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The Big Dish awards $25,000 in scholarships

Kam King
April 13, 2016

Hospitality management partners make student scholarships possible

By generating nearly $1.5 trillion each year, the hospitality and tourism industry has shown the nation that it’s booming. The College of Education and Human Ecology’s annual Big Dish fundraiser ensures that our college develops the next generation of hospitality management leaders.

Unlike similar events, the Big Dish allows students to completely run the show.

This year, 200 Hospitality Management students were tasked with planning an event for nearly 600 of central Ohio’s industry trailblazers, including representatives from more than 100 hospitality management companies.

Victoria Figliomeni Victoria Figliomeni


"The planning process was intense," said Victoria Figliomeni, a senior majoring in hospitality management. "It was so satisfying to see it all come together on the night of the event and see how all of those months of planning had paid off."

Figliomeni serves as the president of the Hospitality Management Association, which provides hospitality management students with professional development opportunities. After graduating this spring, she will serve as the catering coordinator at the Ohio State Faculty Club. 

photo of person Frank Chen


"The most satisfying aspect was the collaboration between students and professionals," said Frank Chen, a fourth year hospitality management student who will graduate this spring. "The interaction and growth this process generated were absolutely invaluable for both our future development as students and this program's potential."

From the networking reception to the plated dinner and silent auction, the college's hospitality management students gained invaluable hands-on experience at the Big Dish, which positions them for future success.

“Once again, the Big Dish hit a high note for the year in our hospitality management program," said Cheryl Achterberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Ecology. "It was a thrill to see this student-driven event come together and a joy to be able to award so many scholarships. On top of that, it was just plain fun.”

Following the program held on April 7, the Hospitality Management Advisory Board, led by Anne Turpin, Human Sciences, and Melissa Johnson, director of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, awarded $25,000 in scholarship funding to outstanding students. Donations from generous sponsors in the hospitality industry made this support possible.

Figliomeni and 13 other standout hospitality management students received scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000. Brandon Posk will be using his scholarship to pay for his final year of classes. "I am currently an associate at Cameron Mitchell Premier Events," said Posk, a junior who leads the Hospitality Management Association as a public relations officer. "One day, I would like to be involved in planning large events such as the Super Bowl." 

The students chose Cameron Mitchell, CEO and founder of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, to lead the event as the honorary grand marshal. Brian Ross, who serves as the CEO and president of Experience Columbus, served as the event's keynote speaker. Connected to the event as an alumnus, Ross is a 1990 graduate of the EHE’s hospitality management program.

"The 2016 Big Dish was truly an exceptional showing of teamwork, partnership and talents," said Chen, who wants to enter into hotel operations and management advisory for hotel properties after graduation.

"With the help from the industry, the HM Advisory Board and the college, our student planning committee had the opportunity to constantly challenge ourselves and represent our program in a remarkable and memorable way."

The individuals in the photograph above are (from left to right, back row): Becca Neff, David Miller, Melissa Johnson, Doug Fahrenholz, Janel Hosbach, Kim Bartley, Ariel Duffey, Greg Ubert and Zach Clapper. Front row: Jake Dastrup, Kyleigh Furlong, Frank Chen, Zabetina Soulas, Victoria Figliomeni, Taylor Blatt, Brandon Posk, Jennifer Walters and Dean Cheryl Achterberg.

The Ohio State University offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in hospitality management. To learn more about the program, visit

The dining room at the fifth annual Big Dish fundraiser event, hosted at the Schottenstein Center. The dining room at the fifth annual Big Dish fundraiser event, hosted at the Schottenstein Center.




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