Students and Alumni

Students

Geovanni Saucedo

Geovanni Saucedo

Ashley Hassler

Ashley Hassler

Brandon Scaberry

Brandon Scarberry

Kennedy Villegas

Kennedy Villegas

Monia Corral

Monia Corral

Noe Martinez Alvarez

Noe Martinez Alvarez

Rocio Vasquez

Rocio Vasquez

Ashley Kozell

Ashley Kozell

Bettina Bautista

Bettina Bautista

Brkiti Brhan

Brkiti Brhan

Cameron Keenan

Cameron Keenan

Sol Gonzalaz Pacheco

Sol Pacheco

Crystal Triguero

Crystal Triguero

Jaslin Estavillo

Jaslin Estavillo

Susana Galindo

Susana Galindo

Adolfo Ramirez Salazar

Miriam Munoz Gonzalez

Miriam Munoz Gonzalez

Erik Tran

Diana Loaiza

Kanaelah Harper

Kanaelah Harper

Valerie Nava

Valerie Nava

Geovanni Saucedo

Geovanni Saucedo

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Cheyenne High School
Mentor: Tim Bowen

Fun Fact:Boasting an impressive 3.96 GPA, Geovanni plans to pursue a degree in hospitality. In addition to being an AP student, he is the National Honor Society Vice-President, President of Save Club and has volunteered for a number of non-profits including Opportunity Village, Pennies for Patients, and Convoy for Hope, just to name a few. His father is a Convention Operation Assistant Manager at Caesars Palace which allowed Geovanni to become exposed to the hospitality industry at a young age, where his passion is rooted and propelled him to pursue the path he is on today. Geovanni is currently a barista at Starbucks inside Paris Las Vegas.

Ashley Hassler

Ashley Hassler

University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality Management
Minor: Restaurant Management
High School: East Career and Tech Academy

Fun Fact: Ashley is ECF’s first scholarship recipient from ECTA and it’s no wonder why with an impressive 4.698 GPA. Ashley is passionate about culinary and pastry arts and wants to own her own restaurant or be CEO of a company in the culinary field. Ashley is currently a Shift Manager for Del Taco. She has competed in FCCLA and Skills USA and even placed 1st in Culinary Arts at FCCLA and will be going to Nationals this summer.

Brandon Scaberry

Brandon Scarberry

University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School

Fun Fact: Brandon is a brilliant young man with an impressive 4.506 GPA who plans to pursue his degree in Hospitality Management. Brandon completed his high school internship at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and hopes to one day be President of a strip property. Brandon cares about his community and has volunteered over 160 hours to organizations like Three Square and Spread the Word Nevada. In addition, he is also a member of his high school wrestling team.

Kennedy Villegas

Kennedy Villegas

University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School

Fun Fact: Boasting an impressive 4.8 GPA, Kennedy is first in his class and is his high school’s valedictorian. This spring, he will receive his Advanced Honors Diploma and gain recognition from the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and the National Academy Foundation. Kennedy plans to pursue a career in hospitality and work for Caesars or MGM International. Kennedy has a philanthropic hear and has already volunteered over 500 hours of community service back to events and projects that benefit the Las Vegas community. He has been awarded with the 2017 Nevada DECA Student of the Year, 2017 Nevada DECA State Championship: Hospitality & Tourism Operations Research Written Event, and the 2016 Golden Nugget Las Vegas Internship Innovation Plan Grant Recipient.

Monia Corral

Monia Corral

University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality Management
High School: Northwest Career and Tech Academy

Fun Fact: Achieving an impressive 4.326 GPA, Monica will continue her studies at UNLV this fall with the ultimate goal of becoming a General Manager at a five-star hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Monica will graduate from NWCTA with advanced honors and has had perfect attendance for the last three years. She believes in the value of community service and hopes to one day give back to students like herself. Monica is currently the assistant secretary for UNLV’s Chapter of National Society of Minorities in Hospitality.

Noe Martinez Alvarez

Noe Martinez Alvarez

University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality Management
Minor: Culinary
High School: Cheyenne High School

Fun Fact: Noe currently holds an outstanding 4.7 GPA, ranks first in his class, and will be his school’s valedictorian in May. In addition to serving as his high school’s volunteer sous chef, he participates in S.A.V.E., Skills USA, and the Chess Club. He has helped his fellow peers at Cheyenne High School campaign against violence and bullying, volunteered at soup kitchens, and has raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society and UNICEF. Noe hopes to one day open successful restaurant that helps give back to the community.

