One student's involvement in internships and clubs gives him a head start on a hospitality career
Edwin Pierre-Louis is getting an inside look at the hospitality industry and preparing to become a leader with help from opportunities in the College of Health and Human Development and at Penn State.
A Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management (HRIM) student, Edwin is involved in many activities and clubs at Penn State, including Club Kreyol, Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, and the HHD Honors Society. He’s also involved in several student organizations in the School of Hospitality Management, which are giving him a new perspective on the hospitality industry. As a member of the student chapter of the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society, Edwin has opportunities to network with alumni, industry leaders, and other HRIM students. He’s also the secretary of the Penn State chapter of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH), an organization that promotes and celebrates diversity in the hospitality industry.
Along with his peers in NSMH, Edwin attended a conference hosted by the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, where he had opportunities to network with hotel owners in various stages of their careers. “It really gave me insight into the ownership side of hospitality,” he says. He left the conference inspired after hearing from many industry leaders.
At an internship with Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa, a luxury golf and spa resort, Edwin worked at the front desk, helping customers check in and out of the resort and dealing with billing questions and other customer support issues. There, he learned important lessons about how to be successful in the hospitality industry, he says—by making people feel at home. “It’s all about the guest experience,” he says.
He’s also taking advantage of another internship at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, located on the University Park campus. There, Edwin will receive firsthand experience in the housekeeping department. Through his various internships, he’s getting a new perspective on different parts of the hospitality industry.
Edwin says that the faculty members in the School of Hospitality Management have made his time at Penn State meaningful. “The faculty here are amazing,” he says. “They make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth, every time you speak to them. They do a great job, to say the least, and they try to help you out with everything.”
After graduation, Edwin wants to pursue a career in management and eventually wants to own multiple hotels and restaurants. He knows that with the experience he’s receiving at Penn State, he will be prepared to achieve these goals.
“I’m proud to be a part of this program and this school,” he says.