Department of Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Management

Student of the Week Archive

Fall 2014


Constance Russin

Connie started off the semester on the right foot. Unfortunately, one of our guests did not. In her first Manager on Duty shift, Constance was presented with a situation for which no one could have prepared her – a guest accident. While walking on the slick pavement, a guest on her way to a wedding, slipped and fell in the parking lot, resulting in a compound fracture of her ankle. Constance, with Front Desk Supervisor Mike Holovacs, stood outside with the guest until help arrived and ensured that she was on her way to being taken care of before returning to her MOD post.

Hats off Connie! Handling unusual scenarios is what builds experience and is what distinguishes a hotel manager from their peers.



Katherine Bender

Quick to volunteer, Katie really helped out the A.M. Bistro on a handful of occasions. As soon as the opportunity was posted on Sakai, Katie was quick to volunteer, and our F&B team was extremely thankful. Her prior serving experience proved to be top-notch as she knew what to do and did it.

Congrats Katie! With your level of eagerness and strong sense of dedication, you helped make us a more successful team!





Samantha Gambino

Samantha has received nothing but positive comments from hotel staff since Day One. Nominated by the Front Desk, Samantha was an “overall superstar.” She “never stopped working,” “was just positive and never stopped smiling.” She followed up that performance with what could have been a harrowing Manager on Duty shift, involving a potential domestic situation. While MOD, Samantha was extremely proactive and communicated like a hotel veteran. Lastly, the Restaurant gave Samantha rave reviews stating, “Wonderful job! She was so service-minded and showed great initiative. Always doing something and asking what she could do next. Super!”

Kudos Samantha! With reviews like this, the sky is the limit for you!



Giuliana Lorusso

To quote the person who nominated her, Giuliana “was the best HRIM I have had yet! She communicated to Housekeeping, answered the phone, tried to resolve issues on her own, and was proactive in check-out process.” Giuliana was also extremely helpful during Blue and Gold Saturday, volunteering to assist with hotel tours.

Congrats Giuliana! Keep up the great work!





Erin Leitner

This student earned distinction by volunteering to work back-to-back MOD shifts on the extremely busy Friday arrival of Parent and Family Weekend. Originally scheduled for the 2-7pm MOD, the student stayed for the 7pm-Midnight shift after the Front Desk discovered that miscommunication resulted in the absence of the 7pm MOD. She was extremely proactive and helping out all over the hotel for the entire double shift. This dedication shows students and staff alike that you never know what your day will throw at you.  And for that, we would like to congratulate Erin Leitner!





Gianfranco DiStefano

Gianfranco stepped up and leveraged his language skills during an MOD shift on 24 October. The Front Desk needed assistance with a Spanish speaker, and upon hearing the radio call to Housekeeping asking for someone, the student came out of nowhere and handled the language barrier with ease. He returned to help this guest one more time later in the shift, and stopped what he was doing in another part of the hotel in order to do so. This student embodied the idea that being a manager is not sitting behind a desk waiting for the phone to ring. He had a busy and productive shift that he continued to go above and beyond and jumping right in when needed which resulted in our first male student of the week.   Congratulations!





Erin Governanti

As soon as she arrived for her restaurant shift they were hit with a large group of people and the server and student never stopped until 10pm.  Without any instructions or showing her where everything is, she took the ball and ran with it!  From the initial set up to taking orders & bringing out food and bussing.   To quote the Diane, who nominated her, “She was all over it!”  and “Great, great, awesome job!” Hats off to Erin Governanti!






Spring 2014

Sydney Blissick

While Manager on Duty earlier this week, Sydney was vital to the hotel’s success on a sold-out night. With four rooms available, but two of them needing to be cleaned due to early departures, the Front Desk was presented with four unexpected walk-ins guests. Not wanting to turn anyone away, Sydney and a member of our Housekeeping department took the initiative to clean the last two rooms so that all four guests had clean and comfortable accommodations for the night! Sydney was proactive and a true team player! Her efforts were greatly appreciated!

