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Students Chosen for National Restaurant Association Tribute

Pennsylvania College of Technology students Hannah E. Fisher, left, of Red Hook, N.Y., and Rachel M. Emmons, of Washington, N.J., train at beverage service in the college%E2%80%99s fine-dining learning lab, Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. The two were selected to represent Penn College at the National Restaurant Association%E2%80%99s Salute to Excellence.Two Pennsylvania College of Technology students were selected to attend the National Restaurant Association’s Salute to Excellence in Chicago on May 22.

The event kicks off the National Restaurant Association’s annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

Penn College students Rachel M. Emmons, of Washington, N.J., and Hannah E. Fisher, of Red Hook, N.Y., were chosen to attend following a rigorous selection process by faculty and staff in the college’s School of Hospitality. Emmons is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and systems. Fisher earned an associate degree in hospitality management in May and accepted the position of restaurant supervisor at the historic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass.

Through the School of Hospitality, both Emmons and Fisher have made dual trips to Louisville, Ky., to prepare high-end food for thousands of fans at the Kentucky Derby.

“This has been an eye-opening and exciting experience,” Emmons said. “I had never seen, nor even could imagine, the amount of food that is gone through for that event! Feeding 30,000 people a day is not something everyone has a chance to do. I was able to work closely with the Levy (Churchill Downs food and beverage operator) chefs. It was a great way to see another part of the industry and to see the passion and drive that I so desire to be involved with.”

Emmons, who recently finished her sophomore year, completed an internship in the Cafe at Wycliffe Bible Translators national headquarters in Orlando, Fla., in Summer 2009 and is completing a second internship in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, the college’s fine-dining restaurant and learning laboratory for School of Hospitality students, this summer.

She has twice been selected to represent the college by cooking on stage at the Pennsylvania Farm Show and received the Chef Eugene Mattucci Best of Show Award for a cake design at the college’s annual Food Show in December.

Emmons plays on the college’s tennis team, which has won back-to-back conference championships during her two years on the team. She is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Campus Crusade for Christ, for which she was treasurer in 2009-10.

“I came in to my freshman year with a determination to take advantage of as many opportunities as I could,” Emmons said.

Fisher completed an internship at the Red Lion Inn, her new full-time employer, in Summer 2009.

“I was able to learn front-of-the-house, whether at the front desk or maitre d’ hotel position, as well as sales and marketing,” she said. During her internship, she helped to serve such guests as actors Martin Sheen and Steve Martin.

She was a member of Campus Crusade for Christ, played soccer for one year, and was selected by the Admissions Office to serve as a Penn College Student Ambassador.

“My experience as an Ambassador has helped me to convey the mission of Penn College, strengthen traditions and promote Penn College pride to visitors,” Fisher said. “In particular, I share my enthusiasm for my courses, the faculty and the hands-on experience, which I mention throughout my tours, so that my group, I’m certain, catches my enthusiasm!”

The Salute to Excellence is hosted by the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The daylong event includes a student forum, which features interactive presentations and small-group sessions, and the Salute to Excellence Awards Gala and Banquet. The event brings the country’s most promising restaurant, culinary and food-service management students together with top educators and industry leaders.

“Being selected and being able to attend the NRA Food Show and the Salute to Excellence was quite an honor and such a great experience,” Emmons said. “Being able to see a few of the recognized hospitality professionals and to hear their stories was an experience I will never forget.”

Fisher also is grateful for the opportunity to attend one of the hospitality industry’s premier events.

“When I received the letter from (School of Hospitality) Dean (Fred) Becker announcing that I had been nominated by the school faculty “¦, I thought, “˜What an opportunity!’ Throughout the past four semesters, the faculty and courses have provided me with excellent hands-on experience that has furthered my passion for helping others in the hospitality industry,” she said.

To learn more about the academic programs offered by the School of Hospitality at Penn College, visit online or call 570-327-4505. For information about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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