Rocio Vasquez

Rocio Vasquez

University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality Management
Minor: Business Administration
High School: Southwest Career and Technical Academy

Fun Fact: Rocio is an enthusiastic young woman with an remarkable 3.99 GPA and plans to study hospitality management and minor in business administration in the fall. Rocio currently works as a front desk agent at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino and hopes to one day work in hotel administration. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and will graduate with an advanced honors diploma. Rocio is a member of her high school DECA program, and has volunteered for Three Square, Family Promise of Las Vegas, and the LDS Storehouse.

Ashley Kozell

Ashley Kozell

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality Management
High School: West Career and Technical Academy
Past Mentor: Luiz Oliveira
Current Mentor: Megan Humphry

Fun Fact: Ashley Kozell graduated from West Career and Technical Academy with an impressive 4.3 GPA. She loves devoting her time volunteering to several organizations around Las Vegas and was previously an Admissions Supervisor at Wet ‘n’ Wild. Ashley shared her thoughts about ECF, “The Epicurean Charitable Foundation has a huge place in my heart. There is so many once in a lifetime opportunities that ECF has shared with me. I have been able to learn a lot from my past mentors and will always cherish the learning experiences along the way from each meeting.” She has been inspired by the marketing aspect of the hospitality industry and would love to promote hotels or even sports one day.

Bettina Bautista

Bettina Bautista

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major/Concentration: Hospitality Management with a concentration in Restaurant Management
High School: Coronado High School
Past Mentor: Tim Bowen and David Suppe
Current Mentor: Nathan Armogan

Fun Fact: Bettina Bautista graduated from Coronado High School with an impressive 4.0 GPA. She is currently a baker at the Cheesecake Factory. "ECF has truly shaped me to become the best version of myself. With the mentoring program along with the experiences of all the events that goes on within the year, it definitely gives me a unique opportunity to learn more every day. The mentors and board members that I have worked with are truly inspirational and helped tremendously in my life. I am so excited for the future experiences through ECF." She is working hard to become the next pastry chef.

Brkiti Brhan

Brkiti Brhan

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management (no concentration)
High School: Southwest Career and Technical Academy
Past Mentor: Ken Johnson (freshmen) Marisa Martino (softmore)
Current Mentor: Nathan Armogan

Fun Fact: Brkiti Brhan graduated from Southwest Career and Technical Academy with 3.79 GPA. Served as historian in DECA and is currently a secretary in Habesha Student Association and member of ASA. ECF and the Mentorship program has helped me understand the aspects of Hospitality industry and presented me with many opportunities. Aspire to be a hotel manager and to one day open my own hotel.

Cameron Keenan

Cameron Keenan

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Coronado High School
Mentor: Michael Scafuto

Fun Fact: Cameron Keenan graduated from Coronado High School with an impressive 3.0 GPA. She currently helps run events with nonprofit charities, specifically The Grant a Gift Autism Foundation. "ECF has helped give me the stepping stones I need to get onto the right path with my career. I have also gotten the privilege to work with new mentors who have been very encouraging throughout this journey." She is working hard to become the next big event planner for the entertainment industry.

Sol Gonzalaz Pacheco

Sol Pacheco

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality
High School: Valley High School
Past Mentor: Michael Kennedy and Kelley Jones
Current Mentor: Jack Langley

Fun Fact: Sol Gonzalez Pacheco graduated from Valley High School with an impressive 4.06 GPA. She is currently a Tutor with Gear Up University at Valley High school. "Epicurean has opened my mind and life to greater opportunities. I'm grateful for my ECF family and looking forward to the future." She is working hard to become an event planner.

Crystal Triguero

Crystal Triguero

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School
Past Mentor:
Current Mentor:

Fun Fact: Crystal Triguero graduated from Valley High School with an impressive 3.89 GPA. “ECF has allowed me to have the opportunity to speak to executives within the hospitality industry, as well as listen to their stories and experiences.” She is working hard to become the next Hotel Manager.

