Dukes Take-On Vegas!

Laura Wong, an HTM Senior, had an incredible experience visiting Las Vegas with Tassie Pippert and 4 other HTM students over Spring Break. Please take a look at what wonderful opportunities Las Vegas offered for these traveling Seniors!382361_10200746241564975_103170017_n[18] 529786_10200746244405046_249596536_n[17] IMG_0752[17]

As a senior in the hospitality and tourism management program it’s great to finally be able to be given the opportunity to take a variety of different hospitality electives where we can apply what we have learned in our introductory classes.  The HTM451 course is an entertainment management course where we have learned about the different aspects of the gaming industry; specifically rules and etiquette when gaming at casinos.  It was so much fun to take what we learned in the class room out to the casinos of Las Vegas.  As one of the top destinations for hospitality, Las Vegas did not disappoint.  Whether one is interested in hotel management, food and beverage, clubs, or events management, Las Vegas has it all.  As a group we were lucky enough to be given a tour of one of the newest Las Vegas hotel properties: The Cosmopolitan.  On the tour, we learned about the various VIP services that were offered through the hotel for their high end clientele and high rollers.  We even got to see one of the penthouse rooms and a three story bungalow!  We also had the opportunity to learn how The Cosmopolitan is differentiating itself from some of the other well-known hotels and casinos through their Identity Membership Card.  Because The Cosmopolitan is a newer property in Las Vegas, and does not have an infamous name, it is able to bring in new guests through its stellar guest services and high quality food establishments.  My personal favorite was Holstein’s Burger and Shakes.  There I tasted the Rising Sun Burger that was marinated with teriyaki sauce, spicy mayo, and a tempura avocado.  If that doesn’t sound delicious enough, they also have a variety of milkshakes ranging from the classic cookies and cream to a cereal flavored shake!  Although there was so much to do, my favorite part of the trip would probably be walking around all the different hotel properties.  I almost felt star struck by the establishments because they are all so high profile and talked about.  It was so interesting to finally see each hotel in person and how not only the different themes of each hotel differed but also how they utilized entertainment to draw in guests. -Laura Wong, 2013

Student Spotlight: Shon Ford “Cruiseman 3000”

IMG_20120531_145013[1] IMG_20121121_155351[1] IMG_20121121_160838[1]Shon Ford developed a remarkable fascination for “cruising” ever since his very first cruise trip at the young age of 11 with his mother. It just took that one trip to know that cruising would be something of great influence throughout his lifetime. In high school,  a media specialist encouraged him to learn more about the cruise line industry and ultimately he started his very own cruise blog: The Ocean Escape which launched in 2010. He continued venturing on numerous cruises and began typing up reviews about his trips and different cruise lines. He even created video tours on youtube which gives travelers a better feel for each cruise and the various cruise lines offered. His focus is primarily on the American cruise market but his blog attracts travelers from all around the word interested in cruise vacations.

Favorite Cruise Ship- tie between Norwegian Epic and Carnival Breeze

Favorite Cruise Line- Norwegian

Favorite Port to Leave From- Baltimore

Favorite Destination- Bermuda

Favorite Thing About Cruise Lines- the whole travel aspect and that it is very global. Sometimes there are 70 countries represented on just one cruise. He enjoys talking to different crew members and the members of the different departments. He loves being able to entertain through blogging and achieving the notoriety in what “Cruiseman 3000” represents.

No. One Destination- 3 way tie between: Norwegian Fjords, Australia and new Zealand, and traveling the southern tip of South America

No. of Cruises Taken- Just got back from cruise number 29, will be a little over 30 by the end of this year!

Awards, Reviews, Rankings, and Accomplishments: Cruiseman 3000 has been featured on Cruise Law News‘ site as a trust-worthy cruise/travel writer/blogger (July 2011). And in 2012, Cruise Law News ranked his blog, The Ocean Escape, as a must read cruise site for 2012. On their Top 12 Blogs & Websites for Cruise News in 2012 list, he was ranked #10 (on the same list with Cruise Radio, USA Today Travel, and other notable travel writing veterans). Also, Travel TV producer Marianne Schwab listed him second (#2) on her Cruise Experts and Bloggers list to follow on Twitter. On RCI Fans website (a cruise blog totally devoted to writing about Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line), Shon is ranked as the third (#3) recommended blog to follow/read; Cruise Currents, ranks his blog #9 on a recommended cruise blog-reading list. Shon is also listed on a recommended cruise list according to Cruise News with Jennifer Stern.
In 2011, The Ocean Escape (Shon’s cruise review site) was a nominee for a Shorty Award for best short social media content usage in the cruise industry from his usage of Twitter (@CruiseMan3000). Most recently in 2012, his blog has been nominated for “Best Travel Blog” at the 2012 Black Weblog Awards. Cruiseman 3000 contributes to cruise and travel sites all across the world including multiple States in the U.S. (California, Ohio and Florida being the most popular), the UK, and even Australia. In 2013, he will be expanding his career as a travel writer, for he just signed a contract with Onboard Media, LLC (Miami-based) to sail on various ships to conduct cruise reviews. He was recently just announced as the newest cruise writer for CruiseCrazies sharing his 10 years of cruise industry insight on a new blog that actually launches this week (making this the second blog Shon will author). He has also been featured on Cruise Radio and online podcast, Cruize Cast. In July of this year, he will be the co-host of the biggest cruise industry gathering ever on the high seas on Norwegian Sky for a 4 day/3 night cruise. Shon is also finishing up his first book on cruise travel which he started writing in March 2011 and is hoping to release in the Fall of 2014 (right before graduation in December of that year).

