July Student of the Month: Justin Hunt

What is your background?: I was born in Sterling, Illinois and grew up in Rock Falls, Illinois. I moved to Cedar Rapids in 2014 for the Culinary Arts program. My sister recently graduated from University of Illinois at Chicago for photography, and currently works for the Chicago Cubs.

What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: Kirkwood was the closest place to home that offered the professions I was aiming toward. I did not want to go too far from home, so I chose somewhere far enough for me, but not too far.

What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: I started out with the Culinary Arts program, and after doing most of the courses for it, I  decided it was not what I wanted to do. So, I took off a semester to figure out what I wanted and then started the Hotel Management and Restaurant Management programs. This summer, I will be interning at the DoubleTree in Arlington Heights, learning more about all departments in a chain hotel.  I really enjoy the food and beverage departments within a hotel, but I also just love the guest interactions and the stories people share, because everyone has a story!

Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: I am involved with two things on campus. The first one is The Hotel at Kirkwood Center where I am currently a full-time professional staff banquet captain, so I am exposed to many aspects in the hotel. I am also president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association Student Chapter here at Kirkwood. As president, I oversee everything the club does. We do community events and volunteer within the community, as well as other events such as trips to Des Moines, Dubuque, Chicago and New York.

What do you do for fun?: Disc golfing is probably my favorite thing to do with my friends. Other than that, I listen to music, watch Netflix and all that fun stuff.

Where do you see yourself in five years?: In five years I see myself at a hotel as some sort of manager or director. But, the question I ask myself all the time of where do I want to end up within this field? That is still up in the air.

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