By Eric Devlin
Tessa Robinson likes helping people. She’s good at it. She’s been doing it ever since her first job working in a small tea room in Souderton, Pa. She enjoys the interaction with customers and doing whatever she can to make them happy.
“I need a profession where I get to talk to people,” she said.
That’s why it’s no surprise then that the 21-year-old has excelled in the new Tourism and Hospitality Management associate’s degree program at Montgomery County Community College and has turned heads at her internship and later part-time job at Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center.
Robinson, 21, a 2016 Souderton Area High School graduate, began her college career at James Madison University. After a year-and-a-half though, she decided the school wasn’t the right fit for her and dropped out. When she came back home to Harleysville, Pa., she decided to take some classes at MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell in the fall of 2018 to figure out what her next move would be.
“I was unsure of a major,” she said. “I started taking Introduction to Hospitality with Shawn Murray (Assistant Professor of Tourism & Hospitality Management), and I fell in love with it. It was the perfect introduction I needed into the major.”
Robinson quickly added a full course load to get the credits for an associate’s degree and has excelled in the program. Then in August of 2019, she landed an internship position at Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center in the sales and marketing offices. The experience was life-changing.
“It was honestly amazing,” said Robinson. “The people there are great. They are so friendly. Every team was so awesome.”
Robinson gained key insight into the basics of business. She worked with the marketing team that specializes in hospitality and attended weekly meetings to discuss sales, event planning, human resources, and other aspects that will guide her in her future career.
Murray said Robinson has been a great ambassador for the College and the Tourism and Hospitality Management degree program as a whole.
“Our Tourism & Hospitality Management program challenges students to learn and understand how social and emotional intelligence, empathy, thinking outside the box, and inclusivity connect to the business of tourism,” said Murray. “Another key ingredient to our programming is great partnerships with firms like the Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center, which provided an in-depth learning experience for Tessa to hone her skills in marketing. Tessa is an amazing professional, and I am proud of how she took advantage of this internship connecting her one step closer to launching a career in hospitality sales and marketing.”
Robinson’s experience as an intern also impressed the executives at Normandy Farm, who asked her to stay on in a part-time capacity after the internship ended.
“Tessa has never shied away from a challenge and has always been bold enough to contribute fresh ideas,” said Gary Murray, Chief Marketing Officer for Normandy Farm Hotel. “Her positive energy is infectious throughout the office and has provided a lasting imprint with our organization.”
Robinson plans to continue working part-time at Normandy Farm, while also attending summer courses at MCCC, she said. Her goal is to graduate later this year and then transfer to a four-year college or university. Her dream position would be to continue working in marketing and sales at a tourism-based company.
She credits the help she’s received at MCCC and the Tourism and Hospitality Management program to any success she’s achieved so far.
If it weren’t for that program I wouldn’t be in this industry or getting a degree in something that I love,” she said. “Montco helped me figure out my path and how I was going to move forward. In the past, I didn’t have that type of academic guidance. Now, I feel very supported. It’s helped me in my professional and academic career.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Devlin is Public Relations and Communications Coordinator at Montgomery County Community College.