Jaslin Estavillo

Jaslin Estavillo

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major / Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Northwest Career and Technical Academy
Mentor: Stacey Taylor

Fun Fact: I started a podcast about hospitality, business, and entrepreneurship.

Susana Galindo

Susana Galindo

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality
High School: SouthEast Career Technical Academy (SECTA)
Past Mentor: Kevin Ball
Current Mentor: David Suppe

Fun Fact: Susana Galindo graduated from SouthEast Career Technical Academy with an impressive 4.3 weighted GPA. She is currently a member of Epicurean Society Club and is FOH/BOH staff at UNLV Catering. “ECF mentors support each and every student in every way. They inspire me to envision goals and help me achieve whatever I put my mind to.” She is working hard to become a Stadium Special Event Coordinator.

Adolfo Ramirez Salazar

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major / Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Dan Farron

Fun Fact:

Miriam Munoz Gonzalez

Miriam Munoz Gonzalez

Front Desk, TownePlace Suites

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality
High School: SouthEast Career Technical Academy
Past Mentor: Joe Radetich
Current Mentor: Sean DiCicco

Fun Fact:Miriam Munoz Gonzalez is currently attending the University of Nevada - Las Vegas and is studying hotel management and events and planning and is maintaining a GPA of 3.75. She is currently a member of the Student Organization of Latinxs (SOL) and Epicurean Society. She is a front desk agent at TownePlace Suites in Henderson by Marriott. ECF mentors are extremely hard working and do everything in their power to help their mentees maintain and achieve their goals. She is working hard to become the president of a hotel or CEO.

Erik Tran

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: Hospitality
High School: Durango High School
Mentor: Michael Kennedy

Fun Fact: Erik Tran is a hospitality major who dreams of becoming a chef and opening up his own restaurant, which will be Vietnamese themed so others may experience the unique culture and cuisine of Vietnam.He has graduated from Durango High School with an IMPRESSIVE 4.7 GPA and ranked in the top 2% of his class!His hope is to open up the Vietnamese restaurant of his dreams through the people he meets and the connection he makes, like his mentor Michael Kennedy, who is the Vice President of the Epicurean Charitable Foundation and the Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel,Casino,and Spa!

Diana Loaiza

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major / Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Southeast Career Technical Academy
Mentor: Martha Morales

Fun Fact: I love baking and trying new things!

Kanaelah Harper

Kanaelah Harper

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
Mentor: Karla Perez

Fun Fact: Kanaelah Harper plans to be manager of hotel operations due to her love of hotels and seeing eveything come together to form a great and unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Kanaelah graduated from a performing arts school and is multi-talented. Kanaelah can not wait to meet more professionals in the industry, especially the hotel industry, and make lasting connections and friendships that will help her successfully navigate the hospitality industry and reach her goals.

Valerie Nava

Valerie Nava

College/University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major/Concentration: Hospitality Management
Minor: Beverage Management
High School: Green Valley High School
Current Mentor: Kevin Ball

Fun Fact: Valerie Nava graduated from Green Valley High School with an impressive 3.825  GPA. She is currently a member of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, Eta Sigma Delta, the Epicurean Society, and the Vice-President of the Wine Society. "ECF's mentors are all highly potential leaders in the Hospitality Industry, and I am very much fortunate to have their guidance and support throughout my career and future successes." She is working hard to become the next woman to earn the Master Sommelier Diploma.

