HAMMOND | After bouncing around from major to major at a downstate university for two and a half years without a career objective, and then stepping away from her college education for more than a year, Jessica Oxford arrived at Purdue University Calumet motivated with a plan.
That was in the fall of 2010, and she needed every bit of her new-found drive and determination, because “none of my credits transferred” from her previous school, she said.
Goal to graduate in 3 years
“I had wasted more than two years with no direction, and I didn’t want to waste any more,” the 26-year-old Indianapolis native turned Crown Point resident continued. “I was determined to make up for lost time. When I came to Purdue Calumet, I decided to earn a hospitality, tourism and management bachelor’s degree, and I wanted to do it in three years.”
Her mission was accomplished last May.
Along the way, she took advantage of White Lodging Services Future Leaders and National Restaurant Association scholarships. She also worked a full time job—in her field of study—as a server, bartender and restaurant manager. Since her graduation, she has remained employed at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.
Selecting Purdue Calumet
While attending her previous down state university, Oxford learned about Purdue Calumet’s hospitality and tourism management program from northwest Indiana friends. After doing some researching, she became impressed.
“Purdue is a good name; it’s recognized in many distant areas,” she said. “My friends in Utah – both Purdue Calumet graduates – said the name ‘Purdue’ is good as gold.”
Oxford’s individuality and tenacity impressed her Purdue Calumet academic advisor, Chynisse Browder.
“As an Indy resident, Jessica bypassed two Purdue campuses to come to northwest Indiana to study HTM at Purdue Calumet,” Browder said. “She has worked and remained a persistent fulltime student. Jobs she has held have been hospitality-related, enabling her to gain practical industry experience and the opportunity to apply her HTM education to those jobs.”
While continuing her employment at Horseshoe Casino, Oxford is considering graduate school enrollment next spring.
“I don’t know where I’ll be in five years, but it will definitely be in the hospitality industry,” she said. “There will be many exciting opportunities for me, and as I gain experience, I feel confident that I’m putting my degree to work.”