I Am Miami

Student Employee Spotlight: Sydney Kemp

Sydney Kemp is a sophomore information systems and business analytics major from Fishers, Indiana. She is a member of Miami’s club volleyball team and Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. During the week, you can catch her at Maplestreet Station serving up some delicious foods. We sat down with her to ask her a little more about the girl behind the sneeze guard.


Q: If you could be any kitchen utensil, which kitchen utensil would you be?

A: I would be a spork. How can you beat that versatility?

Q: If your personality was a texture, which texture would it be?

A: The texture of those suuuuper soft blankets. You know what I’m talking about.

Q: What is the coolest place you’ve been?

A: I studied abroad in France last summer, so Toulon on the French Riviera in the south of France was probably the coolest. The Mediterranean Sea, with the pebble beach and villas along the coast was beautiful. Or Turks and Caicos, the water is so clear and beautiful there.

Q: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

A: When my parents surprised my sisters and I with a cruise for spring break to the Caribbean back in high school. That was my first time out of the country, so that was super exciting and led to a lot of great memories with my family.

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

A: When I grow up, I wanna work in information technology for a Fortune 500 company. I also want to be an A+ parent someday!

Q: What is your favorite place to eat on campus?

A: Probably Maplestreet. Since I work there and see what people order all the time, I’ve made so many sandwiches and salads that look amazing and want to try new combinations. I just crave Americas and Delish all the time now.

Q: What would you want to be famous for?

A: Inventing something like a self-charging phone or hovercraft or something cool and techy like that.

Q: If your life was a book, what would be the title?

A: Here’s to Hoping it All Works Out

Q: What is your go-to fun fact? 

A: The average person eats 72 pounds of ketchup in a year.

Q: Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

A: Selena Gomez. 

Q: What is your go-to clean joke?

A: Why did the skunk cross the road? To get to the odor side!

Q: To where do you most want to travel?

A: Hawaii! I may be going next winter, which would be amazing. I’ve also always wanted to be Sydney in Sydney, Australia. That’d be cool.

Q: What one meal would you eat for the rest of your life?

A: Pan-fried pork dumplings from P.F. Changs. Arguably not a meal since it’s an appetizer, but they’re sooooo good.

Q: When are you happiest?

A: When I’m with family and friends.

Q: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

A: I don’t know if it’s the best, but I love when people compliment my handwriting.

Q: If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what song would it be?

A: Somewhere Only We Know by Keane

Q: What is your spirit animal?

A: A sloth, tbh.

Q: What are you currently binge-watching?

A: The Office! Always!

Q: If you could be anyone, dead or alive, for one day who would you be?

A: Barack Obama. He seems like a cool dude. And I’m sure he has had so many amazing experiences after being president for eight years.

Q: What would your band be named?

A: Skempp Inc.

Interested in joining our team? Apply for a job in dining services today at miamioh.hiretouch.com! We have a number of exciting opportunities available across campus!


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How to Survive Finals Week

  1. Plan out your meals ahead of time. Creating a meal plan for the week will keep you fed and energized. Having one less thing to worry about can also reduce some stress. Who wants to be trying to figure out where to eat when you can’t even figure out question one of the practice exam? Need some pointers on meal planning? Check out this post from a few weeks ago!
  2. Make a study schedule. While you’re coming up with a meal plan, go ahead and create a study schedule as well. This will keep you organized and make sure you have enough time to study for every exam. Want to make it more fun? Color-code it with your favorite, brightest colors to help keep everything straight.
  3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Jumpstarting your metabolism early on will help you stay focused throughout the day. Plus, who doesn’t love a good yogurt parfait?
  4. Choose a good studying location. While campus can get crowded during finals week, it’s important to find a study environment that works for you. If you can’t be productive if you’re around your friends, don’t study with them. If the second floor of King isn’t for you, don’t attempt to work there. Throw on some comfy clothes and find a quiet spot that is most your style and you’re set to crush that studying! As far as dining locations go, Maplestreet Station is a good study spot. If you study best in your dorm room, grab a meal to-go from Garden Market or load up on healthy study snacks at Market Street at MacCracken.
  5. Try meditating. Meditating for just 10 minutes can help you destress and focus on the task at hand. There are a bunch of apps for guided mediation and Spotify has a few playlists as well. If you want more tips on how to meditate and the benefits of practicing mediation, read this post!
  6. Workout. Much like meditation, exercise can help you clear your mind, destress, and re-energize you after a grueling study session. Endorphins released during your workout will perk you up, and get you ready for the next exam.
  7. If all else fails, coffee is your friend. Just make sure you’re also drinking a TON of water so you don’t get dehydrated and keep the caffeine intake under control to avoid getting jittery. Green tea is a great alternative.
  8. Let it go. Once the exam is over, it’s over. Don’t let the stress overwhelm you! Treat yourself after a hard exam with your favorite sweet treat, like ice cream from Miami Ice!