Alumni

Angela Szewczyk

Angela Szewczyk

Nachely Martinez
Alumna Vice President

Nachely Martinez

Sue Lei Herrin

Sue Lei Herrin

Ronald Giorgione

Ronald Giorgione

Sabrina Karic

Sabrina Karic

Martha Morales
Secretary

Martha Morales

Catherine Caro

Catherine Caro

Myra Agguire

Myra Agguire

Alona Rideout

Alona Rideout

Hanny Herrada

Hanny Herrada

Cindy Ureno

Cindy Ureno

Malek Sadri

Malek Sadri

Karina Saucedo

Karina Saucedo

Vesna Boskovic

Vesna Boskovic

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer Lee

Nexie Hingpit

Nexie Hingpit

Ciro Fodera

Jordan Moore

Jordan Moore

Claudia Soler

Claudia Soler

Vildan Buric

Vildan Buric

Wendy Cooper

Wendy Cooper

Mercedes Sanchez

Mercedes Sanchez

Beatriz Portillo

Beatriz Portillo

Kim Zhou

Alexandria Von Mohr

Aily Rodriguez

Aily Rodriguez

Karen Giselle Nava

Karen Giselle Nava

Daniela Sanchez

Daniela Sanchez

Andrea Rocca-Capano

Andrea Rocca Capano

Melanie Saucedo

Melanie Saucedo

Candace Kozell

Mia Salomon

Mia Salomon

Ben Sison

Ben Sison

Anna Tymoshevska

Jasmine Ramos

Jasmine Ramos

Maria Miranda

Emily Hewitt

Angela Szewczyk

Angela Szewczyk

Marketing Specialist at The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas | Las Vegas Sands Corp.

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2008
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Centennial High School
Mentor: Joe Issa
Fun Fact: A member of the first ECF scholarship class, Angela earned a job at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino after graduation. Angela is currently a marketing specialist at the Venetian® ,Resort Las Vegas | Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Nachely Martinez

Alumna Vice President

Nachely Martinez

Executive Meetings Manager at The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas

Cuban born and Vegas raised, Nachely joined The Venetian Resort in June of 2010 as a Front Desk Agent. She was later promoted to Front Desk Manager after completing her Bachelors of Science in Hotel Administration in 2013 from UNLV. She found a passion for learning and development as the Training Manager for the Front Office where she revamped the department training program and trained over 80 new hires in the first year. She took her passion for learning and development further as the Special Projects Manager for the Hotel Operations division where she created, delivered, and administered learning opportunities for over 2,500 team members.

In her role, she continues to support the divisional projects, financials, and team member engagement. Nachely received her MBA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and has recently been promoted to Executive Meetings Manager at The Venetian.

Sue Lei Herrin

Sue Lei Herrin

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2008

Ronald Giorgione

Ronald Giorgione

College/University: Graduated from Culinary Institute of America – New York in 2008
Major/Minor: Culinary Management
High School: Silverado High School
Mentor: N/A
Fun Fact: Known to his friends as ‘R.J.,’ Ronald graduated from Silverado High School in 2004 and attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

Sabrina Karic

Sabrina Karic

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2009
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Frank Rigley
Fun Fact: Sabrina graduated from UNLV in 2009 with a degree in hospitality management.

Martha Morales

Secretary

Martha Morales

General Manager, Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace

ECF Alumni Class of ’09

Martha is Epicurean Charitable Foundation’s first alumna board member. She is currently the Director of Hotel Operations for Caesars Palace. In her role, she oversees the hotel division; Bells, Color Salon, Qua Spa, Housekeeping, Front Desk, VIP, In Room Dining, and Weddings.

Martha is an ECF Alum who graduated in 2008. She is our first student to become part of the ECF board.

Las Vegas raised, Ms. Morales, graduated from Rancho High School in only three years with a 3.75 GPA back in 2005. In 2009, she graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a degree in hospitality management. Ms. Morales began her career in the hospitality industry at the age of 16 and utilized both her education and experience to develop her skills. She has work at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, Hilton Las Vegas, Arizona Charlies Decatur and for the past 7 years she has worked at Caesars Palace in various roles prior to her promotion to Director of Hotel Operations.

Ms. Morales joined Epicurean Charitable Foundation as a board member to combine her passion for empowering young women and leading others with her knowledge of the hospitality industry.

Ms. Morales enjoys hiking, dancing and participating in community outreach events. She serves as the Community Chair for Vision in Action (VIA – a business resource group for Caesars Entertainment), is an active Board Member for the Hospitality and Tourism Academy at Valley High School and is a member of Toastmasters International. Ms. Morales is the proud mother of her 14-year-old daughter, Jasmin.

Catherine Caro

Catherine Caro

College/University: Graduated from Culinary Institute of America – New York in 2010
Major/Minor: Culinary Management
High School: Spring Valley High School
Mentor: Kelley Jones
Fun Fact: Catherine Caro is originally from San Francisco, CA and moved to Las Vegas in 1998. She graduated with honors from both Spring Valley High School and the Area Technical Trade Center. She graduated from The Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park with her Bachelors of Professional Studies in Culinary Arts Management.

