Student profile: Nutrition student leads Chalets at Pro-Am

Rebecca Mockabee is the first to admit she doesn’t know all the ins and outs of golf. But for the second year in a row she will be spending up to 12 hours a day at the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Mockabee is one of about 34 students who headed to Monterey County Feb. 3 as part of a unique partnership between San José State University and Pebble Beach.

The Special Event Management Program started in 2006 as a way to give students hands-on, intensive training and to provide dozens of managers for the week-long golf tournament. The students have been undergoing management training with staff members from Pebble Beach since the start of January. They are spending the week of the Pro-Am from sun up to sun down providing concessions to spectators of as well as the corporate CEOs and others who spend time in the chalets and sky boxes along the course.

Mockabee is a senior in Nutritional Food Science who first participated in the Special Event Management program at SJSU in 2013. The program is run through the Hospitality and Tourism Management program in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, but the students involved in the program come from various backgrounds including hospitality, business, communications and sometimes nutrition.

“It really builds a bridge between being a student and being in the work place,” said Mockabee, of the program.

This year she will serve as director of Chalets during the golf tournament that draws up to 35,000 visitors in the course of the week, in addition to celebrities and golfers.

“We don’t get to interact too much,” she said, of the golfers and celebrities.

Most of her day will be spent in the chalets, catering to CEO and business professionals.

Heading into the tournament, Mockabee said she was filled with excitement.

“Being there is almost like my Disneyland,” she said. “Everyone is smiling and you are part of a community. Everything around Pebble Beach is beautiful.”

This year, the students used iPads purchased with a grant from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Dean’s Office that streamlined the training process. In the past, Pebble Beach staff members photocopied training manuals of up to 900 pages for 40 people. This year the manuals are in a digital format that can be accessed on the iPads.

Mockabee said she was looking forward to having the iPad on the course this year, rather than carrying around the huge binders.

Like many of the students who have participated in the Pro-Am program, Mockabee said she was invited back to help with the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival as well as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Mockabee said her own confidence grew when she completed the program last year. Since then, she took a job as a hostess at Mimi’s Café in Gilroy. Just recently she said she was promoted to assistant manager.

“(The program) can help you see what kind of manager you want to be,” Mockabee said.