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Like most students, Kelly Cusick ’06 (Scarsdale, N.Y.) had many questions about what it would be like to work in her chosen field.

She learned the answers through a summer internship at the Radnor Hotel in St. Davids, Pa. Lou Prevost ’71, vice president and general manager of the Radnor, gave Cusick this valuable experience in marketing and event planning.

“With the Radnor, I had the benefit of being able to see the different aspects of sales, marketing, and bridal planning,” she says. “Since I don’t have a marketing major, I am getting the opportunity to learn these things first-hand, and I think it’s better to learn in the real world anyway.”

Cusick, a religious studies major, learned a great deal from the experience and impressed her supervisor. Prevost notes that she rose to meet challenges and exceeded expectations.

Her responsibilities included coordinating sales, assisting in the Radnor’s bi-annual bridal show by contacting and following up with more than 100 vendors, surveying the Radnor’s corporate events competitors, and creating a presentation on their services. She was even a “secret shopper,” obtaining in-depth knowledge on how neighboring institutions plan and manage wedding ceremonies and receptions.

“Kelly has done a great job of representing the hotel, representing herself, getting past the gatekeeper of information at other institutions, and closing the deal,” Prevost says. “When Kelly first contacted us, we asked her if she wanted to work in operations, sales, or another department and she knew immediately what she wanted. We did not expect her to have this level of self-confidence. In the past, some people would say, ‘I don’t know where this is’ or ‘I don’t know where to park,’ but Kelly just found it for herself.”

Cusick created databases to outline hotel functions, and the Radnor plans to use them on a permanent basis. Her favorite part of the job was meeting with brides before their weddings to review ceremony and reception details.

“I like the idea of helping to make a couple’s wedding day perfect and everything they ever dreamed,” she explains. “It’s like making a dream come true and being able to tell them nothing is out of reach.”

Prevost’s managers agreed that Cusick’s job performance was equal to that of seasoned professionals, but she believes she simply did what was asked of her.

“I just did what I was supposed to do,” she says. “I really like showing people what I’ve been doing when I’m finished. I think that what I produce should look clean and crisp and professional. I know that whatever I’m doing is going to be used in the future by someone and I want it to be useful to them. I would not want to have the job and not help someone.”

Prevost is glad he was able to give Cusick in-depth experience with the hospitality industry at such a young age.

“I always enjoy giving someone advice on their career path,” he says. “In this industry, it’s easy to see if someone enjoys it, and Kelly clearly does.”

Cusick is pleased with the experience and found it “incredibly helpful” in defining her post-graduation career goals. She also appreciated being included as a member of a professional team.

“I think I’ve definitely found out what about the hospitality industry is interesting to me and what is not,” she says. “This reaffirmed what I thought – that I would like to be either a wedding coordinator or an event planner. At the Radnor, I got a lot of experience, but never once could I say I was treated as an intern.”

This year, Cusick received the Reverend J. W. and R. S. Porter Bible Prize, awarded at the annual Honors Convocation for outstanding proficiency in the study of religion based on work done in the student’s first and second years. She is a 2002 graduate of the Ursuline School.

Categorized in: Academic News