HRTM Senior Stands For Cheyney
January 31, 2014
Senior Aaron Yancey is a student leader who excels in and out of the classroom
Before going to college, Aaron Yancey considered himself to be very shy and quiet. Tall and composed, the Cheyney University senior now exudes an inner strength and self-discipline that belies his earlier self-image. The Hotel Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) major from the Atlanta, GA metropolitan area, was home-schooled in the 11th and 12th grades and, although he was nervous about going away to college, he had the grit to write the essays and apply to distant schools.
The exercise resulted in acceptances from University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morehouse, Johnson C. Smith, and Howard Universities. He chose CU because Cheyney officials continued to reach out to him. He recalls, “The people at Cheyney took the time to show me what the school had to offer. When I visited the campus, it felt warm and welcoming."
While Yancey admits he was shy at the beginning, he said, "I had always dreamed of being a sociable person who was looked up to. As a host for the Mr. and Miss Cheyney ceremony in 2012, I was able to build the confidence to run for positions on campus. I got my feet wet by attending a lot of student government meetings and was elected to the SGCA (Student Government Cooperative Association) board of directors for the 2013-14 academic year."
Yancey was also among the 18-person delegation attending the 24th annual National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) Conference & Career Fair at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida in December 2012. At that conference Yancey ran for President of the NSMH and walked away with the position of National Public Relations Director. In 2013 he was elected as Cheyney Chapter President of NSMH, was named Mr. Legend, and recently served as a student representative at the American Student Government Association (ASGA) Summit in Bethesda, MD.
He marvels, “The CU experience has had its ups and downs. I never dreamed I would be running an organization and I appreciate the opportunity. Cheyney is the foundation for what I have become. I have developed a network and gotten confidence that I never thought I would have had. It’s given me a foundation to build from,” Yancey acknowledges. A pivital moment for him came at Cheyney University's 175th Anniversary Gala at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. "I looked around at that huge room full of successful alumni and I knew that as a Cheyney alum, I could go anywhere.”
Over the summers, Yancey has had internships as assistant restaurant manager at private restaurants and has also learned what it’s like on the hotel side. One of his mantras is “a closed mouth won’t get fed.” Using that philosophy, he notes, “You have to find resources like internships. CU taught me to be self-motivated and do things for yourself. It helps that the professors have an open door policy and have been helpful to me.”
Yancey admits that he has been involved in a lot of activities at Cheyney. “I know that I am competent and professional. I do what I do for Cheyney, not for myself, to show people that it is possible. Cheyney has great people, great professors and opportunities. I feel obligated to be the ideal Cheyney man, the model student. Someday when I’m managing a Hilton hotel, I’ll be sending out a mark for Cheyney. I feel an obligation to CU to reach out to the community beyond campus, especially Philadelphia. You have to stand for something or fall for everything. I stand for Cheyney.”
Yancey plans to move straight into an MBA program after graduation in May 2014 and hopes to work at a hotel while in graduate school. He’d like to earn a PhD and teach at one of the HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).