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Kurbanova Earns 2020 Dennis Lesh Food Service Award

17 July 2020

Each year, Pratt Community College awards a support staff member the Dennis Lesh Foundation Food Service Award. This prestigious award is based on nominations from students, faculty and staff.

Enayy Kurbanova is the recipient of the 2020 Dennis Lesh Food Service award.

“I want to thank everyone that nominated me,” said Kurbanova. “I had a cool experience working in the café. This award was really unexpected.”

Kurbanova grew up in Turkmenistan in Central Asia. All of Kurbanova’s siblings are boys, and she faced many cultural challenges in wanting to come to the United States for college. Kurbanova’s father told her that he would not help her financially if she chose to go to the United States.

“I had to find scholarships and as much financial aid as I could,” said Kurbanova. “I followed my instinct and found scholarships and came to Pratt. Pratt helped support me financially.”

While attending PCC, Kurbanova worked on campus in the cafeteria and in the Linda Hunt Memorial Library. Working these jobs, Kurbanova saved up her money for a four-year college. Alongside working on campus, Kurbanova worked a variety of jobs for people in the community to continue saving money.

“I had the opportunity to work if I wanted to work,” said Kurbanova. “I really appreciate PCC for that.”

While at PCC, Kurbanova studied art and graphic design.

“If I had an idea about art, I would tell my instructor and they were up for my ideas,” said Kurbanova. “The library supported my ideas and my art. Frank offered to make an art gallery.”

Kurbanova worked in the cafeteria for two years. While working in the cafeteria she served food, was a cashier and helped Great Western Dining services cater events.

“I tried to change the routine of the food,” said Kurbanova. “Students would get bored.”

Kurbanova suggested new ideas and got to try them out in the cafeteria. Every Saturday they would make a new dessert, it would range from a chocolate fountain to milkshakes.

“My first year in the café, I was excited because my best friends worked there,” said Kurbanova. “We met a lot of people and it helped me a lot. I knew all the students that came to the café.”

Working in the cafeteria helped Kurbanova expand her communication and problem-solving skills.

“As a student, we had a short amount of time and we had to know what to cook and prepare and be ready for lunch at 11 o’clock,” said Kurbanova. “I learned a lot when I was there and the experience will help me when I have a job.”

Kurbanova’s favorite part of working in the cafeteria was telling people Bon Appétit to which they would reply with thank you.

Kurbanova plans to obtain her bachelor's degree online through The King’s College New York City she will be pursuing a Graphic Design/Art degree.
“Pratt was the place where I found myself and found what I am capable of,” said Kurbanova. “I experienced things and grew as an independent woman. I also found my peace at the same time.”

The mission of Pratt Community College is maximum student learning, individual and workforce development, high quality instruction and service, and community enrichment.