Liz Hartman points to the summer after her junior year of high school as a determining factor in her choice of a college major. At the time, Hartman was one of the 24 high school students from around North Carolina participating in the Martha Guy Summer Institute on Appalachian’s campus.
“I really connected with the session dedicated to Hospitality and Tourism Management, conducted by Dr. Mike Evans,” said Hartman. “The field sounded exactly like something that correlated with my interests and would give me the business background I knew I wanted to pursue. I’ve always enjoyed event planning and had an interest in resort management, so when I learned about the Hospitality and Tourism Management program, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to study at Appalachian.”
During her time at Appalachian, Hartman was involved in numerous extracurricular activities, including the Walker Fellows, and she achieved the associate level leadership certification from the BB&T Student Leadership Center.
Hartman also completed an internship at Enterprise Mill Events in Augusta, Georgia, as an event coordinator. “As an intern, I got to put my hands in a little bit of everything and gain experience in event planning for a wide variety of events. These ranged from large and small-scale weddings, (benefit) concerts, business luncheons/dinners, graduation parties, political campaigns, as well as working very closely with Georgia Regents University and the several surrounding hospitals catering their events,” she said.
Hospitality and Tourism Management majors are required to complete an internship, which most choose to fulfill during the summer between the junior and senior year. Internship experience gives students a first-hand, real-world knowledge and often leads to employment opportunities.
“After completing my internship, I felt so much more confident in my event planning skills and have now begun coordinating and directing weddings on my own,” said Hartman.
“This would not be possible without the professional experience and knowledge I gained during my internship and through my work at Wild Dunes Resort.”
Hartman worked two summers at Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, SC, and she counts those and her internship as “adventures” that were most beneficial experiences of her college career.
Her advice to prospective business majors: keep your resume updated, network with industry professionals, professors, and peers, attend guest lectures, and become involved in extracurricular activities.
“Not only are Dr. Dana Clark and Dr. Carol Kline wonderful professors, but they also serve as mentors and friends who support you every step of the way,” said Hartman. Appalachian State has not only granted me a wonderful four years, but has also fully prepared me for post-grad and assured me that my Appalachian family will always be there for friendship and support.”
She continued, “Looking back, I can honestly say that the Martha Guy Summer Institute is to thank for spearheading the persistence and fortitude I possess so early in my professional career,” Hartman said.
Hartman graduated in May 2015 and resides in Charleston, SC, and is employed by the Wild Dunes Resorts, which is owned and operated by Destination Hotels & Resorts and boasts a AAA Four-Diamond rating.