As a member of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ Class of 2022, Carly Burns, a hospitality business management major from Middletown, Delaware, has not had the typical student experience at UD due to the coronavirus pandemic. Burns, and her entire class, have shown incredible resilience, maturity and spirit while adjusting to the many unexpected changes that they have encountered as students. Each installment of this series will profile an outstanding member of this class, showcasing their achievements, experiences at UD and what it means to be a Blue Hen.
Burns was nominated for this series by UD Instructor of Hospitality Business Nicholas Waller, who said, “Carly is the consummate student who participates in all activities with professionalism, social awareness and gusto. Carly has excelled in her work at Vita Nova and in her hospitality business management degree program by approaching her work with a willingness and team focused approach that is not often seen. Carly is an all-around star student, involved in the study abroad program, volleyball, hands on experiential learning in Vita Nova, and has negotiated the pandemic with positivity and aplomb.”
In this profile, Burns shared her favorite UD memories, how she has changed during her time at UD and her plans following graduation.
Lerner: How have you grown from your freshman year at UD to now?
Burns: As a transfer student who came to UD my sophomore year, the change in my academic environment has opened me up to a new perspective and journey I never knew I would venture on. Becoming a Blue Hen was the best decision I ever made, and with a new sense of confidence, I could not be more assured I chose the right major to pursue my career goals.
Lerner: Were you involved in any extracurricular activities? If so, how did they shape your experience at UD?
Burns: Throughout my time at UD, I was a team-member on the women’s club volleyball team. Playing volleyball since I was 10 years old, this sport has shown me the importance of teamwork, leadership and adaptability that I have been able to apply in my professional and academic life. I understand the importance of dedication and commitment both in the classroom and on the court, a sense of purpose by achieving goals and turning teammates into friends whom I am so grateful for through my involvement in sports.
Lerner: What does being a “Lifelong Lerner” mean to you?
Burns: A Lifelong Lerner means that you always have an ongoing pursuit of knowledge, personal development, competitiveness and drive to expand your opportunities. At a time where business opportunities are flourishing, staying educated and finding ways to innovate are essential to your personal and professional growth. Stretching beyond your expectations and following your passions will allow you to continuously learn, and I am so fortunate to carry the mission of Lerner to my future endeavors!
Lerner: What was the most memorable course that you took at Lerner?
Burns: Vita Nova’s Dinner Lab was by far my most memorable course at UD. The ability to be a part of a student-operated fine dining restaurant is something truly unique, and the support of faculty, peers and other academic professionals has provided me with so many opportunities to advance in the hospitality industry. Not only have I been able to enhance my culinary skills in the back-of-house, but also my direct communication with guests and learning how to effectively serve in a fine-dining establishment has strengthened my front-of-house knowledge.
Lerner: What was your favorite UD experience?
Burns: My favorite UD experience was when I had the opportunity to go on an Advanced Beverage and International Cuisine and Culture study abroad trip in Paris, France during the Winter 2022 semester. I can confidently say that this experience was life changing, as I opened myself to new perspectives, developed cross-cultural awareness and made genuine relationships and memories that I will never forget. The new adventures and challenges an extensive trip like this could bring has allowed me to become more mature and enhance my overall self-confidence.
Lerner: What are your plans following graduation?
Burns: After graduation, I am working in Delaware as an Event and Business Development Manager at Canalside Inn. In February 2021, I was one of four Canalside interns and completed my internship program in August of 2021, where I learned key marketing, public relations, event planning and business development skills relating to the hospitality industry. I am so fortunate to be a part of a team that is so supportive, team-driven and continuously focused on employee growth and success. I look forward to applying acquired hospitality skills and knowledge to this position and maintain close professional relationships with other team members and guests!