Lifelong Lerner: Katie Burke

Collage of two photos of Katie Burke

As a member of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ Class of 2020, Katie Burke from Great River, New York has not had the typical final semester or commencement at UD due to the coronavirus outbreak. She, and her entire class, have shown incredible resilience, maturity and spirit while adjusting to the many unexpected changes that they have encountered.


Burke was nominated for this series by UD events manager Kim Ragan, who said, “This semester we had Katie and (her classmate) Katelyn in HOSP 364 – Advanced Conference and Meeting Practicum. Their internship was with Lerner College Events. These students were assigned to assist the Lerner Executive Mentoring Program with their annual Mentor/Mentee Appreciation Dinner. They were ready to send out invitations when the University closed the campus. 


“In lieu of a dinner, Katie and Katelyn came up with a proposal to develop a Prezi video to highlight the successes of the Lerner Executive Mentoring Program in 2019 and 2020, which has 500 mentors and mentees!” Ragan continued. “The client, the Lerner Executive Mentoring Program, loved their idea. Katie and Katlyn learned the software, sorted through hundreds of facts and photos, collaborated with the Lerner Executive Mentoring Program coordinator and developed an awesome video.“They both kept a positive attitude during this challenging time and are looking forward to joining the meetings and events industry soon.


In this profile, Burke, a hospitality business management major with a minor in event management, shared her favorite UD memories, how she has changed during her time at UD and her plans following graduation.


Q: How do you think you have changed from your first semester at UD to now?


Burke: I remember my first semester of college feeling lost—walking around campus, joining clubs to try and meet people and just not feeling like I had found my fit yet. Four years later, it is a 180 degree flip and I’ve never felt more at home with my friends, in my extracurriculars and leadership positions, and I know how much I will miss this feeling come next fall.


Q: What is your favorite place at UD? 


Burke: My favorite place at UD would definitely be The Green. Though this seems like a cliche answer, one of the things I will miss most about UD is the feeling of walking to and from class listening to music, seeing my friends passing by and enjoying the beautiful buildings and spots to do work or just relax between class.


Q: What is the most memorable course that you took at Lerner?


Burke: The most memorable course I took at Lerner would definitely be Dinner Lab as part of the hospitality business management program. This class allowed students to work in a student-run fine dining restaurant in the front and back of the house. We all learned so much as a team and made so many memories along the way!


Q: What was your favorite signature UD experience?


Burke: My favorite signature UD experience would definitely be my winter study abroad experience in Australia and New Zealand in 2019. I went into this experience excited to learn more about the hospitality industry and didn’t know exactly what to expect, not knowing so many people. Looking back, it was better than I could have ever hoped, it’s an experience with forever friends I will remember and cherish for a lifetime.


Q: What does being a “Lifelong Lerner” mean to you?


Burke: I am so honored to be a “Lifelong Lerner.” Being a part of Lerner College has been such an amazing experience and it has taught me so much that I’ll carry with me throughout my life and aid me in my career.


Q: What are your plans following graduation?

Burke: I’m currently seeking out jobs for post-grad, but eventually hope to pursue a career in event planning. I can’t wait to connect with alumni and see where everything I’ve learned over the last four years will take me!

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