Elizabeth Jacoby

Advisers help Beth discover new ambitions

Although she wanted to open her own bakery, Beth knew she also wanted a college degree. She came to Iowa State to study culinary science, hoping it would align with her entrepreneurship goals.

“I wanted to fall back on something, and I wanted the security of having a degree,” she said.

Shortly after starting her culinary science classes, she found herself immersed in more science courses than anticipated. She wanted to focus more on business elements, but she didn’t want to lose the food industry element. She realized her unhappiness with her decision.

“My freshman year, I was distraught in all my science classes and did not like my major,” Beth said. “It was too ‘sciencey’ for me.”

She debated switching her major to business, to better understand that side of owning her own bakery. Before officially making the change, Beth found a spark of inspiration from working in the dinning center during her Intro to Professional Skills in Culinary Science (FSHN 104) class — more specifically from her lecturer, Erica Beirman, who introduced her to hospitality management. She referred Beth to academic adviser Dawn Fiihr for more information on the program.

“Dawn heard my frustrations and explained it further,” she said. “After our discussion, I ended up changing my major to hospitality, with a minor in culinary science.”

Through her class in the Joan Bice Underwood Tea Room, Beth discovered an additional love: event management.

“I really enjoy working events,” she said. “I love all of the detail and planning. I love leading and working with people — that’s the idea of these majors.”

Beth enjoyed event management so much, she chose to add it as a second major and drop her minor in culinary science. She wanted to keep her minor, but experienced her courses overlapped too much, and she wouldn’t be able to get enough new credits between her culinary science, hospitality, and event management classes. Ultimately, she’s happy with her decision to double major in hospitality and event management, even if it means she doesn’t want to open her own business anymore.

Throughout her experience, Beth learned a lot and recommends anyone in a similar situation to talk with advisers – that’s who helped her.

“Talk to people. I talked to my mom, advisers, and Erica, who helped me connect. Talk and explore options with your academic advisers to help condense ideas on which major to choose.”