Laura Cortes

Laura Cortes


Hometown: San Jose, California
Graduation Year: 2016
Major: Hospitality Management/
Restaurant and Foodservice Management

Why did you choose to study at UCF’s Rosen College?
I originally decided to attend UCF’s Rosen College because its location offered me the unique opportunity to study, work, and play in the number one tourist destination in the United States. During the years I have spent here, I have come to truly appreciate just how much of an important role not only Rosen’s location, but also its curriculum and faculty have had in my personal and professional development. The degree programs here at Rosen are absolutely incredible, and it’s been great being able to tailor the courses to meet my personal career goals. The faculty has been phenomenal as well, always willing to take the time to help students succeed as future hospitality leaders.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience at Rosen was attending my first Rosen College Career Fair. I was a sophomore and had no idea what to expect. I remember sitting in my room the night before the career fair and thinking to myself, “No one is going to hire me. I’ve never even worked in the industry before.” That ended up being the furthest thing from the truth. Thanks to the career fair, I ended up getting over ten call-backs with various companies wanting to set up interviews that week. The career fair helped me build confidence, meet industry professionals, and network with potential employers.

What are your career goals and how has the Rosen College internship requirement helping you meet your goals?
My career goal is to work in the human resources department within the hospitality industry. I specifically would like to focus on employee training and development within hotels. The Rosen College internship requirement allowed me the opportunity to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it to the industry. It gave me a better idea of what opportunities are out there for hospitality students, and it allowed me the chance to try my hand at different hospitality related roles. I spent one of my internships working with employees at a hotel, and it was through that experience that I realized which direction I wanted to take my career.

Tell us about your Study Abroad experience.
I studied abroad in Queensland, Australia during the second semester of my junior year, and I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made (right after attending UCF, of course)! What I loved the most about studying abroad was that every day was something new. I was constantly meeting new people, visiting new places, and learning new things. I wanted to get the most out of my experience abroad, so while I was there I interned as a Volunteer Coordinator Assistant for a non-profit organization. The organization helped with my professional development and the people in that organization became my home away from home. When I wasn’t studying or interning, I was busy exploring Australia. Some of my favorite memories include, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, cuddling a koala, and kissing a kangaroo.

Advice for new students?
If I were to give advice to a new student it would be to take advantage of everything that Rosen College has to offer. The faculty and staff truly want to see you succeed and are always there to help you in any way they can. Go to the career fairs, talk to your adviser, join a club, visit career services for resume and networking advice, visit your professors during office hours, and go say hello to the industry professionals that are on campus every week. Rosen College can and will help you become a leader in the hospitality industry so long as you are willing to put in the work.