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Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

As the semester winds down, make sure to really take it all in before you leave campus. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. We’ve created a list of the top places you must visit on your stroll down memory lane.

Take pictures at each stop, tag us, and use the hashtag #MUEats to be entered to win a Fuji Film Instax camera! (Must be following @MiamiUDining on Twitter to win. Winner will be chosen Tuesday, 5/9 at noon.)

  1. Your Old Favorite Dining Hall
    Take a trip to your old favorite dining hall and get all you care to eat like it’s first semester freshman year again.
  2. Dividends Salad
    Everyone loves the Miami University exclusive sweet herb dressing. Throw it on some of Trader Green’s fresh greens and salad fixings and snap a pic!
  3. Wing Wednesday
    Whether you’re getting your wings fix at Wing Bar, Garden Market, Dividends, Martin or Harris, there’s something special about celebrating Wing Wednesday! Celebrate by getting wings in your favorite sauce with a side of celery or carrots.
  4. Miami Ice Gelato
    Handmade ice cream on meal plan … what could be better? Get your favorite flavor and mix-ins. If you don’t have a favorite, try the Miami exclusive Red Brick Bliss ice cream from Young’s Dairy!
  5. The Q
    It’s only been here for this school year, but The Q has quickly become a fan favorite. Get your favorite barbecue dishes and sides. Don’t forget about the loaded nachos or barbecue flatbread pizza!
  6. La Mia Cucina
    La Mia is Miami’s very exclusive sit down restaurant. Get a chicken parm or a fresh panini and sit with your friends in this classic joint located right in Harris Dining Commons.
  7. Late Night Pulley
    Late night and Pulley Diner. Name a more iconic duo … I’ll wait. Got a hankering for mozz sticks at 2:30 AM? Get them from Pulley; open 24/7 and all on meal plan!
  8. Weekend Brunch
    Throw it back to freshman year Sundays recapping the weekend’s events with your friends in the closest dining hall over a delicious brunch spread. Bring your pals and reminisce on all the classic tales of your time here at Miami.
  9. Garlic Bites
    Make sure you bring some gum because once you start eating the garlic bites offered at various locations around campus (Garden Commons is a good start), you won’t be able to stop. These addictive bites of warm, garlicky goodness are sure to satisfy.
  10. Favorite Late Night Study Snack
    Up late studying? Grab your favorite late night study snack from King Cafe and relive the countless study dates you’ve had over the years!
  11. Favorite Ice Cream from the Market
    Whether it’s Ben and Jerry’s, Madisono’s Gelato, Halo Top or another one of your favorite brands, get your favorite pint from Market Street at MacCracken or Emporium and enjoy with friends to cool down on a hot, end-of-semester day.
  12. Scoreboard Market
    Scoreboard Market was a student favorite even before it underwent renovation with Martin Dining Hall last year. It has quickly become a student favorite again, offering all your favorite to-go food making it a great trip down memory lane, especially for those who are graduating. Mini corn dogs? Spicy chicken sandwich? Whatever you fancy, snap a pic and send it our way while you sit back and enjoy Scoreboard’s great variety of a la carte delicacies.

Make sure you keep checking back on any of our social media accounts for updates!


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Getting to Know Brent Mason

After spending the past 21 years with Bob Evans, Brent Mason has been welcomed into the Miami University family with open arms as dining services’ new director of operations. As such, Mason oversees all the food and beverage on campus including our a la carte, convenience store and buffet locations.

We thought we’d take a moment with Mason and get to know a little more about one of the newest faces in our dining services.


Q: How did you get into food service?

A: The main reason was that my wife got pregnant. I was doing construction and did not have insurance. I had a college buddy that was a general manager at Bob Evans. He got me an interview at Bob Evans, so my venture into food service was more family-oriented. I wanted to get insurance for the family and for our child. I ended up staying there 21 years.

Q: Favorite thing in Miami Dining so far?

A: I think the opportunity with Miami. Miami does their own food instead of using an outside company like Aramark. There is so much opportunity for us to continue to improve the quality of the food, the safety of the food and even just in menu selection. We have so much leeway to create different menus.

I think one of our big drives right now, that is pretty cool, is being nut-friendly by next August and pushing to be more gluten-friendly, soy-friendly and really focusing on allergens. We want to make it a healthier place and a more inviting place for people who have special diets. 

Q: Could you briefly describe yourself personally?

