As a member of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ Class of 2021, Kada Cernek, a hospitality business management major with a minor in event management from Sparta, New Jersey has not had the typical final year or commencement at UD due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cernek, and her entire class, have shown incredible resilience, maturity and spirit while adjusting to the many unexpected changes that they have encountered.
Cernek was nominated for this series by UD Director of Graduate Programs Srikanth Beldona, who said, “Kada is enthusiastically driven on campus by serving as the president for major student clubs such as a nationally recognized student chapter (CMAA) and another for exceptional academic performance (Eta Sigma Delta) among others. She was recently selected among thousands of candidates to intern at the 2021 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.”
In this profile, Cernek shared her favorite UD memories, how she has changed during her time at UD and her plans following graduation.
Lerner: How do you think you have changed from your first semester at UD to now?
Cernek: UD has absolutely changed me for the better and has taken me from a girl who cried nervously the whole ride to school, to a girl who now cries every day because she has to leave this school. Freshman year Kada was unsure of herself and anxious to put herself out there and now I hold the title of miss social butterfly. UD taught me that I should always use my voice and share my opinion, and that we all have enough courage to put ourselves out there and that when we do, great things will come of it.
Lerner: What is your favorite place at UD?
Cernek: My favorite place at UD is the North Campus turf. When I randomly got placed on North Campus as a freshman I was worried that I would be isolated and far away from my friends on East Campus. However, I quickly learned that North Campus truly is its own little community where I found some of my best friends. Whether it was studying together, having dinner picnics or playing spike-ball on the weekends, there was never a dull moment on the North turf. I even wound up loving it so much that I chose to live there sophomore year as well and it has easily become my favorite part of UD.
Lerner: What is the most memorable course that you took at Lerner?
Cernek: I am so fortunate to be a hospitality student because we get to experience some of the coolest classes UD has to offer. Though the most memorable by far is the time we spent in Vita Nova. Chef Joe, Chef John and Nick Waller are the most charismatic and passionate professors I have ever had and the kitchen is definitely the most amazing classroom. Our classes taken in Vita Nova also give us incomparable time and experiences with our classmates who we have grown so close to throughout the four years in our major.
Lerner: What was your favorite signature UD experience?
Cernek: During my time at UD, I was fortunate enough to study abroad three times in the most amazing countries. Freshman year I learned about cruise ship management by traveling on a Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas, sophomore year I took my wine and food knowledge to Australia and New Zealand to put it to the test and junior year I was forever changed when I spent my days working in orphanages and underprivileged schools in South Africa. All three experiences helped me grow into the person I am today and I never would’ve been able to make lifelong memories or check off bucket list items without UD’s amazing study abroad program.
Lerner: What does being a “Lifelong Lerner” mean to you?
Cernek: My four years at UD would not have been the same if it wasn’t for all of the alumni interactions and networking we were given the opportunity to do. I am fortunate enough to have been offered a job due to networking with alumni members who themselves have chosen to be Lifelong Lerners. I think the bond between UD students, no matter the graduation year, is so incredibly strong and special. Therefore, I am ecstatic to be able to give back in my years beyond college and forever be a “Lifelong Lerner”.
Lerner: What are your plans following graduation?
Cernek: I will be moving to Philadelphia to start my first full-time job at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania as their new Manager in Training. I will also begin to pursue my Certified Club Manager professional certification through the Club Managers Association of America.