School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Nicolette Young

Nicolette Young

Food Innovation Program Coordinator
Venture for America Fellow

Current Job & Responsibilities:
After graduating from NMSU, I began a postgrad fellowship program called Venture for America which pairs recent graduates with jobs that allow them to have an impact on local startup scenes and local economic development initiatives in 13 cities across the United States. This fellowship was created to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and bring talent to cities with high growth potential.

Because of Venture for America, I have moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to help build a Restaurant Accelerator program: Findlay Launch. In my role as the Food Innovation Program Coordinator, I organize the curriculum for food entrepreneurs who will test their restaurant concepts in one of three Findlay Launch Accelerator Store Fronts. It's an exciting development to be a part of from the early stages and it's aligned with my interest in the Hospitality industry as well as my interests in economic development.

Nicolette at Findlay Launch

What I Learned From the HRTM Program:
The most valuable aspect of the HRTM program are the many hands-on courses. I often think about 100 West Café student-led restaurant when I plan programming for Findlay Launch. I feel privileged to have been able to take courses and gain experience at the same time.

In general, the College of ACES gave me a greater appreciation for the entire journey from farm to table which is very valuable when working with food entrepreneurs.

What I Most Enjoy About My Career:
What I most enjoy about my career is being a part of the creation of an impactful program. Findlay Launch is a Storefront Accelerator, located in the Findlay Market District of Cincinnati, Ohio. This residency-based program allows early-stage food-related businesses crucial mentorship, industry education, and a minimum of nine months in an open, operating storefront. With an intentional focus on supporting minority, women and immigrant-owned businesses, Findlay Launch aims to build equity and inclusivity in the food industry by launching diverse, supported, and vetted food businesses.

Nicolette eating pasta

Joining the Venture for America fellowship after graduating has completely changed the course of my career and the opportunities that now lie ahead of me. I have always dreamed about ways I can combine my love for hospitality and my love for entrepreneurship and Venture for America helped me combine those two passions and find an opportunity where I could thrive. After graduating, I knew that a "corporate" path was not the right fit for me and I love to remind other people that there are other opportunities out there, sometimes you just have to think outside the box... or create them yourself.