Myra Agguire

Myra Agguire

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2011
Major/Minor: Food & Beverage Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Jay Bluhm
Fun Fact: Myra earned a position at Arias Resort & Casino after graduating from UNLV in 2011.

Alona Rideout

Alona Rideout

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2011
Major/Minor: Culinary Arts Management
High School: El Dorado High School
Mentor: Andy Enrico
Fun Fact: Alona currently works at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino as a resort services agent. She is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas but aims to someday open her own Southern-inspired restaurant.

Hanny Herrada

Hanny Herrada

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2011
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Cheyenne High School
Mentor: Kevin Dimond
Fun Fact: Hanny currently works at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino as a convention assistant manager. Born in Cuba, she previously held internships at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino and Palace Station.

Cindy Ureno

Cindy Ureno

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2012
Major/Minor: Hospitality Administration
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Marisa Martino
Fun Fact: Cindy is Senior Manager of Client Solutions at LodgiQ.

Malek Sadri

Malek Sadri

Wynn | Encore Concierge Manager

Malek, an ECF recipient in 2009, has held multiple roles at resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, all while servicing the community. Malek, is most excited about joining the Associate Board of ECF, to inspire the younger generation of the hospitality industry and to support the students to become more active in the community. In addition to supporting ECF, Malek, also volunteers his time by speaking against bullying, at schools across the Clark County School District.

Currently holding the title as Concierge Manager, Night Operations for Wynn | Encore, Malek, will also be expanding his knowledge and network this fall, by starting his MBA Program, at UNLV.

Karina Saucedo

Karina Saucedo

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2013
Major/Minor: Food & Beverage Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Jason Shkorupa
Fun Fact: Karina was an assistant manager at TAPS Sports Bar at MGM grand Hotel & Casino and is now currently attending the UNLV School of Law.

Vesna Boskovic

Vesna Boskovic

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2013
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: N/A
Fun Fact: Vesna earned a position at The Mirage Hotel & Casino after graduating from UNLV in 2013. She is active in the community and has volunteered at the Greek Church festival and Abandoned Children Foundation.

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer Lee

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2013
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Advanced Technologies Academy
Mentor: Adam Odegard & Christina Clifton
Fun Fact: Jennifer earned a position at Caesars Entertainment as a project assistant after graduation. She served as the vice president of the National Honor Society organization, secretary of R.E.S.P.E.C.T Club and was a member of Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America and the College Preparation Club while in high school. She is currently Director of Financial Planning and Analysis for New York-New York Hotel and Casino.

Nexie Hingpit

Nexie Hingpit

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2013
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management; Meetings & Events Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Rene Werner
Fun Fact: She is training for a certification in special events planning (CSEP) and certification in meeting planning (CMP). Nexie is the recipient of the Harrah’s Claudine & Williams Scholarship and the Las Vegas Strip Minority Scholarship. She is currently working as the Transportation Ambassador – Group Hotel Services, for Venetian/Palazzo.

Ciro Fodera

Chef de Cuisine, Capo Restaurant & Supper Club

Ciro attended Culinary Institute of America with the help of the ECF scholarship. He graduated as Valedictorian with his Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts Management in 2014. His mentor, ECF President Sean DiCicco he learned the importance of empathy and self-reflection.

Upon graduation from CIA, he went to work as a cook for the Taj Hotel of Boston as well as the Four Seasons. Ciro now works for Capo Restaurant and Supper Club in South Boston and was promoted at just 25 to Chef de Cuisine. Here he oversees a staff of 35 cooks. Ciro’s favorite thing to make is any pasta by hand.

Ciro joined ECF’s Associate Board in 2020 because he is passionate about mentorship and giving back to the next generation of culinary students. In his spare time, he is also an avid Dungeon and Dragons player.

Jordan Moore

Jordan Moore

Assistant to the Director at City of Las Vegas Department of Youth Development and Social Innovation

Jordan Moore is an alumna graduate of the Epicurean Charitable Foundation. After spending her undergraduate years in the hospitality industry and graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2014, she received an offer to work for the city of Las Vegas which has allowed her to fulfill her passion to serve her community. In this capacity Ms. Moore would be able to coordinate events for the City while fulfilling her passion to serve the community.

