First-generation grad recognized for many leadership roles in the Hospitality Management Program

Kathryn Quintero wearing a CSU polo and mask

For Kathryn Quintero, coming to Colorado State University gave her an opportunity to find success as a first-generation student. Her many leadership roles at CSU led her to be recognized as an outstanding graduate from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition’s Hospitality Management Program.

Quintero grew up in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and decided to attend CSU because of the professional resources and strong support network for first-generation students.

“Being a first-gen student also carries its own unique obstacles and stressors,” said Quintero. “I set so many high expectations of myself because I wanted to prove to my family that all of their sacrifices to get me to this point were worth it.”

Finding her way as a first-generation student

Like many students, Quintero didn’t know exactly what she wanted to study when she came to CSU.

“I think at some point every college student questions why they are here and what they are doing with their life, and I asked myself those questions an ample number of times throughout my college career,” said Quintero. “I changed my major a few times before finally finding my passion in Hospitality Management.”

As a first-generation student, Quintero says she feared she would disappoint her family during her undergraduate degree and professional career. But she learned to lean on her professors and mentors for support.

“Throughout my time at CSU, the connections I have made with my professors, mentors, and advisers have been absolutely incredible,” said Quintero. “They have all in their own unique way helped me become not just the student, but the person I am today. When chatting with my advisers and mentors, they reassured me that if I was truly following my passion that it would translate to my family. During my conversations with my professors, they all showed me the limitless possibilities of this major and ingrained in me the belief that I could do anything I set my mind to.”

Getting involved at CSU

Kathryn Quintero at the CSU ceremonial walk
Quintero at the CSU ceremonial walk.

During her time in the program, Quintero was involved with the CSU Career Center serving as the event planner and public relations intern for two years. She was also the president of the Hospitality Management Club, a senator for the College of Health and Human Sciences in the Associated Students of CSU, was a member of the Diversity and Equity Advisory Committee in the college, and a member of the college’s Dean’s Leadership Council.

For her capstone class, Quintero was elected as the general manager of the senior seminar capstone events for the Hospitality Management Program.

“This opportunity is near and dear to me because it allowed me to connect with my fellow students in a way I hadn’t before,” said Quintero. “It also allowed me to see and admire the creativity of my classmates while giving me the opportunity to make them feel empowered in themselves and their ideas.”

Career goal

After completing her degree, Quintero plans to move out of Colorado in hopes of becoming a general manager of a hotel.

“I plan on utilizing the knowledge and skills I have gained to work my way up through the hospitality industry,” said Quintero. “My plan also includes moving out of Colorado to experience hospitality and tourism in a different setting!”

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.