A simple Google search on hospitality management led Jagoda Mielcark to NYIT. Now she is a senior interning at the famed Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. She also recently found the courage, and the time, to organize a protest against the proposed Polish abortion laws that would have made it illegal for women to have an abortion under any circumstances. (The laws ultimately did not go into effect.) Approximately 50 people took part in the protest and Mielcarek’s efforts were reported on in Newsweek. Ultimately, she would like to pursue a career managing large-scale philanthropic events that support economic growth in developing countries. The Box sat down with her to learn more about her journey.
The Box: Before enrolling at NYIT, had you ever been in New York?
This is my first time in the U.S.! I moved to New York in 2014. I love this city and could not imagine living anywhere else now.
Is there anything you wish you knew on your first day of class at NYIT?
I was lucky in my first semester at NYIT. From the first day, I was taken under the wing of Associate Professor Robert J. Koenig, Ed.D., [chair of the Department of Hospitality Management] and his assistant Patthara Chandaragga, student advisement specialist at the School of Management. I cannot thank them enough for their guidance and inspiration to always do better.
What are you most excited about this semester?
My internship at the Waldorf Astoria New York. It has always been my dream to work for such a recognized property with years of history. It is crucial to understand what the expectations are and what skills are vital in working for a luxury property and for a company such as Hilton [the hotel’s parent company]. My core classes combined with those for my major make me aware of the standards and traits required to succeed after graduation. My favorite classes so far are Hospitality Law, Leadership & Employee Relations, and Service Excellence taught by Professor James Dunne. I would say these three classes have had the most impact on my professional endeavors.
What would you tell someone about NYIT who is considering coming to the school?
It is one of the few schools that will actually prepare you for a real career after graduation. The programs are structured to give real work experience through case studies and internships.
What would be your dream job after graduation?
After graduation I would like to work on global events, which would allow me to travel. I would love to explore the world and learn more about the cultures of different countries, which I haven’t had the opportunity to do yet. In the future, I hope to start my own nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting economic growth in developing countries.
You recently organized a protest against the new proposed Polish abortion laws. Why?
I think of myself as being shy, but in this case I saw how everyone around the world was organizing protests and there wasn’t one in New York. So I reached out to City Hall in order to plan the event. With everything that is happening all around the world I have become more and more sensitive to human rights being violated. This to me seems absurd since it would seem that our generation should have a better understanding of moral values and equality for all people. Unfortunately, it is not always the case. With that being said, seeing all the women in Poland organize to stand up for themselves—and with such a strong force that other people around the world showed their support, inspired and motivated me to become more involved.
This interview has been edited and condensed.