Hospitality Industry Scholarship Helps Maddie Pearson Graduate Debt-Free

By Sue McMurray

Maddie Pearson (’18 HBM) never dreamed she’d be able to graduate from WSU debt-free, but a $10,000 scholarship from the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH Northwest Chapter) allowed the impossible to happen.

“The tremendous weight that was lifted off my shoulders upon learning the news of my scholarship was the best feeling in the world,” says Pearson, “and allowed me to focus all of my energy on my classes, my upcoming graduation, and the daunting task of finding a job for after graduation.”

The scholarship is awarded to deserving students with a 3.0 minimum GPA who are pursuing a major and career affiliated in the hospitality industry and need financial assistance with tuition or approved books/supplies.

In addition to erasing her college tuition debts, the scholarship granted her two years of free membership to NEWH. “As a member of NEWH, I hope to maintain contact and build long-term relationships with other members as well as attend NEWH trade shows when possible,” she says. “I believe these relationships, as well as NEWH’s large career network, will be an invaluable resource to me in my career.”

Pearson received the scholarship in recognition of her proven dedication to the hospitality industry and student accomplishments.

“Madalyn exhibited one of the highest levels of productivity I have seen in an intern during my time with Marriott International. Following the completion of Madalyn’s internship, I was so impressed I invited her to stay as a pull-status employee, in order to allow her to work during her school breaks and the following summer,” says Asa Martineau, senior room operations manager, Seattle Marriott Waterfront.

“I have seen firsthand how Madalyn has been able to utilize her hospitality education from the Carson College of Business, as she provides an exceptional guest experience for our families visiting the WSU campus,” says Ashley Safranski, WSU associate director of visitation programs.

Impacts of scholarship support and internship experience

As a sophomore in the Carson College of Business, Pearson participated in the WSU chapter of Eta Sigma Delta, an international hospitality management honor society, and became a Regent’s Scholar in 2014. Additional scholarship support allowed her to study hospitality at César Ritz Colleges in Brig, Switzerland.

“Studying abroad was the opportunity of a lifetime and by far my favorite part of college,” she says.

In 2016 a summer internship at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott immersed her in a range of responsibilities, from check-ins and room assignments to customer service and communications with hotel staff across departments. Within the first few days, she fell in love with the hotel industry.

After graduating from the Carson College of Business, Pearson accepted a position with Marriott International as a Rooms Operations Voyager. Voyager is Marriott International’s 12-18 month global leadership development program offering resources and support for future leaders of the company across Marriott’s hotel brands.

Future plans

Upon completion of her program, Pearson hopes to remain within Marriott as an assistant manager or manager in the Seattle area. Long-term, she plans to become a revenue manager or sales manager within the company.

“I know that my goals are within reach, and that I’m already on my way there!” says Pearson. “I also know this would not have been possible without all of the assistance I received from the NEWH scholarship, the Carson College of Business, and the School of Hospitality Management.”

In the future, Pearson would like to remain a member of NEWH and help raise money for its scholarship fund in order to help other students just like herself to reach their goals.