A future chef continues her culinary education thanks to a helpful scholarship

Today, a college education doesn’t come cheap—just ask a student—and for those who have started a family before their dream career, the financial burden can be even heavier.

Julianne Parkis knows that just as well as anyone. As a full-time mother of two and a student at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Hyde Park (N.Y.) campus, pursuing her goal of working in the culinary arts hasn’t been easy, thanks to time demands and a tight budget.

Parkis, however, has the determination to finish her degree, which shows in her classroom work, externship and scholarship applications, including the Certified Angus Beef LLC endowed scholarship awarded to one CIA student each year.

Those who apply must be enrolled as a second-year student, have documented financial need, achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and provide a statement of long- and short-term goals. Applicants must also submit a two-part essay focused on beef, specifically, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand and its role in the culinary world.

In 2018, Parkis was the much-deserved recipient of said scholarship.

“This scholarship from the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is so meaningful to me, because it not only lifts some of my financial burden, but it also gives me a chance to enjoy more moments with my family,” Parkis said in a letter to the brand. “When it comes to financing this dream of mine, every little bit helps.”

Mary McMillen, the brand’s leader in strategic partnerships and key culinary school contact, received the letter from Parkis, and explained that the brand wants to help every part of the beef community—from the next generation of ranchers to the up-and-coming chefs.

“We want to support culinary education,” McMillen said, adding that the scholarship idea came about in 2015 for both CIA and Johnson & Wales.

The Johnson & Wales scholarship rotates around its four campuses each year, but a deserving culinary student needing financial assistance receives it. McMillen shared that she also helps organize presentations and beef education opportunities at the universities.

In February, members of the Yon family, of Yon Family Farms in Ridge Spring, S.C., will visit with 200 Johnson & Wales students and instructors about their role in raising cattle and providing beef to people’s kitchens.

If a student can’t make it to the farm to see where the food they cook is raised, then the farmers are brought to them to share this story. For students like Parkis, these opportunities play a big role in their future endeavors.

“I have many career goals, but eventually, I would like to have a teaching kitchen on a farm, where I can teach guests of all ages the importance of the farm,” Parkis shared. “I really want to get people excited about taking care of themselves and the earth.”