The new girl

First post with The Dish. Hello out there! I'm Dawn from Orlando.

Eighteen-ish years after graduating from college with a degree in graphic design, I decided to go back to school for a second degree in culinary arts. I'm currently a marketing manager with Disney and attending culinary school part time at Valencia, just finishing up my first semester.

I sometimes feel a little er, um hesitant about telling fellow colleagues I'm attending a community college, as some might argue I could never receive the same knowledge and discipline that a culinary academy would provide. But I have to give Valencia props for their small but mighty program - it's been pretty amazing so far. I'm learning from some of the best chefs in the area, it’s extremely affordable, and the program fit my schedule.

So far, I've made it through the first semester with straight A's...or, at least I think so. Final exams are next week for prerequisites, and I finally start cooking during summer session in May, when I will become very intimate with chicken (or so I’ve been told).

In addition to work and school, I'm also a food writer and competitive cook.

If you'll be in the Orlando area on April 26th, come on out to the Crisco National Pie Championships in Celebration, FL – I'll be competing in the professional division for, gulp, $5,000. Normally, I would have entered in the amateur category, but because of culinary school, I had to enter in the professional category...and I'm by no means a professional at this point. Should be interesting...come out and watch the chaos!

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Online Courses
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
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            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Good for Working Adults
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            3 Program(s) Found
            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
            • Involved with many community service organizations, including the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB), March of Dimes, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Accredited
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            4 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Chattanooga
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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