The George Washington University

Tourism & Hospitality Management

Newsletter Issue 2, Spring Semester 2009

News and Events

GWTAN, IITS, and Master of Tourism Administration Program Host Successful Colloquium

The GW Tourism Alumni Network, the International Institute for Tourism Studies, and the Master of Tourism Administration Program hosted a successful reception and presentation on April 13. Titled Asset Management in the Hospitality Industry, the event featured keynote speakers Randall Carroll, President of Lazer Lodging Asset Management Division of REVPAR International, and Lew Lemon, Regional Vice President of Operations of Davidson Hotel Company. The unique presentation included the roles and responsibilities of an asset manager as well as the suggested career path and skills necessary for this key hospitality management position. The two industry professionals also touched on investment strategy and the economic downturn’s effect on the tourism industry’s infrastructure.

The Master of Tourism Administration Program hosts two colloquiums per academic year, one in conjunction with the current student group, Tourism for Tomorrow, and one in conjunction with the GW Tourism Alumni Network (GWTAN). Watch for future announcements for these varied and informative sessions.

From Left to Right: Lew Lemon, Greg Stafford, and Dr. Larry Yu.

Mr. Lemon (L) and Mr. Carroll (R) share their expertise.

Participants enjoy themselves at the pre-lecture reception.

IITS leads two trainings in Armenia and Dominican Republic

Adjunct Professor Michael Altman and GW doctoral student Milena Nikolova traveled to Yerevan, Armenia in March to teach three sustainable tourism development courses. This program was organized as part of the USAID Competitive Armenian Private Sector Project (CAPS) in partnership with the American University in Yerevan. The 40 students who participated were selected from 120 applicants, and were all employed in the tourism industry, government or academia.

In addition, Altman and Nikolova delivered a lecture to 30 members of the Armenian Tourism Lecturers Club on linking contemporary tourism industry trends to contemporary education techniques. The lecture was followed by an interactive discussion. Altman says, “Training 40 students for six full days can be challenging for student and trainer alike, but I was thrilled at how engaged the participants were from start to finish. It says something about the appetite for and timeliness of this kind of training/capacity-building in Armenia. And having a wide range of attendees made for a very lively classroom dynamic that kept us all on our toes!”

Members of the Armenian Training Class

IITS conducts Event Management Training in Dominican Republic

Eli Gorin, President of gMeetings and an MTA alumni (’02), facilitated an IITS-sponsored Event Management course for tourism professionals in the Dominican Republic. Twenty students from various sectors of the local tourism industry participated in the two day session. When asked about his experience, Gorin said, “Like most Latin American countries I have worked in, there is a passion for what they do. While they themselves may not be planning meetings or events, they are happy to have attained knowledge that helps them better understand the process of planning events. It provides them with a better understanding of what meeting planners are looking for when selecting a destination, which will help them find new ways to promote the Dominican Republic as an ideal location for meetings and events.”

USAID Sustainable Tourism Training in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The International Institute of Tourism Studies, in collaboration with the Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance, conducted a sustainable tourism development training program for USAID officials, contractors, and representatives of international development organizations this past February. The training was convened in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and involved participants from 7 different Latin American Countries and the United States.

The program consisted of seminars, panels and interactive workshops that provided participants with the basic elements and outlined steps in designing a sustainable tourism development program. Topics ranged from an introduction to sustainable tourism to successful incorporation of biodiversity and conservation goals in project design. Additionally, the team led participants on a one-day field trip to Bayahibe where they learned about the tourism assessment process and specific issues pertaining to developing tourism in the Dominican Republic. On the last day of the training, participants worked in groups to develop sustainable tourism projects specific to a country. Teams then presented their projects, illustrating the concepts that they had learned throughout the course.

Student Awards for 2009 Announced

Natalie Gempesaw-Pangan received the MTA Leadership Award, which recognizes one graduate who has played a significant leadership role in student activities and made outstanding contributions at the departmental, school, and university levels. This recognition carries with it a $500 award and is sponsored by the Master of Tourism Administration Program.

