From studying abroad and late-night class projects to completing “dream internships” and finding lifelong friends, SHA graduates in the Class of 2020 share their favorite memories from their time at Cornell. While each reflection is unique, our grads can’t deny that once you’re a Hotelie, you’re a Hotelie for life. Congratulations!

Kate Kropid with the clock towerKate Kropid ’20

“It’s truly impossible for me to pinpoint just one favorite memory because I have so many—my ESTB night, going on a cruise with HADM 4425, and countless hours spent laughing with some of the most amazing peers and professors in classes, internships, and just when passing each other in the hall.

So, I would have to say that my favorite memory would be the first time that I ever stepped into Statler Hall when I visited as a senior in high school. I remember feeling so amazed because I had never met anyone else who loved hospitality in that way, and everyone was so welcoming and genuinely loved their classes. I got that ‘feeling’ that everyone says you’ll get when you find the right college. I cried on the way home because I was sure that I wouldn’t get in—and my dad and I literally came home to my acceptance letter on the table. That has to be my favorite ‘college’ memory, because without it, I never would have experienced all of the irreplaceable memories that have occurred over the last four years at the School of Hotel Administration. Thanks for everything, SHA!”

Ananya Dua with Prof. Kwortnik and classmatesAnanya Dua ’20

“Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas and CocoCay for HADM 4425: Introduction to the Global Leisure Cruise Industry! It was not only an amazing weekend getaway from Ithaca weather in early March, but I made some of my closest friends on that trip.”

Ludmilla Cayard sitting near a reflecting poolLudmilla Cayard ’20

“Getting my dream internship in NYC thanks to the processes and opportunities provided by Cornell and SHA. Factors such as classes taken, guest speakers, advisors, funding, continually working hard, and even friendships, all played a role in me being able to live and work in the city for an amazing company. And SHA students’ Establishment nights. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone to display one of their designs and allowed me to make new friends in the process. I love how there were different ways to feel connected as students in the Cornell community as a whole.”

Kelly Kim on the Cornell campusKelly Kim ’20

“Whenever I told my friends in other universities about some of the classes I’m taking, they were always extremely interested about them. Classes like Culinary, Restaurant Management, Beer, Wines, and others, all gave me knowledge and experience that I would not have been able to get at other schools. Thanks to ESTB, my friends in NYC visited during my management night to support me and they were able to have some Hotelie experiences during their visit!”

Kristen Woodworth with her dadKristen Woodworth ’20

“It’s hard to pinpoint one favorite memory because every great moment and every difficult moment made my Cornell experience what it was. I grew up hearing about how amazing Cornell was for my dad when he attended SHA in the 80s, and it’s been so special experiencing it for myself and getting to share my own stories with him. Everyone from the professors I had to the staff I worked with in the centers and institutes (shoutout CIHLER!) to the lifelong friends I made—the people are what made SHA home and they are what I’ll remember and be grateful for for years to come.”

Frankie Tapping on the Cornell campusFrankie Tapping ’20

“I’ll never forget working late nights at the Regent Lounge as a freshmen, then eventually gaining the responsibility of Director of Food and Beverage of the Statler Hotel! Thank you Chef Gisler and Autumn Greenberg for your mentorship and trust in me. It’s been an absolute pleasure learning and serving at the Statler. The Hotel Leadership Development Program prepared me immensely for my internships and helped guide my career. Thank you, Statler Hotel, for all you’ve done!”

Eric Garcia standing under an orange tree holding orange juiceEric Garcia ’20

“Studying abroad through Semester at Sea allowed me to visit over 13 different countries on three different continents! Morocco has, hands down, the best orange juice in the world, along with all the amazingly delicious food and sights it offers. It was also on Semester at Sea that I shaved my head (tradition to do so when you cross the equator) and met lifelong friends. It’s not every day that you travel the world with the same people for four months! #SAS126.”

