Group of 39 Penn College students to help cook at Kentucky Derby

Thirty-nine Pennsylvania College of Technology students, accompanied by two instructors, will travel to Louisville, Ky., to help prepare food for the thousands who will attend the 139th running of the storied Kentucky Derby.

Students in the college’s School of Hospitality were interviewed on campus in February by Churchill Downs Executive Chef Jo Jo Doyle and Jennifer Cooper, human resources director for Levy Restaurants. Levy Restaurants provides food services at Churchill Downs and other sports and entertainment venues nationwide.

“Our students will be key to the preparation of all the sit-down meals served during the week,” said Chef Paul Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management and culinary arts. “Levy Restaurant chefs trust the students’ ability to think, keep composure and create quality food under the pressure of very high volume, long hours and high guest expectations. This creates a great challenge and fantastic learning and life experience for everyone.”

Fourteen students were selected to serve in the Downs’ new, invitation-only venue, dubbed The Mansion. The lavish “Mansion” accommodates 320 guests and features panoramic views of the track, including a covered outdoor terrace, dining room, living room, library, parlor and veranda, as well as personal concierge service.

Students will also be posted in the main kitchen, the Turf Club, the Finish Line Suites and the Jockey Club Suites.

The group will embark on April 29. During their week at the Downs, they will help set up satellite kitchens, begin the task of preparing thousands of pounds of ingredients and, in addition to Derby Day on May 4, will serve guests of the Kentucky Oaks race – which attracts about 100,000 fans – on May 3.

Students attending the derby and their majors are:

Baking and pastry arts (associate degree)
Amanda Jo Bickel, of Northumberland; Samantha-Jo M. Bradley, of Middlebury Center; Ching Chan, of Milton; Brandi L. Davis, of Berwick; Hillary L. Dyson, of Great Mills, Md.; Krista M. Fields, of Reading; Ashley E. Gentzyel, of Lock Haven; Jessica M. Keyser, of Macungie; Amy E. Lynn, of Bloomsburg; Danica C. Mazzotta, of Tyrone; Taylor A. Reed, of Shamokin; Hanna A. Thompson-Hill, of Millheim; and Lauren K. Yerk, of Quakertown.


Culinary arts and systems (bachelor’s degree)Arthur H. Byra, of East Stroudsburg; Katelyn A. Dellinger, of Red Lion; Zachary D. Derck, of Northumberland; TeAnna M. Dorey, of Port Matilda; Megan E. Endres, of Wyoming; Joseph R. Gruszewski, of Dunmore; Brianna Rene Helmick, of Hershey; Logan R. Hinkley, of Springville; Patrick J. Kelly, of Muncy; Benjamin A. King, of Elizabethtown; Darren J. Layre, of Hatboro; Hannah E. Marquis, of Olney, Md.; Stefeni S. Ortiz, of York; Christine M. Reed, of Kingston; Lewis D. Robinson, of Bellefonte; Antonio J. Rodriguez, of Pottsville; Laura A. Rozzi, of Reading; Kristina M. Wisneski, of Whitehall; and Victoria L. Zablocky, of Jersey Shore.


Culinary arts technology (associate degree)
Evan A. Craig, of Williamstown; Wyatt F. Fink, of Cogan Station; Katharine V. Marks, of Barto; Jessica M. Nichols-Warr, of Beech Creek; and Alison M. Rote, of Lewisburg.


Hospitality management (associate degree)Eileen N. Harrington, of Springfield, Va., and Robin K. Morrison, of Lock Haven.


The students will be accompanied by Mach and Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts and culinary arts.

To learn more about the academic programs offered by the School of Hospitality at Penn College, call 570-327-4505 or visit

For more about the college, visit, email or call 800-367-9222.

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Last Updated April 04, 2013