The Culinary Institute of America

Ciana Patterson, CIA baking and pastry arts student, was the recipient of the Joseph and Anne McCann Scholarship, the Guest Services Endowed Scholarship, the Partridge-Invitation Endowed Scholarship and the CIA Faculty/ Staff Endowed Scholarship.

Spotlight On: Ciana Anais PattersonBachelor's Degree, Baking & Pastry Arts Management '11

Class of 2011
"If not for the CIA scholarship program, I wouldn’t have finished my associate degree, let alone be pursuing my bachelor’s degree."

The Beginning

Technically, I shouldn’t be here. Immediately after a complicated birth, I was placed on a respirator. The doctors told my mother that I wouldn’t  make it through  the night. Mom prayed and the next morning was told that even though I had turned a corner, if I ever came off the respirator, I’d have diminished mental  capabilities, limited  mobility, and serious health  problems. A month later I was beating their predictions to begin a normal, healthy childhood.

Mom sometimes worked three jobs to make ends meet. I wanted to help her so I started cooking by mastering the microwave. I quickly worked my way up to bigger and better things. After three years of undergraduate studies at Texas A&M, with my eye on Harvard Law School, I realized that it was baking that brought me the greatest joy. I had wanted to go to the best law school but found my true calling was at the best culinary college.

College Highlights

In addition to the incredible education I’ve received, I truly enjoy the campus community at the CIA. I’m a member of the Culinary Christian Fellowship and the Black Culinary Society, and serve as chapter president of the Eta Sigma Delta honor society. I derive satisfaction from the charity events we sponsor including: Coats for Coffee—collecting winter  clothing for those in need; Giving Tree— providing holiday gifts for children living in shelters; and Casino Night—raising funds for Astor House Shelter for abused women and children. The way I see it, I’m blessed. Through others’ generosity,

I was able to go to Texas A&M and to the CIA. Now I seek out opportunities to help others and to give back.

Outside Interest/Hobbies

As a young child, I was on soccer teams. Even now, I still enjoy soccer and basketball. I work out and exercise up to two hours every day. It’s an investment in myself because I know that the stronger and healthier I am, the more focused I can be at work.

Hopes for the Future

I’m getting married after graduation! We’ll be living in Las Vegas and working at a hotel. I don’t want to be the next Duff, but I admire how he’s helped elevate cakes to an art form. I want to make beautiful cakes for weddings and special occasions and make people happy.

The Impact

A week before I concluded externship, I fell asleep while driving home from visiting my mother. I was extracted from the wreckage with the “jaws-of-life”—once again beating the odds and surviving. The medical bills from the accident wiped me out; all my savings for school were gone. If not for the CIA scholarship program, I wouldn’t have finished my associate degree, let alone be pursuing my bachelor’s degree.

The Culinary Institute of America

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