Jordan serves as the Assistant to the Director of the City of Las Vegas Department of Youth Development and Social Innovation established in January 2016 to formalize efforts around educational supports and community based problem solving.  Some of her more notable efforts accomplishments include leading efforts for winning the All- America City Award- a first for the State of Nevada, coordinating the October 1 Prayer Vigil with Vice President Mike Pence, serving as a founding board member for Mission High School (one of the nation’s only public recovery high schools) and working with many companies businesses on their corporate social responsibility efforts.

Jordan holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Hospitality Administration and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

Claudia Soler

Claudia Soler

The Venetian Resort & Casino

Claudia, an ECF graduate, completed her Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Administration, at UNLV, in 2014. During her time as an Epicurean Student, she was awarded the Food and Beverage Educational Experience hosted by Avero, New York City. She was accompanied by her Epicuren Mentor and fellow industry professionals. In addition to being a full time student at UNLV, Claudia worked at the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas and obtain an internship at the Ritz Carlton, ABAMA, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Upon graduating, Claudia took a short leave from the hospitality industry, as she consulted for retail management training. All came full circle for Claudia, as she connected with Mr. Kelly Jones, an Epicurean Board Member, and worked closely with Kelly, as his Executive Assistant and Project Director.

Claudia has since then returned to the hospitality industry, as she is now the Office Manager for Housekeeping Administration at The Venetian Resort. Claudia is extremely excited to continue her partnership with Epicurean Foundation and to give back to an organization that has supported her throughout the years.

Vildan Buric

Vildan Buric

Assistant Director of Food and Beverage at Green Valley Ranch Casino

As an ECF and Cum Laude Graduate from UNLV, Vildan has continuously achieved milestones, since his first ever Food and Beverage assignment. Currently, Assistant Director of Food and Beverage at Green Valley Ranch, Spa and Casino, Vildan has completed is a level one Sommelier and Cicerone Certifications. Vildan is true leader, that all of our current students can call a mentor.

Vildan is now giving back to the foundation, by serving as an Associate Alumnus Member.

Wendy Cooper

Wendy Cooper

Assistant Beverage Manager at The Mirage Resort

Wendy Cooper acquired her Bachelors of Science in Culinary Management from the Art Institute of Las Vegas. Wendy nurtured her passion for the culinary arts through working in numerous restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip during her undergraduate studies. Mrs. Cooper spent a year living abroad in Australia to cook full-time and cultivate her craft. Upon her early graduation in 2014, she transferred to front of the house operations at the Mirage Hotel and Casino to develop her knowledge and experience. During this time Wendy worked on number special projects and received employee of the month.

Since starting at the Mirage Resort, Wendy has been promoted to Assistant Beverage Manager. In this capacity she oversees the daily beverage operation, inventory and profit and lost statements. Wendy is a proud Epicurean Charitable Foundation Scholarship Alumna and in her free time enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and volunteering at the Animal Foundation.

Mercedes Sanchez

Mercedes Sanchez

Wedding and Social Sales Manager at Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos

Mercedes Sanchez is a proud alumna of the Epicurean Charitable Foundation, class of 2015. Mercedes obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Hospitality Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Upon graduation, she accepted a position with Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts. Her first role was as a Food and Beverage Manager in Training at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. After completing the MIT program, she transferred into catering sales at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, which is the only 5-star hotel in the Pacific Northwest. During her time in this role, Mercedes earned Top Catering Sales Performer for the Americas, for Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2019.

Mercedes is currently serving as Wedding and Social Sales Manager on the opening team for Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos, Costa Palmas, Mexico, opening in November 2019. Ms. Sanchez is honored to serve as inaugural associate board member and give back to the organization that provided her with a priceless opportunity.

Beatriz Portillo

Beatriz Portillo

College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2015
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Sean DiCicco
Fun Fact: Beatriz is currently a Front Desk Clerk for The Mirage. She was a recipient of the Station Casinos Scholarship.

Kim Zhou

Owner, Ni Hao Tea

Kim is an ECF graduate. She obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2015. Upon graduation, she became a financial analyst at Excalibur and later Park MGM in Las Vegas.

