Major: Hospitality Management
Hometown: Queens, New York (moved to Florence, South Carolina as a child)
Expected Graduation: 2023
Finding your niche is a crucial part of growing up, and sometimes it takes you in unexpected directions. Sharif Crosland came to South Carolina planning to pursue a career in music education, but he found a better fit for his passion for service, specifically in the food and beverage side of hospitality management.
"I got an internship with Hershey Lodge through USC and it just solidified in my mind that this is what I want to do," he says. "I love serving people, providing a good, memorable experience for people. I love being a part of that."
Sharif says experiential learning classes at McCutchen House were among his favorite parts of college, and he has taken full advantage of the opportunities offered by HRSM’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, one of the top 10 programs of its kind in the nation. He worked the Masters Tournament twice, the Players Championship and the Presidents Cup, making connections every step of the way. He also stayed busy as a saxophone player in the Carolina Band for four years.
"If I thought it was something that I would like and it was a good networking opportunity, I would jump on it. I was really big about getting myself out there, and that's worked very well in my favor," he says. "My name is definitely known in the industry. People know that this is a guy who really likes to work."
Sharif says learning to motivate himself as a student was challenging in the early days of his South Carolina career, but he overcame every hurdle with help from faculty and staff such as School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Senior Instructor Jessica Chavis and Internship Director Ashley Richardson.
"They were almost like two mothers to me," he says. "I knew I could go to them all the time and if I had any kind of problems or needed anything, they would be there for me."