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Degree For Life: UVU’s Hospitality Management program made this student feel right at home

By Kadee Jones utah Valley University - | Apr 10, 2021

Angie Milbourn is a single mother of three children. She’s been working toward a college degree since she graduated from high school. It’s been a challenging and convoluted journey to UVU’s new Hospitality Management program, but it also has been rewarding and successful.

Her journey started at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), where she received an associate degree in general studies. She considered studying culinary arts and nutrition, but she decided they weren’t the right fit.

“I started to think about what I wanted to do,” Milbourn says. “I realized that I really like people and events. Hospitality management seemed like a good choice to me, and I shifted gears.”

She compared hospitality management programs at universities across the state. Milbourn discovered UVU’s online program was not only the least expensive option but also ranked as one of the best in the state and offered a plethora of helpful programs for nontraditional students.

With her newfound knowledge in hand, Milbourn visited UVU’s campus in person and stopped by the Women’s Success Center to learn about the available resources. A conversation with a success coach confirmed her likes and interests, as the coach quickly steered her toward UVU’s Hospitality Management program. Milbourn was accepted into the program in the fall of 2018.

Milbourn says she was pleasantly surprised when she started the Hospitality Management program, citing the industry professionals within the program who gave valuable insights that became a pinnacle of her degree.

“The industry professionals bring in such a unique perspective,” she says. “From restaurants to hotels to management, there are so many skills I have gained from the program.”

Even now, as she is looking for jobs in hospitality management, Milbourn is grateful for her hands-on education at UVU.

She says, “The practical education I gained is having a huge impact on my life. The content within the program actually translates into what you do in the workforce, and going to UVU has been a major attractor to employers because they know I have the skills and experience needed to be successful.”

Milbourn’s classes were just part of her positive experience at UVU. In her role as a nontraditional student, Milbourn served on the student council, where she gave feedback on how the university could create a more inclusive experience for nontraditional students in the future.

She also visited the Women’s Success Center regularly and met with Holly, her development coach. In her final semester, Milbourn was awarded a much-appreciated scholarship to complete her degree.

“As a single parent and woman entering into the workforce, it’s nice to know that there are people who can give guidance and are cheering for you, and that is always what I found in the Women’s Success Center.”

Milbourn is preparing to walk the stage at UVU’s drive-thru graduation ceremony in May, and she plans to put her degree to good use by owning an event venue in the future. To pay forward the support she received, Milbourn says she wants to create a fund that will support single parents just like her.

“UVU has done a good job of helping nontraditional students in the balancing aspect. I’ve had some great professors who are willing to work with my schedule and help me balance my life better. I am so grateful for that!”

Milbourn’s 20-year journey to get a degree is coming to an end. Although it was hard at times, Milbourn now knows she can do hard things, a lesson she hopes to pass on to her children. She says, “Being a single parent was not the path I saw my life going down, but knowing I accomplished something hard and that I can support and sustain myself is the biggest reward. I can instill in my own children the value of education and that we can always do hard things.”

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