Student Spotlight: Sophia Larco, HTM ’22

Q: Outside of classes, what clubs/activities are you involved in here at Isenberg/UMass?

A: I have been a member of the American Hotel and Lodging Association at UMass since my freshman year – taking on the role of treasurer for two years and upcoming President. I am the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Professional Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi. Additionally, I am a member of Isenberg Women in Business and I assist the HTM department as an HTM ambassador. You can often find me at the campus craft center, too!

Q: What is your favorite Isenberg memory thus far?

A: Attending Isenberg’s Accepted Students Day was my first and most memorable experience at Isenberg. I had already decided to attend Isenberg, but had no real feel for what I had signed up for. I remember sitting in Mahar Auditorium, surrounded by eager students – just like myself, and listening to Interim Dean Thomas Moliterno open our eyes to what lay ahead. I remember starting to feel it – the excitement building: the connections we would make with the community, professors and students sitting right next to us, the opportunities we would have to grow personally and professionally, as well as socially. I can’t say I ever really lost that excitement for Isenberg. There is always more to strive towards.

Q: What are you currently doing this summer?

A: This summer, I am completing my third internship with Marriott International. I am a Food and Beverage Intern at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. I work in their fine dining restaurant, Manzanita, and rotate as a Hostess, Food Runner and Server Assistant to gain experience and perspective in the restaurant industry.

Q: What was your path to finding your summer internship at Marriott International?

A: I first met the Marriott Recruiters at our HTM Career Day during my freshman year! This event blew my mind. As the largest student-run career fair on the east coast, I saw volunteering as a golden opportunity. I assisted student registration and student reception set-up. While I was content to work behind the scenes, I thought I should dive in and speak to one or two companies. I had been interested in Marriott International, so I introduced myself to their two recruiters and have been connected and supported by them ever since.

Q: What do you hope to pursue after graduation? How has the Chase Career Center helped you along the way?

A: After graduating, I plan to complete a management-in-training program focusing in either Room Operations or Food and Beverage. As for where and which company, I’m keeping my options wide open! My main goal is to work for a company that prioritizes its employees with as much exceptional and personal care as it does its guests. This industry is about people, experiences and culture – I intend to prioritize this core. The Chase Career Center has been instrumental in my professional and academic growth at Isenberg. Their resources are always incredibly accessible, from their Resume Guide to online internet practice for interviews. Having accessibility to Career Coaches has allowed me to explore, pursue and reach my goals.

Q: How do you think your overall Isenberg experience will benefit you professionally?

A: The network that Isenberg provides will benefit me professionally for many, many years to come. I’ve already worked with so many incredible students and staff who are passionate about things I’m passionate about and so much more. I think that networking, combined with the quality of classes and resources, has given me the tools and skills I need to reach my professional goals.

Q: What is your top networking tip for current students?

A: My top networking tip: Get involved and be genuine!!! Networking can be as easy as meeting another student in class and becoming friends. There is SO MUCH to explore at UMass. The clubs and extracurriculars I joined my freshman year were the best decisions I made throughout my college experience and provided friendships, professional opportunities and leadership experience. Often they provided experiences networking with guest speakers and industry professionals as well.

By Melissa Salva
Melissa Salva Director of Undergraduate Career Services