Starting Her Career Path As a Freshman

Now a sophomore, Allie Nault a Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management major shares her first year experience at JWU:

As I was growing up, I always knew that I wanted to own my own business.  I was not sure what kind of business until I got my first job as a treat maker at Dairy Queen.  I loved it, and found my passion.  My dream was to ultimately own a number of fast food restaurants, and my first step towards this goal was to study Hospitality with an emphasis on Restaurant and Beverage Management.  I considered UNLV, the Rosen School of Hospitality, the University of Denver, and Johnson & Wales University.  

I have a learning disability - an auditory processing disability which is a form of dyslexia. Although I have learned to compensate for it over the years, I wanted a school with small classes where I knew my professors and they knew me.  But what was most important to me was that I have the opportunity for internships since I learn best by doing.  After researching the best hospitality programs in the country, I ultimately chose Johnson & Wales University because of the outstanding experiential education opportunities available thanks to the Experiential Education & Career Services Office.

I definitely chose the right school! The number of internships and job opportunities available at Johnson & Wales University is phenomenal. Career Services not only has the connections to draw countless amazing national companies who are actively recruiting JWU students, but they also prepare the students through mock interview prep, resume building, professional headshots, “elevator” speech practice, and social media exposure such as LinkedIn to ensure that you present yourself in the best way possible.

I was a freshman and only a few weeks into my first term when my Contemporary Business professor had us write about our ultimate professional goal.  We were told to dream big.  I wrote about owning five fast food franchises.  After reading what I wrote, my professor approached me and told me that my goal was fine, but that college was a time to “spread my wings” and to truly explore the other opportunities in the hospitality industry before committing to one plan.  She introduced me to the staff in the Experiential Education & Career Services Office, and that same week I attended a presentation by Hilton Worldwide that they had arranged.  The presentation was extremely eye-opening, and I was eager to apply for a one week externship with Hilton.

The completed application and resume were due to Hilton the next day and I had neither of these. I will never forget running into career services and having them help me with the submission process and resume building… literally overnight! Even though I was only a freshman, they worked with me so I could try to obtain my dream externship after only one term of college!  

I then heard from Hilton Worldwide that they wanted to interview me.  I worked with career services on my interview skills, and because of the practice, felt very confident during my interview.  I did not end up getting the one week externship. However, because of their magic and support, I was offered a 10 week paid summer internship with Hilton Worldwide at their Riverside New Orleans location!

I committed to Hilton Worldwide for the ten-week internship, but now I am hooked on all the opportunities that are available to me through the Experiential Education & Career Services office.  I have attended numerous presentations by nationwide companies who are actively seeking JWU students.  I have spent hours at their career fairs where there are so many companies recruiting that I did not have time to meet all of them.

I have gone from being fixated on having fast food franchises to now having my eyes so opened that I am overwhelmed by all the exciting possibilities out there.  Do I want my next internship with  the Kraft Group (a/k/a the New England Patriots!), the Breakers in Palm Beach, Capital Grille, or should I stay right in Rhode Island with the Newport Restaurant Group? Whoever thought my greatest dilemma would be deciding which internship to accept!  

Thanks to career services, even as a freshman, the opportunities have been innumerable. It is going to be an exciting four years!

Allie Nault
Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management '20
National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) - Secretary