NATCHITOCHES – Several students pursuing degrees in Hospitality Management and Tourism at Northwestern State University earned scholarships awarded by the American Hotel and Lodging Education Foundation. Students who received the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) are Kaytie Proctor of Natchitoches, Sha’Terica Thomas of Bossier City, Hunter Horton of Plain Dealing, Rachel Opbroek of Keithville, Brianna Ashley of Deville and Karley Hebert of Lake Charles.
Administrators honored the group with a Smarty Party/Sweet Success to recognize AH&LEF giving and student success.
“We started receiving AH&LEF monies about 15 years ago,” said Connie Jones, coordinator of the HMT Department. “The original amount was $3000 split among three HMT students. [HMT professor] Lynn Woods was instrumental in getting this initial funding for our students. These were and still are based on faculty recommendation.”
Over the years, the amounts increased and this year there are six NSU recipients, each receiving either $1,000 or $1,500 for the academic year, Jones said.
“Brianna Ashley was nominated for the AH&LEF top award, of which only two were given. While she did not receive this, she was invited to represent NSU at a prestigious lodging conference” Jones said. HMT faculty encouraged all students to apply and assisted with the application process.
“Just the experience of completing the online application improves their skills package,” Jones said. “I believe we have great students and look forward to watching them in successful careers. The hospitality industry as a whole is exciting and dynamic. Through classroom lecture and experiential learning activities, our students are prepared for rewarding careers doing something for which they have a passion. Work will never feel like work, and as [HMT Professor] Valerie Salter often says, ‘Major in Hospitality Management & Tourism and you can work anywhere in the world.’”
NSU’s HMT program is housed in the College of Business and Technology and offers concentrations in culinary arts hospitality services and travel and tourism or minors in hospitality management and tourism and culinary arts. Administrators say the combination of HMT classes with additional focus on classes in business and marketing are beneficial for students’ future career success.
Information on Northwestern State’s HMT programs is available at hmt.nsula.edu.