Stephanie Baldwin received the Potomac Hospitality Services Academic Excellence Award. This award is given to the MTA student who has achieved the highest GPA. The $500 prize is sponsored by Potomac Hospitality Services, a Washington, DC-based hospitality management and services firm which operates the two GW-owned hotels: the George Washington Inn and the One Washington Circle Hotel.

Chris Canfield received the Dr. Philip W. Ogilvie Award for Highest Academic Achievement in the Accelerated Mater of Tourism Administration (AMTA) Program. This award honors the memory of Dr. Ogilvie, Past President of the Association of Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia, former Archivist of the District of Columbia, and former Professor of Tourism Studies at The George Washington University. Mr. Canfield will receive $500 with this award.

Sarah Lefferts has received the Feinstein Sport Management Student Award for outstanding performance by an MTA student with a concentration in Sport Management. This award is sponsored by the Feinstein family and carries a monetary value of $500.

The Master of Tourism Administration Program congratulates all of these students for their achievement.

Alumni Leadership Award Presented at Spring Colloquium

The 2009 Alumni Leadership Award was presented during the Spring Colloquium on April 13 to two MTA alumni: Bevery Bogerty (MTA ’99) and Mary Windham (MTA ’99). The two met while pursuing their MTA degrees and after graduation formed a successful event management company called Occasions, Inc. Nomination comments included: “Beverly and Mary are wonderful ambassadors for our program and are always enthusiastic and willing to help us in any way they can,” and “their active involvement in the Department has set a role model for entrepreneurship in event and leadership in alumni relations.” We congratulate Ms. Bogerty and Ms. Windham.

Robert Miller, MTA ’99, past president of GWTAN, poses with Mary Windham (L) and Beverly Bogert (R).

AMTA Program Gears Up for Case Competition

The AMTA Program’s graduating class gathered in Washington DC during the week of May 11 to complete the capstone requirement of their study: a case competition. This year’s case asked the students to develop a marketing plan for tourism in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Students developed their specific plan with the help of faculty and volunteer coaches, and delivered their final presentations to a panel of judges who work in the tourism industry in St. Mary’s County. The winners were announced at a reception and award ceremony held on Thursday, May 14, at the Landmark Restaurant in The Melrose Hotel. The winning student was comprised of Alison Rober, Gina Graciano, Shanna Bryant, and Charlene Selbee.

Congratulations, Spring 2009 Graduates

We wish you each the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. Please keep in touch with the department and your fellow alumni.

Earning the Master of Tourism Administration through the traditional program:

  • Adrianna F. Wyhs
  • Ashley Catherine West
  • Carrie Ha Shum Kwok
  • Corrie Leanna Owsley
  • Gergana Stephanova Nikolova
  • Jabneel Abreu
  • Julie Ann Blowers
  • Kanae Tsutsumi
  • Kellie M. May
  • Kirstin M. Coutts
  • Lin Wang
  • Lindsey Jean Rosenthal
  • Mayer Weisel
  • Mei Kei Loo
  • Ming-Yi Lin
  • Miyoung Kim
  • Nita Sharma
  • Oana Gabriela Popescu
  • Rosina Michelle Romano
  • Sara Elisabeth Burson
  • Seunghee Park
  • Sharia M Barksdale
  • Traci L. Gimbel
  • You Hyun Jang

Earning the Master of Tourism Administration through the Accelerated (AMTA) program:

  • Allison Henny Rober
  • Camille Taylor Relatado
  • Carlamae Ramos Chavez
  • Christopher Alan Canfield
  • Christopher Charles Pulido
  • Erica Ann Kaponya
  • Gina Michelle Graciano
  • Jacqueline Fernandez
  • Jacqueline Michelle Amster
  • Jennifer Rebekkah Helton
  • Kim Venitta Scott
  • Lisa Francesca Iancin

