Learning by Doing

By Sara Freedman on Oct. 24, 2016
Tyler Spragg

Tyler Spragg, '18
Hospitality Managment

Why did you choose the hospitality management program at OSU-Cascades?

I paid for my education at Chemeketa Community College by working in restaurants and hotels, where I developed a passion for the industry. Looking forward to the next chapter of my education, OSU–Cascades and the hospitality management degree stood out to me for several reasons:

  1. Hospitality management programs typically have the highest job placement of any degree
  2. OSU-Cascades offers a hands-on personalized education with smaller classroom sizes
  3. The built-in business minor allows me to continue studying within the general scope of business
  4. Outstanding campus location in the hospitality mecca of Bend, Oregon
  5. Focus on internships and real life application, with local and international opportunities

What have you enjoyed about the program?

I have really enjoyed the diverse coursework. I have absorbed insights into not only hospitality but business principles, entrepreneurship, eco-tourism and sustainable practices. It has been a very healthy balance that has expanded my worldview and fortified my understanding and passion of the industry.

Another aspect of the hospitality management degree that I have really enjoyed is the entrepreneurial nature of being a part of an emerging program. Being the oldest of four, I have always loved “trail-blazing” and the process of finding creative solutions to unique obstacles.

In the spring I took an entrepreneurship class where we were asked to come up with a mock business proposal and go through the steps to actualizing these ideas into a business. There were some pretty great ideas and diverse approaches around the class that we were able to analyze and learn from. The group I was in worked off the idea of a bike share program for the new OSU–Cascades campus. We also regularly had guest speakers in class who offered fantastic insights from their own experience to complement the lectures and lessons given by Todd Montgomery, the hospitality management program director. I love how I was able to immediately apply those lessons and insights to my daily life and future goals. It was a tremendously inspiring course!

Tell us about your internships and why they are important to your degree program.

At OSU–Cascades, there are three required internships to complete while working towards an HM degree. These are designed to help teach practical skills, apply theory to practice and build a foundation of real-world hospitality experience.

I completed my first internship this summer with The Pine Ridge Inn, working with social media marketing and the housekeeping department. Some duties outlined in this internship included a collaborative management of social media promotions with the General Manager as well as participation in developing & implementing a Standard Operating Procedure for the housekeeping department. I learned many fruitful lessons such as navigating and interpreting Facebook insights for business profiles, how to devise a marketing strategy and constantly evolve it with a business’ customers, and how an explicitly clear job description leads to higher employee performance and morale.

International internship opportunities are a great benefit to us HM students here at OSU–Cascades. Tourism & Hospitality is a massive world-wide industry that I am really chomping at the bit to explore. I am eagerly working towards an internship on the other end of the Pacific Ocean for next summer!

Where are you headed after graduation?

My ultimate goal is start up an all-inclusive resort out in paradise, providing a complete escape from the day-to-day grind by offering luxury in a beautiful environment and the opportunity to integrate with the locals, and experience the land as they do, through a symbiotic relationship with those indigenous cultures.