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New Mexico State University

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Artesia Native Does More Than Term Papers at NMSU

Most people see college as traditional classrooms with lectures, term papers, computers and books. For 25-year-old Vanessa Orosco, of Artesia, serving the university president dinner and working at Disney World is a big part of her education.


Orosco is a senior majoring in hospitality and tourism services (HTS), one of the most popular majors at New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences .

Hospitality and tourism services prepares students to manage restaurants, hotels and resorts. Students can specialize in food and beverage operations, tourism services, hotel/resort operations, or convention, meetings and special event administration.

Orosco originally took courses in the education college, but when she needed extra credits she took an HTS class and loved it. After her first year in the program, Orosco worked at Disney World's Epcott Center as a ticket hostess for the summer.

She said the best part of her job was getting to meet people from different cultures. "Now I can say I have friends all over the world," Orosco said.

Orosco is one of 14 students taking an advanced restaurant operations class this spring semester. The class gives students hands on experience planning and conducting banquets, said Michael MacHatton, HTS professor. "Students need management and practice pulling together theory and experience," he said.

Orosco said the class is very demanding and people don't realize the students do more than just cook. Orosco and her team of three are planning a banquet for NMSU students who have had a 4.0 grade point average for three continuous semesters.

"Since it is a university-wide event, the president had to approve of all our ideas," Orosco said. She also said the team is more nervous than usual because NMSU's new president and most of the top administration, as well as 200 students will be attending the buffet-style banquet.

Jerked chicken, stewed okra, planters cake with mocha cream and pineapple drink are just a few of the items that will be served at the dinner, which boasts a Caribbean theme.

Orosco said the team has been working diligently for the last four weeks to get the decorations, entertainment, menu and work crew organized. They even have to pick out and order linens for the tables.

"The class puts all the responsibilities of running a restaurant together, including time crunches and team work," Orosco said.

After the dinner, the team must write a paper, which includes all of the recipes used, the menu, work schedule and a description of everything that happened--good and bad--at the dinner, Orosco said.

Orosco is a part-time student at NMSU and works full-time as a commercial teller at First National Bank in Las Cruces. She also coaches T-ball for the First National Bank Sunburners. Orosco will graduate in December 1995. She is the daughter of Rosemary Barrera and Alonzo Orosco of Artesia.