A: I would say I’m pretty private about my personal life. I was brought up to be very respectful of others and I think that has carried with me. It’s something I am now trying to pass that onto my children. I also like being around my family.

Q: Do you have a personal philosophy you live by?

A: If you work hard and put the effort into it, you get out what you put in. If you do things halfway, you will never be successful, but by putting the effort in and working your tail off, you get what you earn. I believe in being a hard worker and continuing to learn every day.

Q: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?

A: I ride a motorcycle. In nice weather, it’s very freeing and just relaxing to get out and ride. I love doing that. I love going to bike weeks or going on bike trips. It’s very enjoyable to me.

Q: Favorite dish to prepare?

A: I would probably say one of my favorites is chili. You can do a lot of things with it. I don’t really have a set recipe that I follow, but that’s probably my favorite to prepare.

Q: To eat?

A: Lasagna is one of my favorites.

Q: Least favorite food?

A: Just about every vegetable. I’m not a very big vegetable person. I’m definitely not a fan of brussel sprouts. Those would have to be my least favorite.

Q: Favorite TV Show?

A: I watch a lot of TV, but I watch a variety of shows, so I wouldn’t say I have a favorite one right now. The last one I really enjoyed was Sons of Anarchy. Sons of Anarchy was my favorite, but that has been off for a couple years now. 

Q: Cat or Dog?

A: I have a dog.

Q: Cake or Pie?

A: Pie.


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A Brief History of the Picnic

Picnics are a warm-weather classic. Most people picture gingham blankets and hand-woven baskets in the ideal picnic situation, but where did the picnic even come from? Who decided potato salad was a thing?

The origin of picnics track back to the Renaissance. The upper class would go on hunting outings and bring food with them on which they would feast outdoors. In literature from the same time period, Robin Hood and his men dining on simple breads and ales under trees served as a juxtaposition to these elaborate, outdoor dining events.

From there, the Victorian Era brought along a rise in the popularity of the picnic as they became a common social event for the upper echelon of Victorian England society. According to NPR, a popular guidebook for entertaining at the time called Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, named tables, linens, crystals and servants as essentials for a proper picnic.

Times have certainly changed. Gone are the linens and crystal, replaced with contemporary picnic classics like fried chicken, burgers and hot dogs. Today, picnics are held as school events, teambuilding activities or even just as an outing among friends. While the food served may never truly venture away from the hearty grill favorites, more health-conscious picnic-goers have more options than ever before. Chicken and vegetable skewers or grilled fish have become more popular picnic options and simple substitutions like turkey burgers, chicken sausage, whole wheat buns or even lettuce wraps can be great choices so you can enjoy a picnic without thinking about where those calories are going to sit.

Watermelon is a staple of any picnic event and is a great option just as is, but if you’ve never tried a watermelon and feta salad, now is the time to start. You could even throw the watermelon on the grill! Instead of sugary lemonade, try an agua fresca or a fruit infused water as a refreshing beverage.

Now that you have some background on where the picnic came from and a few pointers on throwing your own, be our guest at the picnic event of the semester — Picnic on the Patio on April 28th at Bell Tower Place from 11am-2pm!


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We Scream for Ice Cream (Extravaganza)!

As the semester comes to a close, we want to invite you to the ultimate semester send-off; Ice Cream Extravaganza!


🍦 Ice Cream Extravaganza 🍦

Date Location Time
May 3, 2017 Garden Commons 5-8pm

Take a break from the academic grind and get something sweet on Wednesday, May 3 from 5-8pm as Garden Commons hosts ice cream and gelato experts from the Miami family.

Young’s Jersey Dairy will be in attendance, serving up their ice cream, which is well known around campus. Young’s Jersey, based out of Yellow Springs, provides the ice cream used in Encounter milkshakes and is the creator of Red Brick Bliss, Miami’s exclusive ice cream flavor served at Miami Ice.

Speaking of Miami Ice, Miami Ice gelato will be available as well. Look forward to their tasty gelato flavors that are all made fresh, in-house at Armstrong Student Center.

Additionally, prizes will be given away from ice cream favorites like Graeter’s, Spring Street Treats and Mitchell’s Ice Cream. Stop by and enter to win!

If you still aren’t convinced or don’t know what to expect, check out our recap from our fall event and see for yourself! Regardless, be sure to swing by Garden Commons on Wednesday, May 3 from 5-8pm for dinner and take advantage of the opportunity to get a sweet treat for dessert!


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Ready for Picnic on the Patio?

Summer is just around the corner, so it’s only fitting that Bell Tower Place hosts a cookout to celebrate! Join us at Bell Tower Place on Friday, April 28 from 11am-2pm for our Picnic on the Patio special event!


