DURHAM, N.H. – When Jaime Lopez moved to the United States from Mexico as a teenager and started high school, he excelled in math to compensate for his struggles with English. Now the U.S. Navy veteran is planning a career in the financial world of hospitality after discovering “a new world” as a University of New Hampshire hospitality management major.
“I have always liked numbers. I especially liked numbers back in high school because numbers are universal; they don’t speak a different language,” Lopez says.
“It was not until I took three specific courses at UNH that I discovered a new world … a world where numbers translated into whether strategic decisions made by a company would be profitable or not; whether the decisions were sound, relative not only to the economics but also the ethical, and legal aspects of an operation,” he says.
The first in his family to graduate from college, Lopez, of Exeter, is one of two hospitality management students from the University of New Hampshire who have been awarded scholarships from Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, the international professional association serving members working in hospitality.
Seniors Jaime Lopez and Julie Sharkey, of Beverly, Mass., have received the Frank B. Bearse Memorial Scholarship from Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals.
“On behalf of the HFTP New England Hotel Chapter, we are delighted to have the opportunity, through support of our local hospitality community, to offer the third annual Frank B. Bearse Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is our chapter’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to the devoted student chapters, who are well-represented at every monthly chapter meeting,” said Christopher Hague, financial analyst for Capital Hotel Management LLC and chapter president of the HFTP New England Hotel Chapter.
Both Lopez and Sharkey are planning careers in the financial and accounting side of the hospitality industry.
“When I first arrived at UNH, I did not know what area of hospitality my time at UNH would take me. The plethora of opportunities and disciplines before me was exciting yet overwhelming. Now, as a senior, it is clear that my true passion lies with accounting and finance. Ultimately, I would like to become a director of finance of a luxury hotel or the area director of finance for a large hotel chain,” Sharkey said.
Since 1952, HFTP has been dedicated to providing members with extraordinary networking opportunities, industry-leading certification programs and events, and essential resources for professional growth.
“These scholarships are great tribute to our two hospitality management seniors who have worked tirelessly to achieve their goals as students and are an indication of their commitment to the hospitality industry. Professor Hachemi Aliouche is to be credited with establishing our student chapter of the Hospitality Finance and Technology Professionals and advancing both Julie and Jaime’s names for consideration for the scholarship,” said Raymond Goodman, chair of the UNH Department of Hospitality Management.
The UNH Department of Hospitality Management combines business fundamentals as well as classes geared toward the service industry sector. Hands-on education proves to be a strong and integral part of the experiential and academic curriculum. The department also offers the first-ever EcoGastronomy Program, which integrates UNH’s strengths in sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition to offer a unique academic program emphasizing the interdisciplinary, international, and experiential knowledge that connects all three fields.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling more than 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.
From left to right: Students Julie Sharkey (left) and Jaime Lopez stand with their advisor, Hachemi Aliouche, associate professor of hospitality management, after receiving their scholarships.