Student Spotlight: Senior Hospitality Major Victoria Brown
Victoria Brown brings new meaning to “making the most” of her experience as a hospitality student at Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM).
This STHM senior sets the standard for taking advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. Having earned two prestigious scholarships and a coveted internship with a world-class luxury hospitality organization, she’s excelling both in and outside of the classroom.
“Victoria embodies what Temple and STHM are all about,” says Assistant Dean Heather Blackburn. “We provide opportunities and resources to students who are engaged in their studies and co-curricular pursuits, so they can become leaders in the Experience Economy!”
Honored with two endowed scholarships
A native of Norristown, Pa., and one of eight siblings, Brown is grateful for the scholarship opportunities she’s had at STHM.
“These allowed me to continue my education here at Temple,” she says. “Getting my degree is important to me personally, but also to my family, since I’ll be the first—and the only one of my siblings—to graduate.”
In 2021, she won the Delores W. Deshields Endowed Scholarship, given to a junior or senior in tourism and hospitality management from an underrepresented school district who has a “spirit and passion” for travel. The scholarship was named for the mother of Greg Deshields, executive director of STHM industry partner Tourism Diversity Matters, and the school’s former managing director of business development.
The following spring, she earned the school’s first Elizabeth Hicklin Barber Scholarship, created in honor of one of STHM’s original architects, in recognition of a student who has demonstrated organizational leadership.
“Victoria’s commitment speaks to the character of STHM students,” says Blackburn, who nominated Brown for the Barber scholarship. “And how they push themselves to be better while they prepare to impact their industry.”
Interning with an industry leader
Brown was thrilled to have done a summer internship last year with the world-class Salamander Hotels and Resorts at their flagship resort in Middleburg, Va. In early 2022, she’d been one of a handful of students chosen to visit the Virginia property, where they met with managers at the resort. They also met founder CEO Sheila Johnson—a trailblazer in both the hospitality and sport industries (who has served as an STHM Executive in Residence).
When Salamander staff members visited one of her classes, Brown took the initiative to follow up. By that summer, she found herself chatting with Johnson while interning as a hostess at one of the Salamander resort restaurants. She would work her way up to junior supervisor-in-training at one of the other restaurants.
“I lived in the same house my entire life in Norristown, Pennsylvania” she continues, “Living in Virginia allowed me to see another part of this country. It made me realize I want to travel and experience other parts of the world.”
Leaning into leadership roles
“I first joined FAABA because I wanted to gain more connections with Black people within business on campus. I also wanted to gain more professional development experience,” she says. She then joined the Executive Board because she wanted to give back, now helping with implementation and offering ideas for guest speakers.
“My new position on FAABA representing the Student Training and Rewards System (STARS) allows me to engage even more with Temple,” says Brown. “I attend different events on campus and take what I learn back to my organization. I have truly enjoyed this role and will miss it when I graduate!”
Making the most of her final year
Brown says her studies and eye-opening STHM experiences have helped her feel more confident about creating a career in hospitality she once only dreamed of. She looks forward to putting her networking skills to work again to find her fall internship. “Ultimately I’d like to work in Washington, D.C., as well as in Miami or Las Vegas to get more experience in high-end restaurants and understand the competitive hospitality scenes there,” she says.
“I always had a goal of having my own restaurant—but I was unsure of how I would get there,” she says. “I’d never imagined myself working in a luxury style restaurant or resort, but now I can see that in my future.” Applications for STHM’s 2023 endowed scholarships will open in March.