August 13, 2012
In some ways, Kristin Decker ’12CPS feels like she never left
This personable young alumna graduated in May 2012 and
immediately transitioned into a full-time position at the Hilton
Garden Inn in Staten Island, a renowned hotel owned by alumni
Richard Nicotra ’76NDC, ’86HON and his wife, Lois (Malko) Nicotra
’77NDC, ’83GEd. Many St. John’s alumni work at the Hilton Garden
Inn, and Decker, who had begun interning there in December 2010,
fell in love with its family atmosphere.
“The Hilton reminds me a lot of the Staten Island campus of St.
John’s,” Decker explained. “You can develop close friendships very
easily. To know that the Nicotras themselves went to St. John’s and
that we share a similar background is really interesting. They know
firsthand how hard I’ve worked and I feel like I can easily
identify with them.”
Decker works as Sales Coordinator, a position that requires her to
work with various departments within the hotel. Whether she’s
planning events, taking inquiries for weddings or simply
coordinating communications between different offices, she’s
constantly busy – and she loves every minute of it.
“Being a Communication Arts major, I learned a wide range of skills
at St. John’s that have really helped me out,” she noted. “Working
in hospitality now, I’m doing all different types of communications
that I didn’t necessarily expect to be doing. But I can confidently
say that my classes prepared me for anything.”
A sorority sister and a member of the Communications Honor Society,
Decker was an active student and made the most of her opportunities
at St. John’s. She also studied abroad in Paris and engaged in
service opportunities whenever she could.
“All of those extracurricular activities shaped who I am, helped me
develop confidence and allowed me to hone particular skills,” she
noted. “I also took advantage of internships that I landed through
St. John’s, like with the Hilton Garden Inn. Those are extremely
important because you can gain a wide variety of knowledge that
simply can’t get in the classroom. It lets you test out different
professions without being tied down.”
Decker is living proof that hard work and determination can go a
long way. Having a job lined up immediately after graduation is
somewhat of a rarity in today’s economy, but she believes that her
story is the norm – not the exception – for St. John’s graduates.
Decker recommends that today’s students stay confident and be
willing to try new things to advance their careers.
“Trust me: you don’t need to have your whole life mapped out,” she
explained. “A lot of students tell me that they feel pressured to
have a rigid plan, but I don’t think they should worry about that.
I never thought I’d be working in hospitality, but things just
worked out this way, and I love it. So if you keep an open mind and
remain confident in your St. John’s education, I know for a fact
that good things will happen.”