Outstanding Graduate Lydia Bennett

Lydia Bennett sitting on a wall overlooking a formal garden
Lydia Bennett

Lydia Bennett is a senior in the Colorado State University Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition majoring in hospitality management with a minor in business administration. Bennett is graduating cum laude. She currently works as a student manager with Catering by Housing and Dining Services at CSU. She is ServSafe and eTIPS certified. She is a member of the Hospitality Management Club, CSU Navigators, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Where are you from and what brought you to CSU?

I am from Aurora, Colorado, and I toured the university in high school and fell in love with the campus and culture. I went to Community College of Aurora but couldn’t stop thinking about CSU so I transferred when I changed degrees.

What obstacles have you overcome to get to graduation? How have you persevered through unforeseen circumstances?

I initially wanted to be a music major, but didn’t make it into the program. So I attended the Community College of Aurora to obtain my general education requirements. Later I figured out that my calling was in the hospitality field and not the music industry. I transferred to CSU with the goal of graduating with a degree in hospitality management.

My first semester at CSU was when classes were all online [during the pandemic]. For my first year as a student at CSU, I only had one in-person class. It was disheartening to know that after living in Fort Collins for six months, I barely knew anyone. I spent a lot of time with my parents or talking with old friends over the phone. Once campus opened up, I jumped at the chance to join clubs and attend whatever social activities there were. I have since made numerous deep connections and long-term relationships.

How have your academic experiences here and your professors, mentors, and advisers helped you overcome these obstacles and be successful in your major?

My manager [in Housing and Dining Services], Vita Prentiss, has given me the confidence and ability to lead others. Before working for her, I was more timid when I had to lead others in a professional environment. I now approach work situations in a more confident manner and help others reach their fullest potential as well. My friends have helped me through moments of stress and loneliness and helped me find where my strengths lie. Whenever I doubt my ability, I know I can rely on them to boost me up and help me in whatever way is needed. Without the connections I have made at CSU, I would not be as happy and confident in myself as I am now.

My professors have provided me with much guidance and support when it comes to entering the field of hospitality. When I began to stress about how to find a job after college, Soo Kang helped calm my nerves and gave me some much-needed direction. I no longer fear what will happen after graduation because my professors have helped prepare me for life after school.

What activities have you been most involved in?

I have worked for Catering by Housing and Dining Services at CSU for the past year, have been a member of CSU Navigators for two years, and a member of the Hospitality Management Club for 1.5 years.

What are some accomplishments that you are most proud of during your time at CSU?

Some high points were getting promoted to student supervisor then to student manager with HDS Catering, and being chosen as assistant general manager for my capstone class.

What will you miss most about CSU?

I will miss the friendships I have made.

What are your plans after graduating?

I plan to get a job as an event planner or catering manager in Southern California.

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