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Hospitality Management graduate lands sweet career in Hershey

Jacklyn Motter smiles in her graduation regalia

Jacklyn Motter ’20 has always loved interacting with people. She’s drawn to their stories and takes the extra time to get to know people. Even though she spent her summers as a teenager working in the front of house at one of the bakeries at Hershey’s Chocolate World, she didn’t realize she could combine her interest in food and beverage with her love of people. “I initially started going to York College of Pennsylvania as a Communications major,” she says. “I thought I’d pursue a career in journalism.”

But it was during her First Year Seminar that Motter started talking to another Hospitality Management major and realized the potential of a career working in restaurants. By the time she reached her junior year and started taking more food and beverage courses, she fell in love with the industry. As graduation neared, she knew she wanted to go into restaurant management.

A new restaurant, a new role

Motter stayed in touch with one of her internship supervisors at Houlihan’s, a relaxed chain restaurant just outside Hersheypark. Her supervisor asked if she’d be interested in being an assistant manager at The Chocolatier, a new restaurant set to open at the entrance to Hersheypark as part of the amusement park’s Chocolatetown expansion. “It just seemed like everything was falling into place,” she says. “It was exactly the type of job I’d hope to land after graduation.”

COVID-19 delayed those plans for Motter. When stay-at-home orders delayed construction work at the park, it meant the restaurant’s opening would also get pushed back. “I was eager to apply the things I’d learned in classes to the real world,” she says. “YCP had instilled in us the responsibility that would come with the management roles we’d one day assume. I felt ready.”

Gaining experience

Despite the delay, Motter says, she’s still using the skills she learned in class. Her course on Commercial Food Production taught her how to do everything from planning an event to designing a menu and preparing the food. Even though she’s not working at The Chocolatier yet, she did find a position as a supervisor with Desserts, Etc., a popular bakery in the Hershey area.

In her role, Motter oversees retail operations, from managing the front of house, selling delectables, and managing the baristas. It’s been a valuable experience as she hopes to own and operate her own coffee shop in the future.

Despite her last semester at York College not going to plan and the start of her career taking a different route, Motter is grateful for the opportunities she’s had. “The professors have been really supportive through all of this,” she says. “From Dr. [Joseph] Scarcelli and his food and beverage courses to everyone else who saw us to the finish line, I know I have them cheering me on. I know I have a bright career ahead thanks to them.”