Student Spotlight: Alyssa Westman

Alyssa Westman

Alyssa Westman
Major: Hospitality Management

When Alyssa Westman graduated from high school, she had no idea what career path to take.

"I changed my mind multiple times a week!" she said. "I was looking for a career that was continually changing, new and exciting -- all at the same time. After finishing my general education credits at Elgin Community College, I decided I would try Hospitality Management."

Westman researched schools in the area and decided College of DuPage would be her best option and only option if she didn't want to move. After attending classes for a few weeks, she knew her research had paid off.

Westman researched schools in the area and decided College of DuPage would be her best -- and only -- option if she didn't want to move. After attending classes for a few weeks, she knew her research had paid off.

"I completed my education with great professors and took advantage of more opportunities that I could imagine, such as a great learning experience with my internship at the Inn at Water's Edge (the six-room boutique hotel located in COD's Culinary & Hospitality Center)," she said. "Joining the Hospitality Club also gave me volunteering experience with the community and a chance to network with individuals in the industry. Also, during one of the summers, I studied abroad with some other students and professors in France and Switzerland."

In spring 2012, Westman graduated with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Hospitality Management and three certificates in the Hospitality Management field. Since graduating, she was promoted at her job from gallery host to lead gallery host and now works at the Hyatt Regency Chicago as a convention services administrative assistant.

"I am the youngest one in the office by far! It just goes to show you that age does not matter, it's all about how you carry yourself and the knowledge you hold. COD helped me out with that one!" she said. "I love my new property and cannot wait to see what it holds for me. There is an abundance of opportunity here with well over a thousand employees. I came from one of Hyatt's smallest properties to the largest Hyatt in the world. So for all the students who have hopes and dreams of making it downtown, they can achieve it."

Westman ultimately hopes to manage a four-diamond, four-star hotel. She's thankful her research led her to College of DuPage.

"This industry is perfect for me in that I have the personality characteristics needed to succeed in this field," she said. "I love that we get to meet new and interesting people every day. You can also travel all over the world because of the variety of job opportunities.

"I truly had the best teacher at College of DuPage that I have ever had and was able to study in a brand new state-of-the-art facility. I couldn't ask for more out of an educational institution. College of DuPage rocks and I am still ecstatic that I graduated from this institution."

More about the Culinary & Hospitality Management program