From students to success stories
Undergraduates and alumni who built their experience with campus dining into the role of a lifetime.
When an alma mater and an employer are one in the same, it can be a win-win for both the employee and the school. Here’s how two students’ experiences with campus dining—one positive and the other negative—led them on a path to their current jobs.
A feast to remember
NC State University’s main campus in Raleigh, N.C. was built on farmland given to the state by Richard Stanhope Pullen; every spring, students gather to celebrate those agricultural roots through Farm Feast, an outdoor celebration with food and music. Design major Christin King remembers her first Farm Feast vividly: “I’m sitting on a hay bale eating this farm food with my friends, people are dancing, it’s a great time. I literally thought to myself, ‘This is what college is all about,’” King says.
King found her way to the university dining website and shared her thoughts. “We were so touched by her post,” says Jennifer Gilmore, director of marketing and communication for Campus Enterprises. King eventually took a job with the graphic design team, where she works on print and digital materials.
Outside her work in the digital realm, King also loves calligraphy and hand lettering, and put her talents to good use to make chalkboard signs for the All Carolinas Meal, an annual school year kickoff event featuring local foods. “They loved [the chalkboards] so much that I still do them three years later,” King says.
King plans to graduate in 2018 and hopes to continue working on campus if the opportunity presents itself. “They don’t want me to leave,” she says. “And fortunately for them, I’ve been taking the leisurely route through college.”
An unlikely start
For Brittany Parham, nutritional coordinator for Eagle Dining Services at Georgia Southern University, a traumatic experience brought her into closer contact with foodservice on campus.
“I had gone to work out and stopped at one of our [dining] locations on campus and grabbed a salad. I went home to get ready for class, and I started to go into anaphylactic shock,” Parham says. Little did she know, she had a tree nut allergy, and reacted to the pine nuts in her salad.
Then an employee at the campus Starbucks, Parham told Executive Director Jeff Yawn about the experience when he stopped for coffee the next day. Her experience opened Yawn’s eyes to the opportunity to better serve students with allergies and dietary restrictions. Parham graduated with a degree in nutrition and food science in 2010, and Yawn hired her for the new role of nutritional coordinator in 2012.
In the past four years, Parham has been key in building Eagle Dining’s “No Whey” allergen program, and works one-on-one with students who have dietary restrictions. “I can ... get [the students] comfortable asking the right questions,” she says.