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Hospitality and Tourism Alumni

DEBRA B. WATKINS

DEBRA B. WATKINS

DEBRA B. WATKINS, director of the Conference Center at the William and Ida Friday Center in Chapel Hill, plays host to more than 750 events and 750,000 attendees annually. Watkins, a 2004 Hospitality and Tourism Administration graduate, now serves as a member of NCCU's Hospitality and Tourism Administration Advisory Board. "Graduates of the Hospital and Tourism Administration program have a strong foundation in hospitality," said Watkins, who has hired several younger NCCU hospitality graduates to work for her.

ZURI REYNOLDS-HESTER

ZURI REYNOLDS-HESTER

ZURI REYNOLDS-HESTER, 26, took another tack toward employment after graduating with her hospitality and tourism diploma in 2013. First, she headed to Charlotte for a yearlong culinary arts course at Johnson & Wales University. Like many in the millennial generation, Reynolds-Hester didn't wait around to find her perfect job; instead, she created one. In fall 2014, she opened Nzinga's Breakfast Cafe‚ on Fayetteville Street in Durham.

CLARISSA COX

CLARISSA COX

Clarissa Cox, a 2007 graduate, found her hospitality career at The Somerset on Grace Bay, a seaside resort where she manages 53 private villas in the British Crown Colony of Turks and Caicos.

 

MICHAEL EVANS

MICHAEL EVANS

MICHAEL EVANS is now director of The Searle Center at Duke University Medical Center, managing dozens of employees and overseeing a million-dollar budget for the conference center, full-service restaurant and mobile catering operations. “In this job, I’m using everything I learned through both my education and experience,” he said. “I love it because it is a people business. And I love having a positive impact on young employees – sometimes first-time employees just out of high school or college – and helping them develop their work skills.”

CHRISTOPHER TYNER

CHRISTOPHER TYNER

CHRISTOPHER TYNER said coming to North Carolina Central University, “I just knew I loved hospitality, but their program taught me fundamentals I didn’t know I was going to need.” Tyner was hired right out of college to manage a restaurant for Marriott International in Research Triangle Park. He later went to work for a Hilton Hotel property as a front-desk manager. He moved to Virginia to open a new Embassy Suites Hotel in November 2013. That hotel was named among the top 10 percent nationwide for quality and guest satisfaction scores in 2014.

 
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