Major: Baking and Pastry Arts
Cheryl Mayer fell into the culinary field.
“One day my daughter asked me to make cake pops for her – they were very trendy at the time – and I found all of the recipes tasted pretty much the same,” she said. “I started experimenting with flavors because I wanted mine to be the best. Going forward, I knew I wanted to do more.”
She turned to College of DuPage, which was an affordable option at an ideal location, plus classes fit well into her schedule. Returning to school also provided a unique challenge.
“I am the first person in my immediate family to attend college and it’s been a journey,” she said. “In addition to returning to school, I lost my father-in-law, my father, and our first grandchild was born. Life is all about ebb and flow and you just have to keep moving forward.”
Helping Mayer to move toward her goals was the College of DuPage Foundation, through which she applied for and received a multitude of scholarship: the Danny Young Memorial Scholarship, Foundation Textbook Scholarship, Foundation Returning Adult Scholarship, George Macht Scholarship and James C. Kohler Memorial Scholarship.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have been awarded these scholarships because it allowed me to focus on my studies by relieving some of the financial burden. We are now a one-income family and my husband is also in school full-time.”
Mayer graduated with high honors in 2016 and earned her associate’s degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. Although she currently works in an office, she also is pursuing her love of decorating cookies. She became a Sugar Angel for the Icing Smiles Cookie Club and collaborated with a group of women this past spring on cookies with a spring/Easter theme, raising $400 for Ronald McDonald House.
Her Facebook blog is SweetMaykers and she posts photos of her work on her Instagram account. Mayer is now writing a business plan and continues to take baking classes geared toward specific techniques.
Because of her positive experience at College of DuPage, Mayer strongly recommends that other students consider COD and its exemplary Culinary Arts program.
“Take a tour of the Culinary and Hospitality Center because COD has an amazing facility!” she said. “Students bake for the market as well as dinner service, and it’s my personal belief that it gave me direct motivation. I want to create exceptional products for our clients, making them say, ‘Wow! A student created this?’
“My final GPA was a 3.7. Although I worked very hard, I feel indebted to the professors, chefs and the Foundation, because their dedication helped me get to where I am now.”