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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Five College of HRSM graduates pose for a photo in front of a stage on the Horseshoe.

Career Success for Class of 2023 Graduating Seniors

The University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management is proud to celebrate the class of 2023, including this year’s academic and leadership award winners.

Class of 2023 Award Winners

Click the images to read more about our award winners.

I continue to be amazed at the incredible accomplishments of our students. I am proud to send these well trained, talented, and hardworking graduates into our industries as I am confident that they will materially contribute to and improve their respective industries.

David Cárdenas, interim dean, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
David Cárdenas headshot

Lauren Barth

Dean's Award for Outstanding Leadership
Academic Excellence Award
Sport and Entertainment Management

  • Headshot of Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth has been a leader in every way imaginable. In the classroom, she earned a place on the President’s List (4.00 grade point average on at least 12 credited hours) for six consecutive semesters.

Outside the classroom, she took full advantage of the many experiential learning opportunities facilitated by the College of HRSM. She worked at the Masters Tournament in 2022 and at Super Bowl LV in 2021. She was a leader in Sigma Psi Mu, the professional fraternity for sport and entertainment management majors, serving first as the organization’s secretary, then vice president.

She served as a mentor for younger sport and entertainment management students and as a key member of the HRSM Student Leadership program. She even played a role in supporting the college as an employee. She began as an office assistant and was promoted to student development assistant. In her final semester, she served as an intern with the college's marketing and communications team. Every step of the way, she impressed all she met.

"Lauren has been an outstanding student who has worked incredibly hard to earn the opportunities she has received," says Department of Sport and Entertainment Management Internship Director Steve Taylor. "She has also been selfless with her time in working as a mentor helping new sport and entertainment majors make the transition into our field. It will be fun to watch her career progress as she has such a bright future in front of her."

"Lauren Barth has given every ounce of energy and passion to her roles. She has recruited countless students to HRSM, worked tirelessly for the college, and continues as a senior by telling the stories of success of her peers with our marketing and communications team," says College of HRSM Director of Enrollment Management and Professional Development Collin Crick.

A lifelong hockey fan, Lauren's goal from the start of college was to launch a career in the NHL. She served as director of operations and ticket management for Gamecock Hockey, the extremely successful South Carolina Club Hockey Team. Her hard work and accomplishments caught the attention of multiple NHL teams, and she graduates with honors and with a job as a sales associate with the New Jersey Devils.

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Kayleigh Hamel

Academic Excellence Award
Hospitality Management

  • Headshot of Kayleigh Hamel

"Kayleigh is smart, personable, highly engaged and simply an impressive student and an asset to her class." Those words from School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Associate Professor Cathy Gustafson, who has worked with countless students in her 28 years at HRSM, are a fair summary of just how much Kayleigh Hamel stands out from the crowd.

Kayleigh, a USC Capstone Scholar, has excelled in the classroom as well as in student organizations including the USC chapters of the Club Management Association of America and Restaurant and Lodging Association. As a senior, she also served as the first special events intern with the USC Office of Undergraduate Admissions, worked at the prestigious Presidents Cup golf tournament and was one of a select group of students invited to assist in running a fundraising event led by world-renowned Chef William Dissen.

She earned six licenses and certifications during her time as a student, including the National Retail Federation’s Advanced Customer Service and Sales Certification.

"The most important thing I’ve learned during my college experience is the importance of putting yourself out there," she says. "Don’t be afraid to say 'yes' to every opportunity because you never know where it might take you or what doors it might open in the future."

Kayleigh graduates with honors this May with a B.S. in Hospitality Management with a concentration in club management. She will serve as a management intern at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco over the summer. In the fall, she will return to HRSM to pursue her Master of International Hospitality and Tourism Management degree.

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Alyssa Flink

Academic Excellence Award
Tourism Management

  • Headshot of Alyssa Flink

Alyssa Flink changed her major to tourism management after her sophomore year and made a fantastic impression on School of Hospitality and Tourism Management faculty and staff while earning her degree with honors.