Born and raised in Sichuan, China, Kim moved to the United States when she was 16.

Kim founded her own boba tea company Ni Hao Tea, located in Tucson, AZ.

Alexandria Von Mohr

Attorney at Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC.

As an ECF student, Alexandria spent her undergraduate years at UNLV studying hospitality and working for established gaming companies in the Las Vegas Valley. During this time, she was exposed to the legal side of the hospitality industry, which inspired her to embark on her journey in the legal profession. After completing her hospitality degree summa cum laude, which was possible because of the support she received from ECF, she went on to attend law school at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV.

During law school Alexandria externed at the United States District Court and the Executive Office of Immigration Review, mediated cases in federal and family court, and volunteered at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. Graduating magna cum laude, she has since become a licensed attorney and practices in Howard & Howard Attorney PLLC’s Las Vegas office.

Alexandria currently lives in Las Vegas with her husband, a fellow hospitality graduate. They have each found that despite being in nontraditional hospitality industries, their hospitality experiences have proven to be invaluable. They have also found that they share a passion for traveling around Asia and frequenting Chinatown.

Aily Rodriguez

Aily Rodriguez

College/University: UNLV Class of 2017
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Tim Jorgensen
Fun Fact: Aily epitomized the role of student-athlete in high school, competing in both track and pole vaulting while displaying her talents at state-wide events on the Sky Pure Pole Vaulting Club. Aily is currently the Citywide Restaurant Group Sales Administrative Assistant at Caesars Palace.

Karen Giselle Nava

Karen Giselle Nava

The Venetian Resort & Casino

Karen Nava, an ECF alumnae herself, and originally from California, has used her past advertises to influence and support other young aspiring leaders. Since Freshman year of college, Karen has always been involved in organizations that support higher education and leadership. She has held multiple leadership roles such as President and Vice President of UNLV’s Chapter of National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) and has been awarded various honors, including Vegas Seven Magazine’s 1 out of 25 “Most Intriguing Person” in the Vegas Valley.

In addition to dedicating her time to organizations, Karen is also a Front Desk Agent at The Venetian | Palazzo.

Daniela Sanchez

Daniela Sanchez

College/University: UNLV Class of 2017
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Brent Cook, Travis Lunn, Kelley Jones
Fun Fact: Daniela is currently in the Event Services Management Development Program at Hilton in Indianapolis. She served as President of UNLV’s National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH), was a regular competitor in UNLV DECA and was a member of the American Hotel and Lodging Association which affiliates with the Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association-Women in Lodging. She volunteered her time with Opportunity Village and Created A Change Now and interned in Training and Development with Caesars Entertainment. Daniela has also completed two externships and one internship with Starwood Hotel and Resorts.

Andrea Rocca-Capano

Andrea Rocca Capano

The Palms

College/University: UNLV Class of 2017
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Valley High School
Mentor: Joe Romano
Fun Fact: Andrea is an active member of Alpha Delta Pi and volunteers her time with the Ronald McDonald House charities. She placed third in a collegiate competition for DECA and made the dean’s list throughout her freshman year.

I owe a lot of my career to Epicurean Charitable Foundation and to past mentors who opened doors for me early on in my career.

Melanie Saucedo

Melanie Saucedo

The Venetian Resort & Casino

College/University: UNLV Class of 2018
Major/Minor: Hotel Administration
High School: Northwest Career & Technical Academy
Mentor: Ken Johnson, Marisa Martino, Luiz Oliveira
Fun Fact: Melanie is a junior at UNLV that has maintained a 3.9 gpa and is in Honors College. She plans to focus her career in meeting and events on one of the Strip properties. Learning new languages is one of her interests and she is fluent in Spanish and French. She is currently an Analyst in the Revenue Management department at The Venetian.

Candace Kozell

College/University: UNLV Class of 2018
Major/Minor: Hotel Administration
High School: Southwest Career & Technical Academy
Mentor: Kelley Jones, Rene Werner, Mike Olsen
Fun Fact: Candace was a National Honor Society member since 2012 and was active with the state DECA program along with serving as a reporter for the Southwest Shadow, SWCTA’s broadcast network, in high school. She recently became ServSafe certified.

