Rodney Harvey, CIA Associate Degree in Culinary Arts student and veteran.

Veteran Bio: Rodney Harvey

Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
Hometown: Biloxi, MS
Military Branch: U.S. Army
“If you are driven, competitive, passionate, and a team player, then the CIA is the place for you.”

How did you become interested in your major?
I became interested in the American Food Studies: Farm-to-Table Cooking program after spending a year volunteering on Shambala farms located in Camano Island, WA. As a result of this experience, I intend to support local farmers and the local economy in which I live, both personally and professionally, by using only fresh farm ingredients.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue this career?
Before joining the Army, I was a troubled college drop-out just trying to fit in and find my niche. Many people told me that I would never be able to get to the place where I am now. That only motivated me to prove them wrong and surpass my own expectations. Now that I am a fourth semester student, at the prestigious college, that I worked 10 years towards attending, I can look back and feel proud of my accomplishments.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
Yes. Financially, I couldn’t afford to attend the CIA right after I graduated from high school. The Army gave me the opportunity to use the GI Bill to pursue my culinary career goals.

Why did you choose the CIA?
One of the main reasons that I chose the CIA was because I am from a family of veterans and the CIA was founded specifically to provide culinary training to returning WWII veterans. It is also world-renowned for its educational programs. I was also intrigued by that fact that Cat Cora is a CIA graduate. We both attended the University of Southern Mississippi and she has a very successful career. That inspired me to apply. I figured if she took the chance and made it, I could as well.

What do you like best about the CIA?
My chef instructors. On those days, when I feel like I’m not as good as other students, my chef instructors remind me that no one is perfect and this the place where you learn and make mistakes. I think sometimes, I’m my own worst enemy!

What is/are the best lesson(s) you’ve learned while at the CIA or what advice would you give to new students?
I would advise new students to not to be afraid of approaching your instructors or faculty members. They are here to help and guide you whether you have a career path question or interest in a specific cuisine. Your success is their success.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
Yes, the Brew Club.

What are your career goals or plans right after graduation?
I would like to go to the Pacific Northwest and work in some breweries or bars. My long term goal, within the next six years, would be to become a Master Brewer and eventually pursue my own venture.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering attending the CIA?
My advice would be if you’re serious about this career field, then come to the CIA and experience it for yourself. Be sure to do your research and look at other colleges. Personally, I love it here and the program is a great fit for me, but this industry is not for everyone. If you are driven, competitive, passionate, and a team player, then the CIA is the place for you.

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The Culinary Institute of America
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