Internship Opportunity Advice- Shon made note that internships are extremely competitive because cruise ship contracts are 6-8 months long, making them reluctant to have students for only a few months of employment. The best thing is to know one other or at least 2 other languages. This puts your resume at the top of the pile during the recruitment process. Shon reiterated that people apply from all over the world, setting you up on a global competitive scale. He suggests to look at cruise consultaion firms that specialize in cruises because they usually take in interns interested in the industry. You should learn about all the ins and out  before you even interview for a cruise line internship.

You can find more Cruiseman 3000’s social media presence through Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube all using /cruiseman3000.

JMU Dukes take on the Superbowl!

62374_570685026292871_1868025791_nEleven Sport and Recreation Management students had the amazing opportunity to take part in volunteering at the Superbowl! Here is what the students had to say about their experiences! Please connect with JMU Sport and Recreation Management by “liking” their Facebook page and browsing through photos, videos, and posts. http://www.facebook.com/JMUSRM

Bryce Cocke
“Being part of such a worldly renowned event and being fortunate enough to have experienced what I did is something that I will never forget.”

Kelsey Holmes
Graduate Student
“My New Orleans experience was inspiring; with the right people, any event can be done and done right.”

Brittney Jacks
“I am so thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the fans’ experience as memorable as mine.”

Matthew Kaiser
“I found this to be a tremendous learning experience of the planning, organizing, leading, and controlling aspects of sport management and just how important those arease are to the success of an event.”

Sylvia Lee
“I can’t formulate my experience into words other than it changed my life.”

A.J. Monette
“This trip is one I will never forget. I learned so much about myself, my future field, and the sporting industry. It makes me excited to get to work.”

Jennifer Nelson
“Volunteering at the Super Bowl has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity filled with numerous memories and experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Ally Nurik
“This experience taught me that working hard and having a positive attitude benefits you in the long run.”

Calvin Parson Jr.
“Being able to volunteer at an event of this magnitude allowed me to not only see what goes on behind the scenes when preparing for a major sporting event, but it gave me experience that can be applied later on in my career.”

 Jordan Underwood
“The experience was unique, humbling, and incredibly worthwhile. I wouldn’t change a single thing, especially the group with which I got to spend this amazing week.”

Cara Yaworske
“Despite the long hours and lack of sleep, you have to get up and do your job and you will get rewarded and feel great about what you did.”

CMAA Internship Fair: A Great Success!

JMU’s Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) successfully held their first internship fair on Sunday, January 13th! There were nine national clubs in attendance including: Army Navy Country Club, Baltimore Country Club, Bethesda Country Club, Bohemian Club, Chantilly National Golf and Country Club, Chevy Chase Club, Columbia Country Club, Farmington Country Club, and Spotswood Country Club. In the morning session, time was allotted for the managers to talk with students before they went to interview with the different clubs. CMAA structured the event differently this year by including this interview process and found it extremely helpful to the attendees. CMAA is looking forward to providing this opportunity again to students next year with the intentions of having a greater attendance from both students and club industry members! For more information about JMU’s CMAA student organization, please visit their website http://jmucmaa.wix.com/jmucmaa

Below are a few pictures captured from the CMAA internship fair!