Faculty Updates

Derrick Heggans Receives Sports Business Journal Award

Adjunct faculty member Derrick Heggans has been named by Sports Business Journal as one of The 40 under 40 Most Influential in Sports. Heggans is General Manager at AOL Sports. To read the full article, visit

Dr. Elliott’s Travel Marketing Communication Class Develops Campaign for Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC)

The creative juices were flowing among the eight teams who recently competed against each other in Dr. Elliott’s Travel Marketing Communication class for a very special grand prize: VTC actually launches the winning campaign. Dr. Elliott’s Graduate Assistant, Corina Miclea, helped out in the cause each week by video taping the teams and then streaming the presentations to the web. This way, students were able to evaluate their progress each week as they strived to create the perfect “zinger” presentation. While all of the teams’ final presentations impressed the judging panel, the team chosen as this year’s winner was Team Dionysus, which included Ilyssa Berger, Katharine Bullard, Aliza Burns, Mary Knoop, and Jennie Tucker.

Dr. Delpy Neirotti and Sports Management Students Busy this Semester

The 2009 Sports Industry Networking and Career (SINC) Conference was held in March on The George Washington University campus (see photo following article). The event attracted close to 200 participants and featured keynote speakers David Haggerty, President of Head USA, and Tom Wade, CMO of the PGA Tour. They were joined by over 75 industry professionals, many of them GW alums, who participated in panels, interactive luncheon round tables, and interview sessions. For more information on the SINC Conference please visit

On March 9th, Abe Pollin was inducted into the GW Sports Executive Hall of Fame during a luncheon in the Smith Center. David Stern, Commissioner of the NBA, and GW President Steven Knapp introduced the honoree.

Dr. Delpy Neirotti recently traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia to attend the International Olympic Committee’s Sports & Environment Conference where she presented the GW Green Scorecard ( While in Vancouver, Dr. Delpy Neirotti also conducted site visits to secure student housing for the 2010 Olympic Course.

This semester the Sport Management program at George Washington welcomed many high profile guest speakers in the Sport & Event Marketing, Sport Finance, and Sport & Event Facilities Courses. Among many others, they included Ted Towne, Controller with the Washington Nationals, Ed Foster, President of the US Soccer Foundation, Kevin Payne, President of the DC United, Rebecca Hunt of the Washington Mystics, and Ky Davis of USA Disabled Sports.

Finally, sports management students in the research course conducted surveys for the Washington Nationals (season ticket holder retention), Washington Redskins (on-line merchandise), DC United (new stadium), and Cherry Blossom Ten Miler (economic impact).

One of the many panel discussions held during the SINC Conference.

Dr. Levy Receives Grant

Dr. Levy has received a $5,000 grant from the GW Institute for Corporate Responsibility which he will use to pursue summer research on consumer perspectives of sustainable initiatives in the lodging industry. He will present his findings at a BEST Education Network (BEST EN) Think Tank in Singapore. BEST EN is an international consortium of educators committed to furthering the development and dissemination of knowledge in the field of sustainable tourism.

Alumni Notes

Linda Robson, MTA ’05 (AMTA program graduate) has accepted an Assistant Professor of Hospitality position within the School of Hospitality Management at Endicott University in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Robert Miller, MTA ‘99, has again this year made a very generous contribution to our student and faculty development fund. Mr. Miller continues to be a strong supporter of our Department and programs, both as a volunteer and financially, and we are very appreciative.

Miranda Prescott (nee Harris), MTA ’99, is the education program manager at the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour, located outside of Seattle, WA, which recently unveiled an exhibit demonstrating Boeing’s work with the airline industry to investigate the use of algae to make biofuels. Miranda was recently featured in her local newspaper for her involvement in seeking ways for this exhibit to be used most effectively for educators and their students. To read the article, visit

Do you have other news items?

Do you have exciting personal or professional news to share with your DTHM community? Email it to and be sure to include “Student News/Newsletter” in your subject line.

The Master of Tourism Administration Program wishes everyone a restful, but productive, summer break.