Samantha Foxen already knows what she wants to do with the rest of her life when she graduates, and that is to have a long-term career with Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. Foxen, a hospitality business management senior, already works as a restaurant supervisor for the company and is eager to begin applying the business and leadership skills she learned in her program at WSU Vancouver if she should be hired full-time.
“I anticipate my future to be bright and ambitious,” Foxen says. “The hospitality business management program has given me the tools to confidently succeed, and I am certainly going into my career hungry for challenges and opportunity.”
Foxen grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley, a small wine producing region on California’s central coast. She got her first job at 15, catering for a winery. “My dad had to drive me way out to the vineyard, which had a beautiful and enormous property on-site. It was there that I fell in love with the environment of quality food and happy people,” she says. “I never looked back after that. I have always known what career path I wanted to pursue.”
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT WITH WSU VANCOUVER HOSPITALITY PROGRAM
She earned her associate’s degree right after high school but found work in the wine industry before pursuing transferring to a university. After gaining some field experience, she was ready to find a college with a hospitality degree program. “The WSU Vancouver campus was the perfect size, beautiful, and close to an area that represented my values of local food and wine culture,” says Foxen.
Coming from a family with modest means, Foxen was very grateful for the financial aid package she received and two Carson College scholarships that allowed her to attend college and prevent maximum borrowing on her student loans.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE THROUGH INDUSTRY SCHOLARSHIPS
“When I received my scholarship from the Travel Portland organization, it was truly an emotional experience since Kimpton already works so intimately with them to support local hospitality,” she says. “It will be an honor to climb the ladder and someday make decisions with those at Travel Portland to better our local community.”
Foxen also received the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals HBM Scholarship.
“I was beyond grateful to receive the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals HBM Scholarship this past year,” she says. “The additional funds were a wonderful investment in my future.”
EXPLORING FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES
Foxen says while food and beverage will always be at the forefront of her career, she is going to jump at any opportunity that feels right within the Kimpton company. “I truly believe in planting your seeds and seeing where they grow,” she says. “I would love to work on the corporate level, contribute to decisions on each property, work with chefs and wineries, and constantly learn about the culture of food. It’s a heartfelt industry that keeps you on your toes, and I want to be able to share that passion properly.”