Stories from the Class of 2023: ‘Walk away with an experience’

Photo of woman in cap and gown
Ericka Mooday

Ericka Moody, who grew up in Lyons, graduated on May 20 with a degree in hospitality and tourism management, specializing in the food and beverage area.

A 2021 graduate of Lyons Central School, she had an opportunity meet with college President Robert Nye, while participating in Dinner at Julia later that year.

Dinner at Julia is an opportunity for hospitality students to get real-world experience right on campus. The college converts a room in the Student Center to a restaurant open to the public several Fridays during the semester.

“After experiencing my work, and getting to learn about each other, Dr. Nye told me if I needed help getting on the right path in the hospitality world, to reach out,” Ericka began.

“March then came around, and I had been struggling to find my sense of place in the hospitality world, so I emailed him. I asked him simply just to be a person I could put as a reference on my resume. I asked to meet with him to prove how determined I was.”

Ericka and the president talked about her goal of working for a while at the Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center and eventually becoming an event producer.

“He wrote me a letter of recommendation, and graciously took it a step further and reached out to the hospitality manager on my behalf,” she said, adding that she was hired as a VIP concierge for the concert venue.

“My time at Finger Lakes was uplifting. I walked in only to gain a degree but walked out with new experiences, new memories, and new friends,” Ericka added. “My experience here was like a movie with twists, turns, loss, and gains and an ending with a warm feeling that life only gives to when you close a door and start walking to the next.

“My advice to incoming Laker is: Do not just come to campus, be a part of campus and its community. Join a sport, club, or even join in on weekly Laker activities. Walk away with an experience, not just a diploma.”

Author: Lenore Friend

Lenore Friend is the director of public relations and communications at FLCC and the college's liaison with Finger Lakes TV. Contact her at (585) 785-1623 or

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