Hospitality Prowess Students Recognized at ARAMARK Externship Awards Dinner

JMU School of Hospitality Third Aramark Extern Certification and Awards Dinner
On Monday, December 3rd, 75 students enrolled in the HM Prowess 212 class met at the Montpellier Room, located in the East Campus Dining Hall, to be awarded a certificate in their Externship with Aramark this semester. The session started with a lecture by Dr. Reg Foucar-Szocki on “Restaurant Etiquette” followed by an enticing and detailed description of the menu by the JMU campus Executive Chef, Brandon Rudisill. The students, our School Director, Dr. Michael O’Fallon,  and other faculty members were acknowledged and commended for their participation in the program at this fine dining experience. The HM Prowess 212 course, along with the Aramark partnership, has allowed students to experience the food industry by combining a hands on experience in the various dining locations on campus as well as participation in a lecture based in-classroom curriculum. The menu served at dinner – courtesy of JMU Special Events Catering – was the following:

1st Course: Ricotta Gnocchi with butternut squash cream, crispy fennel and bacon-chili oil
2nd Course: Braised Beef Short Ribs with sweet potato-apple has, roasted cauliflower and apple cider gastrique
3rd Course:  Hot chocolate Mousse with coconut creameaux cayenne marshmallow, chocolate sauce and mango foam

Dr. Reg and Ms. Ellen Callahan, the Teaching Assistant for ARAMARK Dining Services, completed the session by awarding the Certificates of Completion to all students and gave additional awards to those who did not miss a single shift. Those awarded with Perfect Attendance are as follows:

Brielle Appleton
Jessica Battaglini
Hien Cao
Catherine Clavin
Vallie Herndon
Alicia Inkrote
Christina Joyner
Olivia Lobdell
Jacqueline Lubin
Erin McNamara
Tony Nguyen
Kelly Taikina
Jordon Thompson
Jennifer Warren
Brent Warren
Kirby Yonce
Amie York

Student Spotlight: Interview with Michelle Moulden

We interviewed Michelle Moulden, a senior in the HTM program who leads our PCMA Student Chapter as President and is the Senior Representative for Le Gourmet. Michelle will be leaving her mark as she has made a tremendous impact on the Hospitality Program throughout her four years at James Madison University. Please take the time to read through her inspirational achievements and encouraging attitude!

Name: Michelle Moulden
Age: 21
Year: Senior
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

