Student goes ‘full-hearted’ into Hospitality Management and Accounting
It takes serious time management skills, with a bit of vibrant assistance.
“I normally have sticky notes everywhere,” she says, laughing, “and everything is color-coded.”
But Dr. John Hughes, chairman of the department of Hospitality, Recreation and Sport Management at York College, says Kayleen has more than colorful notes in her arsenal.
“This is a person who can’t be rattled,” he says. “Kayleen is an exceptional student. You can tell she’s going to be successful.”
Pieces to the puzzle
Kayleen started out with just the Hospitality Management major, something she developed an interest in because her family travels often. Later, when she took an accounting course, something else clicked.
“I realized accounting was something I really enjoyed, and I could put the two together,” Kayleen says. “All of the stuff came together like a puzzle.”
The dual major helps her assist others as a tutor for three Hospitality classes – including Hospitality Finance, which touches both interests at once – and an Accounting course.
“It’s interesting for me to see how people think differently about topics,” Kayleen says. “Sometimes I have to rephrase how I say things to help them learn. Tutoring helps keep me thinking about different aspects of accounting.”
Kayleen’s tutoring work is valued by more than just those she assists. The faculty appreciates it as well, says Dr. Hughes.
“She’s a helper,” he says. “She has this way of helping lift people up, helping them understand things that are a little confusing or outside of the wheelhouse of some students.”
Developing her interests
In addition to her coursework, Kayleen gained career prep through her experience working for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in Washington, D.C., for two summers. She further developed her interest in accounting while working with contracts in the conference office.
“I got to look deeper into the contracts and see places where we could save money,” she says. “I did the same with the supply budget.”
Later, she worked in the transportation and real estate departments, where she developed a real estate portfolio for the office to be sent to managers nationwide.
As if she hadn’t built a strong enough resume, Dr. Hughes also notes that Kayleen will soon take her CPA exam.
“This is an enormous 1-2-3 punch for a graduating student,” he says. “There’s a number of different jobs she could pursue. I can see her as the comptroller of a large hotel in five years; 20 years down the road, the sky’s the limit. I can see her being the chief financial officer of a major company.
“There’s no doubt in my mind she’s going to move quickly and be very successful in her career,” Dr. Hughes adds. “She attacks challenges and accomplishes them and helps others do the same thing.”
While Dr. Hughes is effusive in his praise of Kayleen, the admiration is mutual. She expresses deep gratitude for the faculty who have mentored her through her YCP career.
“Our professors are always there for us,” she says. “They have incredible connections. If you have any questions, they’re there for you. They will even call the CEO of a company for you.”
Thanks to those professors and the experience gained through her coursework and outside of the classroom, Kayleen sees a lot of possibilities in the future.
“There’s so many opportunities here. Hospitality is such a broad area. There are so many places you can go with it,” she says. “You can do whatever you want, as long as you go full-hearted into it.”