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Graduate Finds Success at Chesapeake College

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007


WYE MILLS – When Susan White, a 36-year-old Easton resident, enrolled at Chesapeake College two years ago she planned to quickly earn an associate´s degree without going into to deep debt. An associate´s degree in hospitality, she reasoned, would help her advance in the restaurant industry. Her plan did not include involvement in student activities or education beyond an associate´s degree.

It´s interesting how plans can change.

White is now on the path to a bachelor´s degree and is receiving Chesapeake College´s top student honor. She will receive the John T. Harrison Award for service and excellence at Commencement 2007 on May 23.

"When I first came to Chesapeake, I had the very focused goal of earning an associate´s degree that would lead to a career in fine dining management. I imagined that I would have to work hard just to keep up in my classes. Then I starting having academic success here," White said.

Despite her early assumptions, White earned grades high enough to qualify for membership in the Chesapeake College chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society. This year, she served as the honor society´s president and led the chapter to regional and national recognition. During White´s tenure as chapter president, PTK rose from a two-star chapter to a five-star chapter

The new designation reflects the chapter´s increased community involvement. PTK activities this year included sponsoring a speaker´s series on campus, collecting used textbooks for a global education project, collecting trash along Route 213 and planting marsh grasses at Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

"The (PTK) chapter has been resurrected and I give Susan credit for that. She´s been an incredible leader for the students. She and the chapter have been great for one another," said Associate Professor Greg Farley, who is the PTK faculty advisor.

In addition to her work with PTK, White was also a participant in the college´s Leadership Academy. She was named to the All-Maryland Academic Team, the National Dean´s List and Who´s Who Among American Junior College Students.

"Susan shows commitment to her projects that is rare. She demonstrates great initiative and follow through, which is why she´s an exemplary leader on campus," said Director of Student Life Amy Childs.

The student who planned to work quickly through an associate´s program, now plans to continue on for a bachelor´s degree. White will enroll this fall in either the University of Delaware or the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to pursue a bachelor´s degree in hospitality management.

She´s worked in many of the well-known restaurants on the Mid-Shore, but in the last two years she has been a server at The Narrows restaurant in Grasonville. The job not only provides her with experience in the industry that she loves, but suits her busy class schedule.

Now that she has completed her associate´s degree program, though, she is no longer certain that she will continue in the restaurant business.

"Each class I took at Chesapeake opened up another area of the hospitality industry that appealed to me. So, I knew I was in the right major, but I started looking at other paths within hospitality," White said.

She completed an internship with the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels where she learned about fine dining and hotel operations. White is now considering a career in the hotel industry or would eventually like to work for a tourism board.

She credits much of her success at Chesapeake to the faculty and staff. White said her advisor, Bob Faiella, was especially encouraging and provided invaluable guidance.

"I felt like there was always someone to keep me focused and on the right track here," White said. "The faculty members at Chesapeake were always there for me with help, advice or encouragement."


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