  • How did you get involved in Le Gourmet? What were your duties for your role/position throughout the planning/execution of the event?
    • I had first heard of Le Gourmet during my Freshman year from Patrick Crosson, who, at the time, was a Junior helping plan the event.  I was fortunate enough to hear and see a lot of the stuff that he was working on for the event and became very interested in it.  Patrick became somewhat of a mentor to me over the years and always encouraged me to take advantage of all the opportunities the hospitality department had.  Towards the end of my sophomore year, Michael called me into his office and asked if I would be interested in becoming the junior representative for the Le Gourmet event.  So, following in Patrick’s footsteps, I graciously accepted!  This year, my position carried over into the senior representative for the event!
    • As a representative for Le Gourmet, the duties for the planning portion of the event begin over the summer, and really picked up within the first month of school.  Luckily, we are fortunate enough to have wonderful working partnerships with various vendors in the DC area that give us large discounts and donations on many aspects of the event, thanks to our amazing advisory board.  However, this means that a lot of the larger items like linens, food, and entertainment are preplanned for us since they are usually donated items.  So, our focus tends to be on the more intricate details, such as employee outfits, menu cards, nametags, etc.  Maggie Goetzman, the junior representative, and I worked hard over the summer and the beginning of this semester to design this various aspects and really play up the 80’s theme: Purple Rain!  We got to work closely with several board members to come up with different ideas and then choose the one that fit the theme best.
    • As for the execution of the event, Maggie and I were both supervisors for the day!  We were in charge of training the student employee’s on registration, coat check, and the silent auction portions of the evening.  We then oversaw the different areas throughout the evening to ensure everything was running smoothly.   Any guest questions or concerns were directed to us, and we had to make sure that everyone was having a great time and enjoying themselves!
  • Tell us about the event! How did the event go? Was it what you expected?
    • The event was a HUGE success!  Everyone had an amazing time and lots of money was raised for our program!  Since this was my second year helping with this event, I was more prepared and knew what to expect.  However, there are always things that come up last minute that you have to react and respond quickly to (like the printer running out of ink last minute…!).  We received so many compliments from guests on how wonderful the student employee’s were and how much fun the event was – to me, that shows what a great success the evening was!
  • Now that Le Gourmet is over, what accomplishments are you most proud of for all the hard work you’ve done for Le Gourmet?
    • I think what I’m most proud of is what this event represents.  My involvement with Le Gourmet has allowed me to meet professionals in the industry I would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise.  After meeting the board members, it made me realize how many people truly care and are involved in the promotion of our program!  There are board members who are alum of JMU that want to give back, but there are also several that have no tie to JMU at all, but still believe in our program and what we do here, and want to help us be the best program possible.
  • Tell us about your role as President for our PCMA Student Chapter and the trip planned to Orlando for the Convening Leaders Conference.
    • PCMA has been an invaluable part of my time here at JMU.  I have learned so much about myself and about the industry because of this organization.  In my current role as President, I have the easy job, while the rest of exec has to do all the hard work!!! What I mean by that is I oversee all of the exec positions and pull all the information together to make sure things run smoothly.  I personally am not planning the events (the hard work!!!), but I am there to give advice and make sure that we’re providing a variety of events and giving our members everything that they want and need.
    • This year, PCMA is holding their annual conference, Convening Leaders, in Orlando.  This conference has over 3,500 attendees, which allows for some truly amazing networking opportunities with some of the best professionals in the industry!  There are hundreds of educational sessions that we are able to attend, and we are even able to choose which ones are most relevant to our interests.  Every year, there are several motivational speakers and it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear them speak!  This is a conference all about meeting planning, planned by a group of professional meeting planners.  With a little bit of imagination, you can start to envision just how unbelievable this conference really is!  We are so excited to be taking 11 student members to the Convening Leaders Conference in Orlando this year, and I can’t wait to see what each member takes away from this unforgettable experience!
  • What was the application process like when you applied for the Convening Leaders Scholarship? What benefits come with being the winner of the scholarship?
    • The process was fairly simple!  In order to apply, you had to meet certain requirements such as GPA, being a student member of PCMA, and being enrolled in a hospitality program.  Then, I had to submit a copy of my resume, a letter of recommendation, and a 500-1,000 word essay describing what I hope to gain from attending the Convening Leaders Conference.  Even though the process was simple, there are huge benefits to being chosen as a scholarship winner!  The benefits include being awarded registration, housing for up to four nights, and transportation to and from Orlando.  Essentially, the entire trip is paid for and I am able to attend for free!  Needless to say, I am very thankful for this amazing opportunity!
  • What are you looking forward to most about the Convening Leaders Conference?
    • I am most looking forward to seeing what all of our student members take away from this opportunity and bring back to our chapter!  It is always so eye opening to see what is out there and being able to bring that information back and share it with other students and the department.  I am also looking forward to networking with professionals from across the country.  Being a senior, I am looking forward to seeing what job opportunities are available to me upon graduation and hopefully (fingers crossed!!!) finding my future employer!!
  • Now that you’re almost halfway through your last year with the HTM program, what is your best piece of advice for the students in the HM program? What are some of your favorite memories from your experiences with Le Gourmet, PCMA, and the HTM program?
    • My advice would be to take advantage of every opportunity given to you and get involved early!  Our department, as well as JMU itself, offers so many things that you won’t be able to get anywhere else after you graduate, so take advantage of them while you’re here!  Get experience wherever you can, and take initiative to better yourself, rather than waiting for something to fall into your lap – that’s what will get you the job after graduation!  I was fortunate enough to have Patrick as my mentor, who pushed me to get more involved and helped me find my way through the program.  That has been one of the most valuable things throughout my career at JMU.  I encourage everyone to reach out to older members and ask for their guidance and advice!  I know I would be more than happy to talk to anyone interested in my past experiences or how I got involved in the organizations I’m involved in!  My final piece of advice would be get to know your professors!  They will guide you through your time here, and will go out of their way to help you find internships, jobs, etc.  We are fortunate enough to have some amazing professors in our department, so make sure to take advantage of that!
    • My favorite memories have all been involving the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with.  The Hospitality industry really is all about who you know your relationships with people, and I’ve worked hard to maintain those relationships throughout the years.  I’ve met some truly inspiring, incredible people along the way and my life has been changed because of them!  Also, I’ve enjoyed seeing the events and organizations I’ve been a part of grow over the past few years.  It’s incredible to me that PCMA is the size that is today.  Just a few years ago we had about 20 members, and now today we have almost 100!  It’s been a huge transition and I’ve loved being a part of it over the years!  With Le Gourmet, it’s been an amazing experience to meet the high-profile professionals, as well as seeing this huge event come together.  As for the hospitality department itself, I’ve enjoyed watching the program grow as we switched to the new school.  We are becoming very well known across the country, and I know that is only going to continue over the years!

Hospitality Members of PCMA work Homecoming Concessions!

Our Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Student Chapter is dedicated to service, education, and leadership. This past weekend, PCMA worked hard at the Homecoming game in efforts to raise money to go towards member attendance at the PCMA National Convening Leaders Conference being held in Orlando, Florida. The members used their finest hospitality skills and enthusiasm to sell concessions items such as popcorn, hotdogs, pretzels, sodas, and hot cocoa. They had a fantastic experience working with the JMU community and plan to work more concessions in hopes to get as many members as possible to the National Conference! A special congratulations to the PCMA Treasurer, Jaclyn Silva, for implementing the entire fundraiser and being such an encouraging leader!