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Published 12/8/2003
Giving Back: Owens Student Builds Community Support

Magaly Vasquez-Serrano For Magaly Vasquez-Serrano of Toledo, the idea of serving piping, hot java over stimulating conversations in a quaint coffee shop has always been a dream. She even has a creative name for her business venture - Café y Algo Más (in English translates to Coffee and More).

Transforming the vivid image in her mind into a coffee house work of art has brought the Ecuadorian native to Toledo and Owens Community College.

"I envision my future coffee house to be a place where everyone feels welcome and can enjoy the wide selection of specialty drinks, sandwiches and rolls," said Vasquez-Serrano, a sophomore at the College.

Already holding a bachelor's degree in business management from Catholic University in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the quiet, ambitious Hospitality Management Major is using the "real world" education attained to generously give of her time through community outreach endeavors.

Last year, Vasquez-Serrano put her culinary architectural and construction skills to the test by building gingerbread houses for the annual Gingerbread Family Festival in Toledo. The edible creations were auctioned off to Northwest Ohio residents. Proceeds in excess of $30,000 for the flavorful masterpieces benefited the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center's child abuse and domestic programs. Vasquez-Serrano, an Owens honors student who carries a 3.8 GPA, placed third in last year's competition.

In October, Vasquez-Serrano participated in the Whiskers and Paws Organization's haunted gingerbread event to assist in the welfare of animals.

"Owens' Culinary Arts Program has allowed me to pursue my dream and give back to those in need," said Vasquez-Serrano. "I couldn't ask for anything more from my educational experience."

She added passionately, "When I came to America in January of 2002 I could barely speak English. The personal approach that my Owens professors have provided, in teaching me about culinary arts, is something I will never forget."

With a smile comparable to that of a proud parent, Dolores Dobelbower, an Owens Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management, says Magaly is a joy to have in class. "People like her are successful in whatever they do."

Graduating in the spring of 2004, Vasquez-Serrano is well on her way to serving her first customer very soon.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 26 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 40,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor 's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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