Student of the Month

March Student of the Month: Cassandra Pantel

By March 9, 2018 October 25th, 2018 No Comments

What is your background?: I am from Iowa City and went to City High School where I graduated just under a year early. I am the only child from my parents, however my mom recently got remarried. Now I have two older stepbrothers who are both married with children. It is very interesting to go from an only child to the baby. Both of my stepbrothers went to West High, so we tend to have a little sibling rivalry as well. We like to have fun with a little healthy family competition.

What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: I initially attended Kirkwood right after graduating high school. It did not go to well. I went on to massage school, where I went through an 800-hour massage program and came away with my license in massage therapy. I really enjoyed being a massage therapist, but unfortunately due to injury I had to stop massaging as a career. I took several years off of school and started serving tables, eventually moving my way up to bartending and managing. This work experience brought me to Kirkwood for Hotel Management.

What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: I am here at Kirkwood receiving my associates in Hotel Management. Initially when I planned to come back to school I was looking for an event management degree. My parents suggested I look at Kirkwood. My dad having graduated from Kirkwood many years ago is a huge advocate for the school and believes in the quality education students receive here. I gave it a shot. Through some poking around on Kirkwood’s website I found the Hotel Management program and contacted the Hospitality Arts department. Within days I was getting enrolled for the coming semester, which was just weeks away. This program is fantastic because students not only receive in class learning, but on the job training as well. We are a small group of students in the hotel program, which means we all know each other well and have a lot of fun.

Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: I am a member of AHLA (American Hotel and Lodging Association) Club, which every student in my program is a member of. We do a lot of community service projects including the food drive and toilet paper drive, which is lead by Student Life. Our club has won, by providing the most donations, for the last four years.

I am also the director and a researcher for an international studies program called Global Solutions for Sustainability Challenge. This is an amazing ten-week honors program that consists of two Kirkwood teams of eight and two Jordanian teams of eight. Each Kirkwood team is paired with one of the Jordanian teams. We are in a competition against each other to create a sustainable solution to what we believe is a major problem facing our society. The area of focus for this challenge is in hospitality.  That is what initially made me so interested in the program. Hospitality industry reaches out to so many areas of our globe and connects so many industries together and by affecting some type of change in the hospitality industry it may create change in other industries as well!

Are you involved in anything off of campus?: Currently I do not have much time for anything off campus. This semester I am taking 17 credit hours worth of classes and I work at The Hotel in the housekeeping department and just recently got hired to start bartending at Maikka bar in The Hotel as well.

What do you do for fun?: I am a huge runner, I have run an endurance marathon and about six or so half marathons with plans to do more. I have also been practicing yoga for over eight years now. I’m the girl at campus Rec Center standing on her head in the group activity room. I also have a very energetic dog. His name is Freckles and he is a Blue heeler/German shorthaired pointer mix and he is constantly trying to herd me around my apartment or outside.

Where do you see yourself in five years?: In five years I see myself living in Denver, Colorado, working for either a boutique hotel in event planning/ sales department or for a private event space/large restaurant in the mountains that hosts mostly weddings or private events. I will definitely still be running and doing yoga. It’ll just be with better views.