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Bri Rose and fellow HTM students prepare for an event.

Student finds career path in fast-growing hospitality and tourism industry

December 2, 2015
KOKOMO, Ind. —Bri Rose rolls up her sleeves, gearing up for a career in one of the world’s fastest growing industries – hospitality and tourism.

“The career possibilities in this field are endless,” said Rose, a junior at Indiana University Kokomo and one of the first to declare this major after the degree program became available two years ago. “It’s so amazing that I finally found what I want to do with my life. I love the hands-on aspect of learning in this field.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of meeting, event, and convention planners is expected to grow 33 percent between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

A recent hospitality and tourism career fair on campus gave Rose not only the experience to help plan a large event, but also gave her the chance to meet and talk with several companies she may consider for internships or even future employment.

Rose especially enjoyed talking to the event operations coordinator from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Brittany Lump, to learn more about a typical day on the job and possible career opportunities.

“It was inspiring to hear the steps she took to get where she is now, and what it is like to work in hospitality and tourism on a daily basis,” said Rose.

Heather Kennedy-Eden, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism, said potential careers with this degree include management jobs in convention and visitor’s bureaus, sports events, recreation, and food and beverage, along with events planning or owning a business.

“Tourism is a great program for people who like the challenge of doing something different every day,” she said. “We try to teach students to be creative, to think on their feet, and to stretch themselves so they are able to create and plan events that are special and distinctive.”

Which is one of the reasons why Kennedy-Eden wanted to bring the hospitality and tourism management career day to the campus.

“You can talk about event logistics, but until you go through the process and deal with last-minute changes, it doesn’t become real, tangible experience,” she said. “The students gained that experience, and they were extremely satisfied with their efforts and how successful the event was for them. They made great contacts with people in the industry, and they learned a great deal about he planning of this type of event by being a part of it.”

Rose originally planned to focus on hotel and resort management, but discovered an affinity for event planning through class and this hands-on experience. She plans to seek internships in both fields to help narrow down her choices.

“There are so many possibilities,” she said.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 12/02/2015