Dining staff offers more than meals

Stevenson students enjoying an extensive selection.

Many of the Sodexo dining staff employees are reaching major milestones within the Stevenson community, with some having worked here for 10 years or more.

Edna has worked at Sodexo and Stevenson for 10 years, having served elementary school children in her previous job. She worked in SubConnection and the Deli; after they closed, she was moved to the grill in Rockland and has been there since.

Stevenson students enjoy a selection of foods in Rockland, where the Sodexo staff has served long and faithfully. (Villager file photo)

“I enjoy serving the students, and I enjoy serving people,” she said, which is the reason she’s stayed with Sodexo and at Stevenson all these years. Edna recalled a time when a student she had bonded with during their years at Stevenson  brought her whole family in for a meal prior to graduation. “One day, she was having just a really bad day, and she asked for a hug; just about every day after that, she came around for her hug, even if she wasn’t coming through for a meal.”

Latarsha has also worked for Sodexo (and at Stevenson) for 10 years, spending all of those years in Rockland. She initially chose to work at Stevenson because of the location, stating that Owings Mills is a safe, comfortable area, and that family members were close by. One of her favorite things about working at SU is the student engagement.

“I love when the cheerleaders and other student groups show up and put on a show; it’s another thing that keeps my job interesting,” she said.

Sergio started working with Sodexo in 2011. His priority is staying authentic, serving classic Italian food that would also be found on his plate at home. “The students deserve quality, so that’s what I’ll give them,” he said.

During his first few years, he followed Sodexo rules to the book; however, as he grew into a staple of the community, he adapted his style, personalizing it for the students.

Sodexo chef Latarsha offers grilled options for all students. (Photo by Emma Cathy Smith)

“If I see that students aren’t preferring the mushrooms, then I won’t put the mushrooms out,” he said as an example. “Therefore, no waste on our side, and more room on my station for stuff they do want.” He’s also known for his recommendations; if he starts to recognize a student and his or her eating habits, he’ll occasionally start making recommendations for new things within the same taste profile. “There’s a football player who only asks for one type of pasta now, based on a suggestion I gave him that he loved.”

These three are not the only employees reaching a major milestone. Other recognizable names and faces include Tanya (2008), Dana (2005), Starlene (2008), Brenda (2007), Charles (2008), Marc (2002), and Laverne (2001).

“What’s cool is that they’ve been working here since I went to school, and I started in 2009, so coming back to work and seeing all of these familiar people is so awesome,” said Julie Mazer, marketing coordinator for Sodexo. She graduated from Stevenson in 2013 with a degree in business communication; after trying out multiple jobs in the workforce, she returned to get her masters’ degree in business and technology management and started working for Sodexo shortly thereafter.

“They remembered me from when I went here, which made me feel like I was right back home. It made me feel secure,” Mazer said. “Latarsha, for example, has worked here since before I attended, and she even remembers the names of the people I dated!”

As figures in the Stevenson community, Mazer hopes that the current student body is able to take fond memories of the dining staff with them throughout their collegiate experience.

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