Callie D’Ambrisi

Through each of her shifts thus far this semester, Callie has shown tremendous energy. Employees from all departments have commented on how proactive she has been, not shying away from guest interaction but rather taking the initiative to jump in and help. Tameka at the Front Desk said she didn’t have to think twice about Callie’s work at the desk earlier this week – she was very guest-oriented and even took the opportunity to start making reservations over the telephone. Other employees have comments on her strong, outgoing personality and her focus on staying productive even during down times.


Ciara Moscarello

Another example of great initiative. While Ciara was Manager on Duty, she was a huge help to Joseph and the Banquet department on an extremely busy day. She jumped right in by not only breaking down the room from a breakfast for 60 people in rounds to setting up for the next event which consisted of 18, eight-foot tables complete with linens, flatware, glassware, water stations. To top things off, she vacuumed the entire banquet room as well. Kudos for your teamwork!

Andrew Maffey

Nominated by the Food & Beverage department, Andrew was seen jumping in and helping out wherever needed during his Manager on Duty shift. He was “a great worker…[and] continually checked over at the Bistro for odd jobs. He ran many room services and acted as Student Ambassador in recruiting new students.” He even offered to come in on his own time and help out on Sunday. He brought to life the saying that “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean,” as the picture below aptly illustrates. Maggie said, “Everytime we turned around he was caught doing something else...what a star!”

Congratulations on your phenomenal effort and true team spirit!!!

Stefanie Smith

Stefanie had quite the exciting Manager on Duty shift last weekend! From the start, it was non-stop. First, the hotel started to lose hot water, during which Stefanie was on-hand to assist a mother and a potential future Blue Hen get showered and ready for their campus tour. Next, a guest experienced a medical issue and called for an ambulance. Stefanie was first on the scene to render comfort to the guest and her teenage son, not to mention, she was liaison to UD Police and the Newark EMTs when they arrived. Finally, Stefanie (on her way down to the Front Desk with the guest and the EMTs) got stuck on the elevator. No problem for her! She calmly called down on the radio for assistance, and didn’t let any of the other occupants panic.

Kudos Stefanie! You got to experience an exercise in “worst case scenarios” and you did great!

Karina Faust

Nominated for her proactive attitude on her most recent Manager on Duty shift, Karina led with quiet confidence. She could be seen helping out at the Front Desk during peak arrival time, as well as walking throughout the rest of the hotel to ensure it was in tip-top shape for a very busy weekend. Comments from hotel staff members include…

  • “Great with guests!”
  • “Jumped right in, and asked great questions.”
  • “Totally took charge of the Front Desk making keys and taking reservations.”
  • “Had great initiative and started helping guests without being prompted.”

Congrats Karina! You exhibited the type of top-notch attitude and initiative that has made us an award-winning hotel! Keep up the great work!

Morgan Charde

Morgan showed a true commitment to the hotel by selflessly staying two hours late after her Manager on Duty shift to assist the Banquet staff clean-up and set-up for back-to-back events. The extra set of hands proved vital to our Banquets Team and both clients commented that their event was smooth and professional. Throughout the semester, other staff members have commented on Morgan’s team-first attitude with comments like, “[Arrived] 10 minutes early…, “ “Was very prepared...” and, “Very service minded and customer focused….”

Hats off Morgan! With this kind of work ethic, you will be destined for greatness in the hospitality industry!

Katherine Parsells

Katherine’s P.M. Restaurant shift evaluation was full of rave reviews from long-time team member, Diane Frezzo.  Diane’s comments include, “She was service minded and able to do what needed to be done without reminders. She kept busy by re-stocking drinks, taking care of [sidework]…She helped Jess clear and clean tables plus bring out food…[and] she stayed late!” Over the course of the semester, Katherine received other glowing comments such as, “[She…] was very helpful and ‘natural’ on the Front Desk…” and, “[She] is very attentive and helpful.”

Congrats Katherine! You have shown how valuable a positive attitude and strong sense of dedication can make a hotel more successful!




Fall 2013

Sarah Drobnock – Week 1

While Manager on Duty, Sarah was integral in ensuring a pair of VIP guests visiting campus were well taken care of. One guest was wheelchair-bound and upon check-in, his wife needed our assistance in obtaining items that would better accommodate his needs. Sarah took it upon herself to get the items and place them in the room and personally ensure their satisfaction. Sarah showed great initiative and a true guest-first attitude, and the guest ultimately left extremely pleased with their experience.

