toddler clothing. I
utilized information from the classes on product
development and quality assurance. I also worked as
the assistant technical designer for Intimates where I
worked with live fit models for the first time. For the
past 10 months, I have been working on junior
swimwear and have been given ownership of the
technical design role for the Xhilaration brand. A new
and interesting endeavor has
been added to my field of responsibility - junior plus swimwear. I will have both technical and design input in this category. The class on grading and pattern development has been instrumental for writing specs and providing pattern correction direction to my vendors.
During the past couple of years, I have been doing small design
projects on my own such as handbag embellishment and freelance bridal design. I have my own little clothing line; my brand name, JNRR (Je Ne Regrette Rien), means “I Do Not Regret Anything” in French. I have sold a few items online at Etsy.com, a site for hand-made items.
Class of 2004
I graduated from NDSU with a degree in Retail Merchandising in May 2004. I currently work for the NDSU Alumni Association as the Center Director for the Alumni Center. I'm responsible for the building and planning all of the events that take place here. We hold about 1500 events here each year-- everything from campus events, meetings, conferences, dinner parties, wedding ceremonies and receptions. After having such a positive experience at NDSU, it's rewarding to be able to stay connected to campus life and serve the NDSU and Fargo/Moorhead community. People give me a funny look when I tell them about what I do and what my degree is in—but you’d be surprised at how they really do intertwine. Rather than selling a tangible product, I’m selling a service. And all of the components really are the same- quality control, effective use of materials, forecasting trends, customer service, sourcing out services, and even textile knowledge!
I was introduced to this career in my junior year when I was offered an opportunity to do my internship with the NDSU Alumni Association. With the blessing of my advisor I took a leap of faith and decided to try something new. Armed with a lot of enthusiasm and very little event planning experience, I jumped right in. Don't get me wrong, I had planned smaller events for my family, friends and campus groups, but certainly nothing like a wedding. After the initial panic and many sleepless nights passed, I found that I loved doing this. I was shocked that they actually paid people to do it! So, I settled into my senior year of college with a new set of doors opened to me. I continued to intern with the Association and after graduation was offered a position with Archiver's (a scrapbooking store) in the Twin Cities. I loved being back in the retail world and enjoyed living in the cities. Ironically enough, my position at Archiver's entailed planning in store events. After about 4 months in the position, I received word that the Alumni Association had an opening. I applied and I guess the rest is history. I've been in my position for about 4 years and love the challenges that each new day brings!
Hospitality and Tourism Management Alumni
Class of 1992
I currently live in Rome, Georgia (just northwest of Atlanta). After graduating from NDSU’s HMR program, I spent almost 10 years working in food service management (catering, retail, and board operations) at several colleges in the Midwest. I then chose to further my education and pursue a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in 2002. I am now the Executive Chef and Director of Dining Services at a K-12 private boarding school in northwest Georgia. During my college years at NDSU, I worked part time jobs in both the food service and hotel industries in Fargo. My advice to current students would be to try out jobs in all facets of the hospitality industry, so that by the time you are a senior you can concentrate your career search in the area of the hospitality field that inspires you the most. I would also encourage students to do their internship or summer job outside of the state to better see and understand the industry in other markets. The hospitality industry has given me the opportunity to live in seven different states and visit and work in several more. Don’t be hesitant to get out of your comfort zone…see what’s out there…. for you!
Class of 2004
I’m currently living and working in St. Paul, MN. I work for Wildside Caterers as the Catering Sales Manager for 317 on Rice Park and Off Premise events. A little background of the company is we are also the exclusive caterer to the Xcel Energy Center, the MN Wild hockey team, the Saint Paul RiverCentre, and Roy Wilkins Auditorium. I’m very happy in my position and I truly enjoy my job! 317 on Rice Park hosts many wedding ceremony’s and receptions, corporate meetings and private dinners. I found my ‘calling’ in event planning during my semester in Convention and Meeting Planning class. It was by far one of my favorite classes.
Timing, a bit of luck, and confidence helped me find this job. I mailed in my cover letter and resume (created with the help of the NDSU Career Center), prepped for the interview, and I spoke of my experiences within the hospitality industry and my time at NDSU. I received the job and have been with the company for 2 years.
My advise to current students is to become involved in the Hospitality Student Association. It’s a great organization to meet other students, meet potential employers, and to learn about the many opportunities within the hospitality industry. I would also recommend the study tours – it’s a great way to see the country and to gain more experience. I am a member of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and by attending a meeting or event every now and then I’ve made many friends, networked with other business associates and learned more about the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
I wish you all the best, follow your passions, and believe in yourself!
Class of 2007
I am currently working for NAVTEQ in the travel office as a meeting planner for the company. The “Director of Travel” called when she had an opening, she knew of my experience and that I was graduating so she thought of me when the position became available. Networking is really the best way to get a job. Sometimes it’s not only what you know, but also who you know.
If I could have done one thing differently in college, I would have made sure to take the classes in the recommended order so I wouldn’t have had such a difficult last semester.
My advice to current students in the hospitality program would be to get the most experience you can in the industry and work with people in customer service. Do an internship somewhere other than in Fargo. Make sure to always leave a job with a good attitude so you can get a “great recommendation” for future jobs.
Class of 2003
I am currently the General Manager of the TownePlace Suites by Marriott - Minneapolis West. I am a 2003 graduate of Hospitality and Tourism Management and have been in the hotel field since 1998. I started out as a Bellman at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, MN. While attending NDSU, I had the privilege of working at the Holiday Inn under Sharon Henrickson and the Kelly Inn on 13th Ave. under Bruce McGavin. While working under these two supervisors I gained a vast amount of knowledge that school alone could not teach me. My internship at the Kelly Inn specifically helped me better prepare to become the Assistant General Manager at the Hampton Inn of Burnsville, MN immediately out of school. A year had passed and I went on to become the General Manager of the AmericInn Lodge & Suites of Brooklyn Center, MN owned by Dakota Hospitality of Fargo, ND. This company vastly helped me gain an even better understanding of the business and position I was in, and helped me personally advance my career to become the General Manager at the TownePlace Suites today. My advice to students in the program today is to go out there and get some experience. There is always an opportunity at a hotel in Fargo/Moorhead that will give you a much broader base of knowledge to help you after graduation. The General Managers out there will always appreciate a responsible student who is willing to work hard and learn at the same time!
Check out the HD&E Headlines 2007 Newsletter highlighting alumni and their career stages!