When Muge Ozer arrived in America, she decided to change careers and pursue her passion in the culinary arts at Howard Community College (HCC).
“I completed my undergraduate education in Industrial Product Design in Turkey. HCC was my first education experience in the U.S.,” said Ozer. “When I decided to turn my career to culinary arts, the staff at HCC helped me a lot from the very beginning.”
Ozer was impressed by the opportunities and resources afforded to her as a student at HCC and felt grateful to have learned skills that prepared her to work in professional kitchens in the future.
“The kitchens I trained in were prepared with name-brand equipment, and I learned the best techniques from the finest chefs at HCC,” said Ozer. “My chefs placed great emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene, important practices to bring with you into your future role. These experiences and details shared by the chefs prepared me for life in this profession.”
As a student at HCC, Ozer also had a chance to connect with potential employers, ultimately landing her a position as a full-time pastry assistant at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City.
“I had been following Turf Valley’s achievements for a long time. Through HCC, I met Chole, an HR Coordinator at Turf Valley, and she guided me on how to first apply,” said Ozer. “Turf Valley is a very successful institution that offers many possibilities. All the employees here are like family, and I am happy to work here.”
Since starting at Turf Valley, Ozer has worked closely with Chef Stephanie Lynn to assimilate to life in the Resort’s kitchen. She attributes her adaptability and resilience to her experiences at HCC and believes that graduates of the program are uniquely positioned to succeed once employed.
“HCC prepares you for both business and career planning. Thanks to the education I received, I adapted to my work in a short time. Now, my Chef and I are in harmony as if we have been working together for years,” said Ozer. “HCC graduates get used to work more easily and adapt quickly, which greatly benefits employers.”
Ozer encourages new graduates pursuing a career in culinary arts to be creative and dedicated and to maintain a willingness to learn.“Focus on being innovative and disciplined,” Ozer said. “And always be open to learning. You can find something new to learn from everyone around you.”