Salvatore Ciro – Week 2

After completing a P.M. Front Desk shift, Salvatore volunteered to assist the Banquet staff with the break-down and set-up of the entire meeting room, including the disassembly of the dance floor (quite a feat)! He stayed well after midnight to ensure that the hotel was properly set-up for the next day’s busy meeting schedule. Salvatore was very selfless and giving of his time, and the staff was extremely appreciative!

Danuphon Tantiphayak – Week 3

While hosting the University of Delaware’s Board of Trustees for a two-day meeting, Danuphon was asked to assist the restaurant in ensuring our VIP guests were taken care of as expeditiously as possible. He took this opportunity and ran with it! He single-handedly greeted every guest, ensured they received their orders quickly, offered additional assistance to everyone he encountered, and really showed the Courtyard spirit!


Sara Cannizzaro – Week 4

This week’s winner is being recognized for her efforts in two departments. Judy, our Executive Housekeeper, commented on Sara’s great initiative – taking the time to look around the property, asking pointed, relevant questions, and showing genuine interest in the inner-workings of the Housekeeping department.

Sara also showed true leadership abilities during yesterday’s Sales Blitz. Melissa, our Director of Sales, stated that Sara was very comfortable going out and was a true salesman promoting our property to the fullest. She was very personable and professional!


Michael Bandy-Pistory (Week #5)

During his Manager-on-Duty shift, Michael displayed a real “customer-first” attitude, handling several guest concerns and requests in just his first hour on shift. Nominated by the Housekeeping department, Mike was observed being very proactive, and took the initiative to ensure that communication between the Front Desk and Housekeeping was top-notch on a very busy day. Mike did not shy away from anything and really stepped up to the challenge!

Jennifer Piccone (Week #6)

In the words of Debby at the Front Desk, Jennifer was “Fabulous!” During an extremely busy time at the Front Desk, Jennifer took charge in trying to assist as many guests as possible, including some guests that weren’t 100% satisfied with their stay. Without hesitation, Jennifer jumped right in and stayed focused on ensuring our guests arrived and departed on a positive note!

Pauline Wardell (Week #7)

While working a P.M. Front Desk shift, Polly had the opportunity to engage with a guest one-on-one with regards to tracking a lost package. She took ownership of the situation, and stayed past her shift’s end time to ensure that everything possible was done to assist the guest. Taking the time to assist a guest in need “…didn’t faze her at all. [Polly] displayed patience, the ability to think/act quickly, excellent problem-solving skills, and true leadership.“


Chih Yao Ko (Week #8)

Chih Yao was nominated for SOTW three times in the last week, both of his Manager-on-Duty and P.M. Restaurant shift! While MOD, Chih Yao helped the Front process the much-anticipated Parents Weekend waitlist as well as help answer a heavy volume of incoming calls. During his P.M. Restaurant shift, Chih Yao noticed that the Front Desk Agent-on-Duty was preoccupied assisting a guest and without hesitation came over to assist with answering phones and guest questions, including a guest that was having difficulty in the business center. He showed great initiative and was a real team player!

The Lerner College is home to a state-of-the-art financial trading facility, the $1.5 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Club, a student-managed restaurant and hotel, a high-technology development center of a global bank and a start-up experience for students with new business ideas.

Undergraduate scholarships, made possible through the generosity of alumni and friends, enable us to support promising scholars. Here, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and his mother, Leni Markell, join recipients of the William Markell Scholarship (center), which benefits students in Accounting and MIS.

The Institute for Financial Services Analytics is a collaboration between the Lerner College, UD's College of Engineering and JPMorgan Chase, and hosts events for academics and the business community designed to address consumer analytics and industry applications.

All Lerner College departments offer discovery learning experiences and emphasize data-based analytics to enrich the student experience. Here, students at Vita Nova, our award-winning restaurant run through HRIM, joined professional chefs and winemakers in hosting a 2014 Mid-Atlantic Wine and Food Festival event.

Lerner College faculty - like Meryl Gardner, whose research on foods and moods was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

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