Our Ph.D. Students
The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management is home to one of the nation’s
premier graduate programs with a leading-edge curriculum and an innovative learning environment emphasizing
leadership development for current and future managers and educators. We are internationally
renowned faculty experts in resort operations, timeshare management, social and economic
impact of tourism and restaurateurs as well as leading authorities on culinary arts,
conference planning, world travel and more.
Meet our Ph.D. Students
As one of our Ph.D students, you'll have opportunities for research, field studies
and work experience in premier national and international tourist destinations in
an atmosphere that cultivates the lifelong business relationships and networking opportunities
you’ll need to advance your career.
Bahman Ajdari, from Tehran, Iran, received his B.S. in industrial engineering from Malek Ashtar University of Technology in Iran, and his M.S. in business management (marketing and e-commerce) from Lulea University
of Technology (LUT), Sweden. Before joining USC, Ajdari worked as a research assistant
and lecturer at LUT. Ajdari’s particular research interests are consumer behavior,
branding, marketing and social media in the field of tourism.
From Denver, Colorado, Jeff Kreeger received a bachelor's degree from Biola University in California, an MBA from the University
of Colorado, Denver, and a certificate (half-masters) from the University of Denver.
Kreeger served as an adjunct faculty member teaching geographic information systems
(GIS) courses since 1995. His current research areas of interest focus on revenue
management, the lodging shared economy (think Airbnb), and sustainability.
Jamie A. Levitt
Jamie Levitt came to USC from Wilmington, Delaware (via Switzerland, Turkey, and China)
and received his B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University, Medford, MA,
his A.S. in Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI, and his M.B.A. in Hospitality Management, also from Johnson & Wales University. His research interests are in consumer behavior, food tourism, restaurant authenticity
Hengyun (Neil) Li
Neil Li received his B.S., Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in 2010 and
his M.Phil. at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in 2012. Neil's particular
interests are in economics, marketing, and big data analysis in hospitality and tourism
management. Before joining USC, Neil worked in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
as a research associate. Neil teaches HRTM 381 - Travel and Destination Management.
He is from the City of Tongliao, Inner Mongolia, China.
Jing Li, from Shandong Province, China, received her B.S. in 2012 and her M.S. from
Shandong University in 2015. Jing's particular interest is in destination branding
and marketing, tourist behavior and social media. She previously worked as an intern
with Dahua Tourism Consulting Company. Jing has also worked in tourism planning in Lanzhou
Geological Park and other rural tourism planning projects of Shandong Province.
Somang is from Seoul, South Korea. She received her B.S. from Korea University, Korea,
and her M.S. in Hospitality Business Management from Michigan State University. Somang’s
particular research interest is in service marketing, consumer behavior, and technology
in the hospitality industry.
Thomas Pratt received his B.S. from the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, and
his MBA from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Thomas also has more than 20 years of
restaurant and hospitality management experience and his research interests are leadership,
employee motivation and behavior. His hometown is Newport, Rhode Island.
Rui received her B.A. in accounting from Wuhan University, China in 2011, her M.A.
in Tourism Management from Shandong University, China in 2014. Rui's research interests
are in resident attitudes, market effectiveness assessment and risk evaluation. Rui
teaches HRTM 280 - Foundations of Tourism.
Scott Taylor, Jr.
Scott Taylor, Jr., from St. Louis, Missouri, received his B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant
and Tourism Management from the University of Missouri and his M.S. in Food Science,
also from the University of Missouri. His research areas of interest are in consumer
behavior in food and beverage operations.
Chuhan (Renee) Wang
Renee Wang, from Shanghai, China, received her B.S. in Hospitality Management from
Florida International University, her B.M. in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Tianjin University of Commerce, and
her M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Virginia Tech. Her research interests are in social media and digital marketing, hotel technology, and
big data analysis.
Pei Zhang received her B.S. in International Economics from Wuhan University, China,
and her M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of South Carolina.
Her research interests include tourist experience, value co-creation, tourist imagery,
and international tourism. Pei is from Zhejiang, China. View Pei's curriculum vitae.
Yingsha Zhang, from Shenzhen, China, received her B.M. in Tourism Management from South China Normal University, her M.S.
in Human Geography from Anhui Normal University, and her Certificate of Applied Statistics
from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include destination marketing and management, tourist behavior, and tourism geography, with
special emphasis on theme parks, research methods, and big data. She teaches HRTM
280 - Foundations of Tourism and HRTM 481 - Analytical Techniques in Tourism and Hospitality.
View Yingsha's curriculum vitae.