Mia Salomon

Mia Salomon

College/University: UNLV Class of 2019
Major/Minor: Hotel Management
High School:Southwest Career and Technical Academy
Mentor: Joseph Romano, Craig Gilbert, Ana Marie Mormando
Fun Fact: Mia is currently a front desk agent at Wynn | Encore

Ben Sison

Ben Sison

Food Server at Primarily Prime Rib, in the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

Ben Sison is an ECF alumni who graduated from UNLV with a degree in Hospitality Management in 2019. Benjamin is currently working as a Food Server at Primarily Prime Rib, a restaurant located within the South South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. He has been employed by the south point for about 4 years and has worked in a variety of different restaurants around the property.

Ben joined the ECF board because of their mentorship and impact they have in all aspects of college student’s lives, whether it be personal, professional or educational. “I want to help contribute to the life change ECF promotes and executes year after year. I have felt from first-hand experience how big of a role ECF plays in aspiring student’s lives, and I want to do anything I can to help progress and continue their amazing work.”

When not working at the South Point or volunteering in the community Ben, loves being involved with sports, his family and people!

Anna Tymoshevska

Anna Tymoshevska, originally from Ukraine, is an ECF graduate that completed her Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at UNLV in 2019. During her time as an Epicurean & UNLV student, she held various positions at The Venetian Resort. Anna started as a Front Desk Agent and after a year was promoted to a Group Hotel Services Ambassador. Upon completion of her BS degree, Anna joined SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand as a Hotel Operations Manager.

Anna is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Applied Economics and Data Intelligence and hopes to switch her focus to data analytics in the hospitality industry.

During her time with ECF, Anna had a number of strong, talented, and supportive mentors that guided her through her school & career paths. Anna is thrilled to continue being a part of Epicurean Charitable Foundation and to be able to influence our students’ lives just like hers was once influenced by ECF.

Jasmine Ramos

Jasmine Ramos

College/University: University of Nevada Las Vegas
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Southeast Career and Technical Academy
Mentor: Sean DiCicco
Fun Fact:Jasmine is a multi-talented student with a 3.81 GPA and ranks No. 89 out of 381 students at her school, where she is also plays softball, volleyball, and basketball. Jasmine volunteers in the SECTA Adler Room coffee shop and has participated in ProStart and SkillsUSA and is a SECTA Singer. Besides playing varsity in three sports and a high honor student, Jasmine will study hospitality management in the fall and hopes to one day own her own restaurant.

Maria Miranda

Supervisor at Violette Vegan, Las Vegas

Maria is an Epicurean Charitable Foundation alumnus who graduated in 3 years from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2019 with her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. While completing her degree Maria completed a culinary internship with the former Caesars Entertainment. Her love for the hospitality industry has always been around, but it flourished when she completed an internship in high school for the Golden Nugget Las Vegas.

Maria was recently promoted to supervisor at Violette’s Vegan Las Vegas. Maria is extremely passionate about the hospitality industry and is always eager to learn and grow, she is excited to see where her career will take her. In her down time Maria enjoys exploring new coffee shops and loves to paint.

Emily Hewitt

Corporate Chef for Culinary Development and Events, Chobani Greek Yogurt

Emily Hewett is the Corporate Chef for Culinary Development and Events for Chobani Greek Yogurt.

Emily graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2014 with her Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management. While attending Johnson & Wales University, she was a Culinary Teaching Assistant, Private Caterer, and had the opportunity to work at the Master’s Golf Tournament in Augusta.

While Chobani is based in NYC, Emily lives in Charlotte, NC and works remotely, traveling frequently to Chobani’s multiple offices, cafés, yogurt plants, and widespread events. In addition to traveling the country representing Chobani at culinary events and trade shows, she also works closely with the Chobani cafes. She has represented Chobani as a USA sponsor at the Rio Olympics developing recipes for athletes and sponsors; worked at large tradeshows such as National Restaurant Association; and works closely with Chobani’s digital platforms to develop recipes for their social media accounts, website, and brand partnerships.

Emily joined ECF to be able to donate her time in the form of mentorship, culinary demonstrations, and other sort of support for upcoming culinarians. She offers her experiences as an example of the non-traditional path of a chef and what it can offer.

In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, cooking, outdoor activities, dancing, and volunteering.

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