"As soon as she entered our school, she hit the ground running," says Senior Instructor Jessica Chavis. "She has made an impact by providing crucial information as a Student Advisory Board member and by acting as an ambassador, of sorts, for our program. Alyssa always has a smile on her face and is willing to jump in whenever needed. I consider myself so lucky to have gotten to know her during her time in our school. Alyssa is going to accomplish so many amazing things throughout her professional journey and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her!"

In addition to being chosen to serve on the Student Advisory Board and as a USC Resident Mentor, Alyssa earned induction into Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Society, a prestigious academic honor. She was a member of the USC chapter of the Club Management Association of America, and interned at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona and with Enterprise.

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Ainsley Isenhour

Academic Excellence Award
Retailing - Retail Management

  • Headshot of Ainsley Isenhour

Ainsley Isenhour has completed her bachelor's degree in retailing with concentration in retail management in just three years, and will graduate summa cum laude. That impressive accomplishment becomes even more so once one sees how much she has packed into those three years.

In addition to her stellar performance in the classroom, Ainsley was selected to work as a product merchandise intern at the PGA Championship in Tulsa and as a sales attendant at The Masters in Augusta.

She was chosen as the inaugural chair of the Department of Retailing Student Advisory Board. Department of Retailing Chair Jeff Campbell calls Ainsley "one of the best students I have been associated with."

She also served as intern and social media manager for Gamecock iHub, USC's Apple Authorized Campus Store.

"Key to the success of any company is having individuals that can seamlessly integrate information, challenges and ideas into creative solutions that align with mission and vision. From day one Ainsley has been this person," says Gamecock iHub Store Director and Faculty Liaison Mike Watson. "She is an authentic leader that positively impacts every facet of our operations, while willingly and effectively collaborating and creating meaningful experiences."

Ainsley will return to Augusta National Golf Club after graduation as a product development and design intern.

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Olivia Stewart

Academic Excellence Award
Retailing - Fashion Merchandising and Digital Innovations

  • Headshot of Olivia Stewart

When Olivia Stewart came from her home in the Chicago suburbs to visit USC as a high school student, she did not know retailing was an option as a major. She heard a presentation during the visit, and as she explains "I knew that was what I wanted to do. The retailing program was really what sold me on USC."

The decision has led to extraordinary success as a student. While earning (with honors) her B.S. in Retailing with concentration in fashion merchandising and digital innovations, Olivia took advantage of an opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy.

She interned for Hanes and then, as a senior, for Gamecock iHub, USC's Apple Authorized Campus Store.

"Olivia's confidence, organizational aptitude and creativity are a unique combination that allows her to not only see the big picture of a project but to understand, organize and implement the details needed to effectively train others and to see that project through to a successful completion," says Gamecock iHub Store Director and Faculty Liaison Mike Watson. "She consistently exceeds expectations, while remaining positive and collaborative, ensuring multiple people benefit from her work."

Olivia will begin her post-graduation career with another giant of the retailing industry, having accepted a position as an assistant merchant with Abercrombie & Fitch Co. as part of the company's Leadership Development Program at its global home office near Columbus, Ohio.

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Katie Caskey

Academic Excellence Award
Interdisciplinary Studies in Services Management

  • Headshot of Katie Caskey

When asked to describe Katie Caskey, College of HRSM Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Marianne Bickle chose the word "superb."

Katie's excellence as a student earned her summa cum laude distinction as she graduates this May with her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Services Management. The degree is her second, having earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management at Midlands Technical College before coming to USC.

During her senior year, Katie was hired by Augusta National Golf Club to work the Masters Tournament as a hostess, an experience she calls an "incredible opportunity." She also earned introductory sommelier certification.

Asked for advice to share with students who hope to emulate her success, Katie says "Bet on yourself! You are capable of much more than you believe."

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2022-23 HRSM Academic and Leadership Awards Ceremony


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