A New Creative Outlet
Class of 2019
"I absolutely believe that Wake Tech has brought out the best in me."
— Oz Gollmar
After five years at a university earning a bachelor’s degree in illustration, Oz Gollmar was burned out and not at all excited about a career in art. “I was honestly glad to be done,” she says. “I tried to tough it out through school, but it wasn’t me. I can’t sit in front of a computer every day.”
Six months after graduation, she still didn’t have a job in illustration and began making things as a creative outlet. But without any way to share her creations, she felt she was just spinning her wheels.
Gollmar also needed money, so she took a job as assistant baker in a chocolate shop. The owner wanted someone who had only home baking experience and was teachable. “I really appreciated that job,” she says, “because I didn’t know that career could be for me. I thought being a baker was ‘above’ me.” She enjoyed the work, and she was good at it! “What I love about baking is the same thing I love about art – the process of it,” she says. “Making beautiful things out of nothing with your hands, and doing it for someone else. Your work can be instantly recognized and enjoyed by others.”
As Gollmar’s interest in baking grew, she began to look for local training programs and found Wake Tech. “I noticed that when Wake Tech participates in a baking competition, they always blow everyone else out of the water!” She enrolled in Wake Tech’s Baking & Pastry Arts degree program, even though she lives an hour away from campus. She says it’s worth the drive: “This is the nicest kitchen I’ve been in, and it has awesome equipment! The teachers and chefs want you to get the most out of every minute you’re here.”
Gollmar graduated in December 2019 and is employed as an Assistant Pastry Chef at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham – a job she got through Wake Tech’s Work Based Learning program. Work Based Learning offers students college credit for on-the-job experience. It often turns into permanent employment.
“I absolutely believe that Wake Tech has brought out the best in me and prepared me for my future in baking. While I’m always learning something new at work, I never feel like I’m falling short – my professionalism is noticed and appreciated by my bosses and coworkers,” she says.
To learn more about Wake Tech’s Baking and Pastry Arts program, visit baking.waketech.edu
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