Concentration: Hotel, Tourism and Events; Graduated: 2013
Publish Date: June 23, 2015
After a year of classes, MSU Denver sophomore Kelsie Hutchinson wanted a change.
Browsing the University’s course catalog, Hutchinson read the description for Introduction to Hospitality, Tourism and Events and enrolled in the course. Immediately she knew she had found her calling.
“I was drawn to the glamour of traveling and staying in different resorts,” she explained. “It was the idea of potentially traveling for a living.”
As an HTE major, Hutchinson thrived in the program’s experiential learning environment, earning a place at commencement as the College of Professional Studies’ outstanding student. “The program required us to work while in school,” she said. (All HTE majors must work 1,200 hours as employees or interns in the field to graduate.) “That requirement helped me find a job because I already had experience going into the workforce. Making us do that gave me more experience than other candidates.”
As a student, Hutchinson worked as a trip assistant for tourism professor Helle Sorensen (B.A. individualized studies ’98), helping to plan study trips to Scandinavia, the Caribbean and Namibia, Africa. Hutchinson also interned at the travel agency Africa Adventure Consultants and served as a visitor information specialist for Visit Denver, helping tourists connect to the city.
She got to stretch her own wings, traveling to Borneo as a student in Sorensen’s peripatetic eco-tourism class and studying abroad for a semester in Ireland.
Along the way, Hutchinson learned that tourism wasn’t all four-star hotels and palm trees. There were also Borneo’s pit vipers and long hours at the computer. Nonetheless, she hopes to eventually combine her events planning and travel industry skills into one career.
“I am grateful that I went to MSU Denver,” she said. “Because it was more affordable, I was able to study abroad twice. If I had gone to a more expensive school, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that.”