Viva Las Vegas!

Zahria Barber, hospitality management major

After graduation, Zahria Barber will begin a job at MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas. For the hospitality management major, learning management skills in one of the nation’s biggest tourist meccas is the next step in fulfilling a dream she’s had since high school in Rock Hill, South Carolina. “I knew I wanted to get into the hospitality industry,” she says.

Before my senior year of high school I did a program called Summer Seniors. It’s for minority students, to help get them involved in the college process. We were able to tour the USC campus as well as meet with the different colleges. I met with the HRSM college and found out more about the program. That helped me solidify my decision to go to USC.

I knew I had made the right choice when I had the opportunity to work at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference in D.C. It’s a large conference; it brings in almost 40,000 attendees. Being able to see an event on that large a scale was eye opening and helped me see different aspects within the event and hospitality industry.

Joining one of my student organizations, the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, helped me develop myself professionally and helped me come out of my shell more.

For my first study abroad experience I participated in an exchange program with the University of Aruba. I took four classes through their hospitality and tourism program. And then this spring break I went to Cuba to learn more about their culture and economy. I had never really traveled outside of South Carolina that much, so I was able to learn about different cultures.

Starting July 16, I’ll be in Las Vegas with MGM Resorts International. I’ll be doing their management associate program, working in food and beverage. It’s a one-year program where we learn managerial skills.

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