Majoring in hospitality management at Northampton Community College (NCC) prepared one December 2021 graduate for her dream job. Melanie Padilla works as a coordinator of camping services at Camp Jaycee in Effort, PA. The residential camp offers recreational experiences for adults with intellectual disabilities. Padilla previously worked in hospitality at resorts in the Poconos.
“Melanie’s experience has provided our families with ease as they navigate the Camp application process. Her previous time in hospitality has allowed her to have a great outlook and patience when working with customers all while providing them with the access to the services they are looking for,” wrote Camp Director Maureen Brennan, Padilla’s supervisor.
One of Padilla’s most memorable accomplishments as president of the Hospitality Club was organizing a virtual BINGO event to which local businesses donated prizes. She earned an NCC Club Officer of the Year Award in 2021 for her leadership. She also belongs to the Beta Beta Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honors society and is a member of the hospitality honors society Eta Sigma Delta.
Pregnancy and giving birth during the pandemic posed the biggest challenges of Padilla’s time at NCC. Her daughter Scarlett is sixteen months old. Padilla recalls receiving exceptional support from Hospitality Club Advisor, Rebecca Heid, as well as Fran Boshell, assistant director of student life and leadership development.
Padilla considers her experience serving on a panel of students that met U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, during his August 2021 campus visit one of the highlights of her college career. She appreciated hearing the stories students shared with Cardona. “What resonated most with me was hearing adults who had graduated high school and hadn’t been in school in seven-plus years who found their way back to school because they found out what their passion was,” Padilla said.
Since graduating this past winter, Padilla is currently majoring in hospitality management in an online program at Johnson and Wales University.