Every dream has a journey and every career has a path. The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation can help you on your way. We’re committed supporting Marine children in every pursuit of their educational goals and these days there’s no more versatile educational path than Career and Technical Education (CTE). What many used to think of purely as vocational training has evolved into a dynamic career field with options as varied as the students who enroll in them. From health sciences to finance, information technology to manufacturing; CTE professionals are on the cutting edge of today’s most hands-on careers and making an immediate impact on our nation’s work force.
In this post, we highlight Scholar, James Melvin, rising Senior at Johnson and Wales University pursuing a degree in Food Sciences.
My Father served in the Marine Corps for four years and his values of honor, courage and commitment are deeply instilled within me. At a young age, my Father taught me the importance of discipline, respect and leadership which inspired me to follow my dreams and pursue a career in Culinary Arts – a field where all three characteristics are needed to succeed.
As a child, I always cooked for my family. My parents often worked long hours, so I was asked to prepare meals for me and my brother. As I matured, I realized that I found peace, calm and happiness in the kitchen, and I was motivated by my parents to transform my passion for cooking into a meaningful career.
I was hesitant at the prospect of using cooking as a means to find long term success, because my peers were following the traditional educational track – pursuing four year colleges and Universities with the hopes of becoming doctors, lawyers and business professionals. My parents continued to encourage me, and taught me that your success is never measured by the degree you receive – success is measured by the impact you make. So I took the path less taken; I explored a career technical education.
The moment I stepped foot on the Johnson and Wales University campus, I never looked back. At Johnson and Wales I found a second home, and you know what they say: home is where the heart is. Over the last three years, I have grown as a leader and as a Culinary Arts professional, and this growth can only be attributed to what I have coined my “Recipe for Success”:
- Remain focused. Outline your goals. Outlining helps you to consider where you want to be and where you should within an allotted time period.
- Find a support system. It is okay to ask for help. I’ve learned that having resources and mentors both inside and outside of the classroom is a great way to stay motivated and learn what drives others to succeed.
- Rest and relaxation provide us with the brainpower needed to study a few extra hours, work longer hours during an internship and remain focused.
- Maintain a positive outlook. It’s easy to become discouraged with school work. Whether it is a long day of studying or not performing well on a test, but it’s important to maintain a positive outlook, count your blessings and continue to strive towards your goals.
Using this recipe as a guide has helped me secure confidence about my future.
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and their partnership with Sodexo have given me countless opportunities to network with other Culinary Arts professionals and afforded me access to internships that will make a lasting impact on my career. The scholarship has helped to make my dreams a reality, because my parents are able to focus less on the financial burden of sending me to culinary school and instead, can focus on my career and developing my skills as an aspiring chef.
No matter the path, our scholars are leading the way. Try following James’s advice and see where it takes you. In the meantime, try making one of his favorite recipes from culinary school.
For more information about how the Scholarship Foundation supports scholars pursuing a Career and Technical Education, please visit: https://www.mcsf.org/cte/