Picnic on the Patio

Date Location Time
April 28, 2017 Bell Tower Place 11am-2pm

Fresh off special dining events like One Miami Special Dinner, Seventh Inning Stretch and last week’s Local Vendor Day, Picnic on the Patio is the latest of the spring dining festivities. Unlike the previous events, Picnic on the Patio is occurring this year during lunch from 11am-2pm, making it the perfect midday meal on April 28.

For those who enjoyed the ballpark food from Martin Dining Hall’s Seventh Inning Stretch, the Picnic on the Patio menu will look, and taste, familiar. The menu features summer favorites like hot dogs, Italian sausage, burgers, veggie burgers, smoked pork sandwiches, fries, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, baked potato salad, and much more. Check out the full menu below!

Swing by Bell Tower Place on Friday, April 28 from 11am-2pm and join us for a cookout just in time for summer!


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Local Vendor Day (Spring 2017) Recap

Hosted at Market Street at MacCracken once a semester, Local Vendor Day is a day where local vendors – whose products are sold out of Market Street – visit Miami University, giving students the opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people behind their favorite on-campus, local products. There are also plenty of free samples!

On April 20, Market Street hosted the spring rendition even as rain clouds loomed above. Students joined us outside Market Street, spoke with our vendors in attendance and enjoyed free samples including chips and salsa, fresh cilantro, gelato and sorbet, chocolates and other tasty sweets. We were also joined by the Pineridge Partners, a local band from Somerville, who provided a lovely soundtrack for the event.

Whether you missed out or want to know more about your favorite vendors, below are those who were able to attend the spring event. Read up on our Local Vendor Day from the fall, and be sure to stop by Market Street to purchase their incredible local products!

Check out our full photo album from Local Vendor Day on our Facebook page!


Madisono’s Gelato

Website: http://www.madisonogelato.com

Offering free samples of their Carmello & Sea Salt gelato and Strawberry Lemon Sorbetto, Madisono’s Gelato specializes in hand-crafted, unique artisanal flavors of gelato and sorbet. It’s sold on campus out of Market Street at MacCracken.

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece about Madisono’s Gelato and learn how a shiitake mushroom farmer learned how to make gelato.


The Organic Farm at Bear Creek

Website: http://www.organicfarmatbearcreek.com

The Organic Farm at Bear Creek provides a wide range of tasty products to Market Street, including salsa, pasta sauce, jams, soups and tea. At Local Vendor Day, co-owner Sandra Ashba handed out samples of the flavorful, fresh salsa and some delicious jam. 

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece on The Organic Farm and how they ensure consistency in their products by using family heirloom seeds.


Winans Chocolates + Coffees

Website: http://winanscandies.com

Winans Chocolates + Coffees is a fourth generation family owned chocolate and coffee company located in Piqua. They provided free samples of their delicious chocolate-covered pretzels and more. Winans sells chocolates at Market Street at MacCracken.


Windy Acres

Website: http://www.windyacresonline.com

Windy Acres was back at Local Vendor Day with a wide variety of sweet treats for samples. Windy Acres has been a fixture of the area for years and for many, their candy is nostalgic. Purchase your own sweet supply at Market Street and check out our “Locally Grown” piece on Windy Acres.


Miami University Institute for Food

Website: http://miamioh.edu/cas/academics/centers/iff/index.html

The Miami University Institute for Food and farm is an interdisciplinary experiential learning project dedicated to cultivating an awareness around issues of food, health, and sustainable agriculture. Purchase your own fresh produce from the Institute for Food at Market Street.

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece about the Miami University Institute for Food from this fall.


Heather’s Goodies

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Heathers-Goodies

Delicious baked bread from Heather’s Goodies was available to sample at Local Vendor Day. Heather’s Goodies is based out of Bellbrook and their products can be purchased at Market Street.


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Getting to Know Ashley Blust

Ashley Blust is not only a registered dietitian nutritionist and licensed dietitian (RDN, LD), but she is also one of the newest faces in Miami University’s dining services. Blust, an alumna of the University of Cincinnati, worked in food service throughout her undergraduate studies and comes from a background working at hospitals in the Cincinnati area.

Bringing a wide range of nutrition knowledge and food service experience, we thought we’d take a moment to sit down with Blust and find out more about our new general food service manager.


Q: What does it mean to be a registered dietitian?

A: Being a registered dietitian essentially means you went the extra mile. Anyone can call themselves nutritionists, but to be a registered dietitian, you are required to take classes, do an internship and then pass the exam. The exam was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

To me, being a dietitian means you’re committed to the continuous learning about nutrition. Things are constantly changing and you have to keep up.

