US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
The USVI Hotel and Tourism Association and its members are pleased to congratulate the first graduates of the University of the Virgin Islands Hospitality Degree Program – Darisa Bobb, Kayresha Collins-Corum, and Wilford Blyden.
UVI began offering classes for the Hospitality Program in the spring of 2012. It is part of a four-year bachelor’s program in Hospitality and Tourism Management. The program has thrived working by its mission statement: “To prepare students academically and professionally for leadership opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industry.” UVI works with several tourism-based groups to provide the students with scholarships, internships and future opportunities.
“I like to tell people that when I found UVI, I found my long lost family,” said graduate Collins-Corum. “We all just had this connection all because we believed so passionately in people and excellent customer service. As a team, we worked twice as hard every day to bring awareness to our program because we knew it was still new.”
USVIHTA and its members have become an integral part of the program as several members provide internship opportunities, which account for approximately 200 to 300 hours of each student’s education. Internships begin during a student’s sophomore year, with another occurring between junior and senior year. Students participate in tours, site visits, lectures, hospitality community projects and special events, laboratory experiences, and more.
If you have not yet added your business to the growing list to host an intern, we strongly encourage you to. UVI also urges individuals in the community to volunteer to be a guest speaker at the university, explaining the industry and what it takes to be a successful part of it.
Graduate Blyden encouraged businesses in the community to become involved, noting that he enjoyed learning more about the industry through guest speakers and internship opportunities. He also commented on the importance of field experience in teaching students about real-world situations they may encounter.
“I look forward to facing the challenges that surround this industry,” said Bobb, another graduate. “As I progress into the future, I trust that I would continue to be the best at what I choose to do and to be an example to my schoolmates behind me and those who will join the program in coming years.”
If you are interested in hosting a student intern or being a guest speaker for the program, contact Director of Hospitality and Tourism Management Tamara Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org.