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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Students in the College of HRSM headed to Las Vegas January 3 to present their hospitality management Ph.D. research. Also pictured are faculty members Miyoung Jeong, Fang Meng, Scott Smith, Kevin So, and Kathy Kim.

Making the most of the break

By Allen Wallace, awallace@sc.edu
Posted on January 10, 2020

Winter break offers University of South Carolina students not only time to relax and enjoy the holidays, but also time to focus on off-campus opportunities that could help launch their careers. Dozens of students from the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management started 2020 by scattering across the country to attend some of the most important conferences in their industries.

The 25th annual Graduate Education and Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism started Jan. 3 in Las Vegas, and Gamecocks were everywhere. Every current student in the South Carolina hospitality management Ph.D. program had a paper and/or poster accepted by the conference.

The students headed to Vegas along with College of HRSM faculty members Miyoung Jeong, Fang Meng, Scott Smith, Kevin So and Kawon (Kathy) Kim.

Students Ningqiao Li and Xiaonan Zhang earned special recognition with a nomination for best paper at the conference. Their work, “Why Retirees Migrate: Application of Importance — Performance and Gap Analyses of Retirement Needs and Destination Image,” earned them the honor. Faculty members Meng, So and Simon Hudson also contributed to the paper.

A group of undergraduate students from the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management went even farther west, to San Francisco, for the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Convening Leaders Conference.

The conference focuses on the event planning industry, and the students had a chance to network with several HRSM alumni who are now meeting and event professionals. Alumna Becca Lino, now senior technology manager for Cadence Travel, was recognized at the conference as one of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2020.

“I had a wonderful experience!” says hospitality management major Sarah Fabrizio. “Listening to the incredible keynote speakers and getting to know some incredible event professionals was just the motivation I needed before beginning my last semester at UofSC. Thank you to the Capstone Professional Development Grant and the HRTM Event Planners for helping me get to California and fuel my love for this incredible industry!”

For a group of 21 students from the Department of Retailing, the destination was the Big Apple and the NRF Big Show, the world’s largest retail conference and expo. Accompanied by HRSM faculty member Daniela Jankovska and Director of Corporate Engagement Erica Lake, the students had a chance to explore the giant event, featuring more than 16,000 retailers from 99 countries.

The Gamecock contingent also had the opportunity to meet with sustainability, social media and e-commerce executives from Uniqlo and tour the company’s Soho store.

Students in the UofSC chapter of the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) took advantage of two potentially career-building opportunities over the break. One group headed to Charlotte for an externship program in which they visited clubs including Myers Park, Quail Hollow, Charlotte Country Club, Carmel Country Club and Charlotte City Club. They met with industry leaders, making connections and learning firsthand about the workings of some of the top clubs in the nation.

The other group of CMAA Gamecocks flew south for the break, after applying and being selected for an externship in Palm Beach. The program was similar to the one in Charlotte, with students visiting and learning about 10 clubs including Lost Tree, Admirals Cove, Club at Ibis and Mirasol. The students even had a chance to take a private golf lesson from PGA President Suzy Whaley.

Industry expertise, experiential learning and career development are hallmarks of HRSM’s programs, and a variety of scholarships are available to assist students with the cost of travel for educational opportunities.

Find out more about the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and the Department of Retailing.


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