Q: Why is it important that Miami has a registered dietitian?

A: I think it’s important because when people think of college dining, they may think it’s a luxury of sorts, but really, dining is about nutrition. Nutrition is something we provide for our students, and we do everything we can in order for them to live a nutritious and well-balanced lifestyle. I think having a registered dietitian, who is an expert in everything they would need nutrition-wise, helps in that mission

Q: What is your favorite thing about Miami Dining so far?

A: I think my favorite thing so far is how above and beyond we go for special events and the variety at the various dining locations across campus. I mean, they’re so cool. From the concepts at Maplestreet with all those options, to the simplicity of Western, the Allergen Station and the wide range of options we have, I think it is the coolest thing in the world. I’m such a nutrition nerd, but I think it’s really incredible. If I were a freshman and I were looking at the school I wanted to spend four years at, and I saw this, especially being interested in nutrition and everything, hands down, I’d go here. I should have gone here, honestly.

Q: Could you briefly describe yourself personally?

A: I would describe myself as someone who is easy-going and easy to talk to. I understand that we may, as dietitians, promote A, B and C as the best way to do something, but there’s always a Z way to do something. Nutrition requires a personal approach and, in that sense, I like to think I’m easy to talk to and realistic.

Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A: I didn’t plan on being a dietitian. I wanted to be a physical therapist when I was a freshman and then a slew of other things. I decided I didn’t want to pursue a career in physical therapy, so I thought about an occupational therapist, which isn’t that different. I then switched to education, special education and then medical imaging before deciding I wanted to be a dietitian. I did not even think about being a dietitian until I was a junior, but I’m so glad I did. It’s a world of possibilities that I never imagined.

Q: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?

A: Anything outside. I have two dogs. I have a Boston terrier named Thor, and then I have a German shepherd named Zeus. I take them for hikes and runs and things like that. I really like to kayak. I have my own kayak that I take on vacation to Florida and to different places around here. I like to fish out of the kayak as well. I’m not very good, but I enjoy it.

Q: Favorite dish to prepare?

A: I’ve been trying to venture out and try to make more ethnic foods. Recently, I made a really good butter masala. I’ve also been taking recipes back to the basics and trying to make them from scratch. I’m really good at making potato skins. It’s a pretty fool-proof one, but I’m really good at that.

Q: To eat?

A: My favorite dish would probably be this dish I created called body-builder casserole. It’s roasted sweet potatoes on the bottom and then you put kale, feta cheese and really lean ground beef. You top it with more feta cheese and bake it all into a casserole. It sounds super gross and it looks gross, but it’s really good.

Q: Least favorite food?

A: Olives. Nope, no olives.

Q: Favorite TV Show?

A: Right now my favorite tv show is probably Girls on HBO. I don’t watch a lot of TV or cable. I watch a lot of the streaming services like Netflix, HBO and Hulu.

Q: Cat or Dog?

A: Dogs. All day long.

Q: Cake or Pie?

A: Cake.


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Tyler Wills Named W. Lynn Darbyshire Award Recipient

Tyler Wills, a third-year student at the Middletown campus and member of our regional dining services, has been selected as the recipient for the W. Lynn Darbyshire Award.

The W. Lynn Darbyshire Award is a prestigious award, presented annually to a student of 3rd year status (Junior) who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in a student organization, student advisory council, student employment, community service, or campus committee assignment.

Wills is from Middletown, Ohio and currently serves as a student manager at the Middletown campus in dining services. As a student manager, Wills is responsible for opening and closing operation, counting down registers, keeping employee records, work scheduling, order entry, task assignment and general management. Being named the W. Lynn Darbyshire Award recipient was an unexpected honor for Wills.

“I am so incredibly grateful for receiving the award,” said Wills. “I was completely surprised when Dina [Hundley] called to tell me that I had won. It took a while to sink in, but I’m so proud of the accomplishment.”

Wills is majoring in integrative studies with concentrations in organizational leadership, social media marketing and computing communications. After college, Wills plans to move somewhere warm (likely southern Florida or southern California) to work in sales, marketing and/or public relations. He plans to get his real estate license and aspires to travel as much as he can.

The award was established in 1995 in honor of W. Lynn Darbyshire, Miami University’s first Director of Student Affairs & Athletics (1967-95) and first men’s basketball coach (1967-76), and in recognition of Darbyshire’s emphasis on character and leadership among Middletown Campus students.

The W. Lynn Darbyshire Award is one of various honors to be awarded at the Miami Regionals Award Ceremony on Friday, April 28 at 5:30pm. All faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend.


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