Madison Wallach on a Cornell athletic fieldMadison Wallach ’20

“I don’t know where to start when it comes to my favorite Cornell memories, but just to name a few: living in Donlon freshman year, RPCC brunch on Sunday, being on Base Productions and performing in our annual show, joining my sorority Sigma Delta Tau and finding my best friends for life, living in my sorority house, living in Collegetown above Souvlaki House, studying abroad in Barcelona and traveling throughout Europe, my Japanese-themed ESTB management night (when one of the members of my management team had appendicitis!), and enjoying the last moments I had walking around Statler Hall, hanging out on Libe Slope, and sitting outside of CTB. Thank you for the best four years, Cornell and SHA!!! ❤️🐻 GO BIG RED!”

Sharlene Chen ’20

“To be honest, walking into the School of Hotel Administration as a sophomore spring transfer, I wasn’t looking for a sense of belonging, I was full-in on finishing my degree and getting out of college. But SHA is just not such a place—everyone was so passionate, everyone constantly pushed themselves to new heights, and so I decided to do the same…to become a Hotelie.

Sharlene Chen with her classmates

I never thought a person could grow so much within a few years. Being a Hotelie has constantly allowed me to challenge myself, thriving in the impossibilities, and working through the obstacles. Being a Hotelie is not just about taking SHA classes, but fully immersing in the Hotelie environment and the extremely hands-on education. I never thought I could manage a restaurant, complete numerous real estate excel models, draw a floor plan by myself, prepare for a case competition, or even land a dream job in a foreign country.

All that would not be complete without my peers and faculty who are more supportive than ever. They’ve always been there for me—classmates, professors, alumni—this tight family is one of the many gifts from SHA that I will take with me my whole life. Other people may joke about us folding napkins, but only us Hotelies would know how valuable and irreplaceable our experience at SHA has been. 🙂”

Quyen Nguyen in front of the Cornell clock towerQuyen Nguyen ’20

“My favorite SHA memory is working in Las Vegas at MGM Resorts with SHA alumni! During my first summer there, I asked to shadow Emma Scher ’16 in the Revenue Management department, where she mentored me and inspired me to explore the growing field more and more. Emma was one of the people that truly forged my career path, following the intersection between data analytics and hospitality. After that, I applied for an internship in the same department and ended up working with Emma the following summer. I also got to work with Tassos Panagakos ’93 who is another die-hard Hotelie. Both Emma and Tassos helped me immensely over the summer, motivating me to take on projects that were out of my comfort zone, and providing me with endless resources on all things data and revenue management related. It was an amazing experience to learn from the best and to truly witness how impactful the Hotelie family/network can be.”

Two girl laugh and hold Jose up on the beachJose Andres Gonzalez ’20

“During my last semester at SHA, I attended the Cruise Immersion Trip in Miami, FL, for HADM 4425 – Introduction to the Global Leisure Cruise Industry. It was a great opportunity to network with Royal Caribbean industry leaders while gaining first-hand operations experience.

The first few days, the class participated in front- and back-of-house private tours of the Navigator of the Sea cruise ship and exclusive information sessions with the ship’s leadership team. We spent our final day enjoying ourselves at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island destination in the Bahamas. This bonding experience with my Hotelie classmates is one I will never forget and forever cherish.”

Sabrina Chong on Cornell's campusSabrina Chong ’20

“Something so special about Cornell is the care professors have for your personal well-being. Whether it was me receiving a personal email when running late for a final in freshman year asking if I was doing okay (rather than scolding me), or engaging in daily back-and-forth with professors on email regarding assignment critiques and general life advice—my professors here at Cornell have genuinely shown personal care for me for every single one of the amazing four years I spent under their tutelage. So many of my successes I owe to them, and I will never forget them, even well after I leave Cornell’s humble halls.”

Tayla with three of her Hotelie classmates on the beachTayla Van Rooyen ’20

“Interning and living in Bermuda for three months with three other Hotelies: Leila Mirzai ’21, Hannah  Overstrom ’21, and Davis Bruch ’22. I loved exploring the island while learning a ton about the hospitality industry. From bonfires to hotel property tours, we made every day an adventure. It was a life changing international work experience and I was lucky enough to have made friends for life through it.”

