Boilers & Beyond – Samantha Liu

Sam is one of the first Brand Ambassadors for Purdue Dining & Culinary who actually started the series “Boilers of Dining” that has extended to “Boilers & Beyond” as well. She has since graduated and left us, but she is still up to amazing things so keep reading!

Hi Sam! To start, can you tell us where home is for you right now?

I am a Cali native, originally from SoCal, but I am now in the bay area.  

You must be experiencing much better weather than we are here! What did you major in while you were at Purdue? 

As a freshman, I wanted to major in a lot of areas as I tried to figure out what to do. I wanted to study Film, Theatre, Photography, but I decided to apply for Hospitality instead, a major Purdue is known for. I graduated in 2018 with a minor in Art & Design as well.

What lead you to choose to study at Purdue? 

I was inspired by a friend to leave California for the Midwest to experience a different part of the country. With that in mind, I applied to multiple schools and I chose Purdue in the end.

That must have been a big change for you! Why did you decide to become a Brand Ambassador for dining then?

I wanted a job to give me a creative outlet, but still be impactful and make people feel valued. I had tried to apply for a position for the Life at Purdue page and as a Career Center Ambassador to make a cultural difference on campus, but did not get hired on. As I continued looking, the position of being a Brand Ambassador for Dining popped up so I applied, a wonderful lady named Amanda emailed me back to schedule an interview, and I later got the job! It was the first time I thought I was doing the closet thing I wanted to do. I wanted to inspire people across campus through dining as food a gateway to culture and from the inspirational staff

Can you tell us your most memorable experience as a Brand Ambassador?

I was the person that would go to Amanda with these crazy ideas and she would just say “Okay, go try it”. For my last project I wanted to make a video on making a recipe. I worked on it for hours from shooting it, editing, etc. I presented it to Amanda and she rejected it because it didn’t fit our theme. I was bummed, but looking back I had a lot of fun and I don’t regret it or felt bad since I believed in the project and I had a good time making it.

What about the most memorable experience from your time at Purdue?

In HTM we had a program partnering with luxury hotels in China. I went to Nanjing for 6 months as part of a study abroad/internship program with Fairmont Hotel & Resorts. It was a good experience and I am grateful it was my first internship as a working adult. I felt my time in the program was more beneficial compared to others because I had a good idea of what it would take for me to be an actual employee and I knew the language so it just worked out better.  

That sounds like an amazing opportunity! Can you tell us what you have been up to since graduation?

Since graduation, I have continued to work in luxury hotels for two years managing different teams as a Rooms Division Assistant Manager. However, you guys caught me in a time where I am starting a new job in a new industry and going back to school. 

Where are you going to graduate school?

I am getting my Master’s in HR at Pepperdine University in Southern California. Currently I am completing everything online due to the pandemic.

Did working in dining impacted your decision on choosing a career and to attend graduate school?

PD&C is where I got my feet wet and wrapped my head around the fact that mission statements matter. The motto “to nourish and inspire the Purdue community” is one I fully believe in and was proud to see others believe in too. I told myself whatever career field I took on I need to believe their mantra because if I don’t then I won’t be passionate. Through this position I learned to speak up and share my ideas as Amanda really pushed me to try out new things since we were just starting as an organization. Even if your ideas get rejected, you have to keep try and this really shaped my leadership style. 

Shifting gears, have you taken up any interesting hobbies or activities since the pandemic began?

I did start reading more and started a podcast. The podcast is called “Isosofriends”. I wanted to create a podcast for a long time but I didn’t know how or what topics to take on so I just decided to try it and dedicate it to my friends. They can listen and get to know each other so those that haven’t met yet can learn about each other. No one can travel much or gather so I felt this was a good way for them to connect, engage, and for me to facilitate that. 

That sounds so amazing! We definitely need to check it out. Now Sam, do you have any favorite snacks that you have to grab when going to the grocery store?

I am a HUGE snacker! I love the snacks from Trader Joe’s, they’re awesome, but it can be anywhere. I like mango slices, plantain chips, hummus, salsa, guacamole, citrus fruits, a lot of Korean snacks and ice cream. I really have to control myself so I like going for healthier snacks to not feel bad.

That is very admirable for you to do! Some snacks are just too delicious to not eat. So you told us you have traveled to China, what would you say is the favorite place you’ve traveled too?

This sounds basic, but London. I liked London because it felt like the cool older sister that you really want to know or the cool girl at school that’s always up to something new that you want to keep up with. I also love Lake Tahoe as  I grew up skating and the snow is so calming.

You’ll have to take us sometime. To end, can you tell us what your future plans are? The Next Giant Leap as Purdue would say.

I don’t know what I will be or where in the next few years, but I just hope I am in a place to better guide my team and to be a better team player. In 14 months I will be done with my master’s program, but I don’t want to stop learning how to be efficient, how to stay passionate, and how to better lead a team. 

We wish you the best of luck Sam! Thank you for talking to us and leaving such a great legacy for Brand Ambassadors in Purdue Dining & Culinary.

We hope you’ve all had a wonderful week Boilermakers! Make sure to stay in or bundle up extra this weekend as the temperature takes a dive. Keep an eye out on our Instagram next week as we have a surprise planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day!


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