Anangga Wirasatya in front of the Cornell clock towerAnangga Wirasatya, MPS-RE ’20 (Baker)

“Every moment, good and bad, during my time in the Baker program and at Cornell was significant to my career and personal development. My summer internship in NYC was a blast, and having won an award in a national case competition was amazing. But yet, I must say, everyday life at Statler Hall is what I will miss most. As simple as having lunch at Terrace, walking through the hall, late-night study at Nestlé/Olin, and being around amazing colleagues, faculty, and staff members. I wish all of the Class of 2020 great endeavors ahead.”

Anita and three of her friends pose for a photoAnita Zhao ’20

“One of my favorite memories is studying abroad, but more importantly being able to share the experience with fellow Hotelies that I grew close to over the years. I had friends studying in Paris, Barcelona, Italy, Copenhagen, and the list goes on. It was the moments where we got together halfway across the world that I realized how truly connected we all are.”

Sarah Baturka with her dogSarah Baturka ’20

“My favorite Cornell memory was interning with The Bay Club Company in summer 2018 because I was able to work and live with eight other amazing Hotelies that summer in San Francisco. This is an internship only available to SHA students, and you form a close bond with your classmates over the summer. We had so many great memories including a trip to San Diego, late nights working on our intern projects, driving to work together in one big car, and exploring all the tourist spots in San Francisco. This was such a special summer for me, and I was especially grateful I could spend it with my Hotelie classmates!”

Nicole Lai sitting among tulips holding a pineappleNicole Lai ’20

“Wow there are a lots! From an overseas internship in Macau to a weekend in NYC for Hotelie weekend, they are all gold for me. 🥰 One of my favorite memories are probably the wine nights with Hotelies! It’s amazing to hang out with my friends and just talk about our lives and dreams with some wines we learned about in HADM 4300.”

Eeshe Chona in front of the Cornell clock towerEesha Chona ’20

“My favorite memory was my Establishment night! I was part of a fusion night where we combined two completely different cuisines. The best part was seeing my friends across Cornell come and support me—whether or not they were Hotelies! My family also flew from California to experience the night with me. It felt like a capstone project of everything I learned in college on display in one night. At the same time, it was also all my close friends and family coming to support me—a perfect bookend. 🙂”

Adrienne Hein in front of the chateau de Grand LuceAdrienne Hein ’20

“One of the most life-changing connections during my time at the School of Hotel Administration allowed me to intern at a 17th-century chateau-turned-hotel and fumbling around in the French language I never thought I’d use. I learned an invaluable amount about cultural differences in hospitality, and I can’t wait to go back.”

Sean Yoon in front of Statler HallSean Yoon ’20

“As Hotelies, we know that we don’t just look at the room, or the breakfast menu, or the service to gauge an experience. We look at the whole picture for the ultimate experience. I believe this directly translates into what I can say about my time at Cornell SHA: An accumulation of all experiences I had including all-nighters for RE Fi cases; memorable ESTB night celebrations; hectic, yet vibrant, HEC weekends; many, many group projects; all the news subscriptions; crazy and long-lasting friendships; and demanding but invaluable professors. All of this contributed to my growth, learning, and memories. Can I give a rating? Perhaps. Does it matter? Not really. We all know it was a one-of-a-kind experience to whomever has been through it.”

Kim Friedman ’20

“My favorite SHA memory is the immersion trip for HADM 4425 – Introduction to the Global Leisure Cruise Industry. On the cruise, we were able to experience the most genuine hospitality I’ve seen, learn about what it takes to succeed in such a specialized industry, and enjoy making lifelong friendships with our classmates. From all-access tours and Q&As with the executive team to the ice show and a Perfect Day, we truly learned a ton and had a blast on this trip—and we were able to go before the pandemic hit, making the memories all the more special. The whole experience was the epitome of what it means to be a Hotelie.”