USCB Hospitality Management Students Earn Recognition from State, City and University

BLUFFTON, S.C. (May 19, 2015) – Four students in the Hospitality Management Program at the University of South Carolina Beaufort have been honored by the State of South Carolina, the City of Savannah, Ga., or the university for their scholarship and service as research assistants this year.

Catherine Moorman receives hospitality industry awardCatherine Moorman, a junior who served as Lead Research Assistant for the Lowcountry and Resort Islands Tourism Institute, was selected as a winner of the 2015 Tourism Student of the Year Award by the South Carolina Travel and Tourism Coalition. She received a scholarship award of $1,000 from Gov. Nikki Haley at a luncheon April 23 in Columbia.

Tourism student awards recognize South Carolina’s outstanding full-time students from college and university hospitality programs throughout the state. Each nominee is selected by the school’s faculty on the basis of academic excellence and demonstrated commitment to the field of hospitality. Each college or university may nominate one student for the award each year.

Moorman is pursuing a Hospitality Management major and a minor in Business Administration. She has an excellent grade point average and has earned membership on the Dean’s List at USCB for five semesters and the President’s List for two semesters. She is a member of the national collegiate foreign language honor society and has been a South Carolina Palmetto Fellows Scholarship recipient for the past three years.

In addition to her scholastic achievements and her service to the tourism institute, Moorman has worked as a recreation cast member at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort for three years. She is originally from Fort Mill.

Sydney Palad, who just completed her junior year at USCB, was the 2015 Tourism Leadership Council Scholarship Award Winner. She received a $1,000 scholarship award at the 17th annual Tourism Awards black-tie gala in March sponsored by the Tourism Leadership Council, a business association supporting companies in tourism, hospitality and related industries. It maintains its headquarters in Savannah, Ga.

Originally from the Philippines, Palad has lived in Beaufort for seven years. She will be a senior at USCB in the fall. As a research assistant, she performs field research, gathering information from tourists and visitors for market research reports.

Originally from Cloquet, Minn., USCB student Kenzie Rathe, a rising sophomore, was named the Lead Research Assistant of the Year. She was nominated for the position by the two lead research assistants, Moorman and Kelli Brunson, the 2014 Tourism Leadership Council Scholarship Award Winner.

In addition to maintaining a very high GPA, Rathe organizes the database that supports the tourism organization’s market research efforts. She also works as a front desk agent at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.

Research Assistant Randi Parton, who won the Hospitality Management Program Award at the university’s 2015 Academic Awards Ceremony last week, was honored for maintaining an excellent GPA, serving as an exemplary role model, earning Dean’s List Honors and volunteering as a USCB Career Services Counselor and a research assistant for the Lowcountry and Resort Islands Tourism Institute. She is originally from West Lebanon, N.H.

“The average GPA for students in the Hospitality Management Program is 2.78,” says John Salazar, Ph.D., CHE, professor of Hospitality Management and director of the Lowcountry and Resort Islands Tourism Institute. “But the average GPA for our research assistants is 3.50, so you can see there is a significant difference in academic performance. Our research assistants are intelligent, perceptive, warm and engaging. It’s nice to know that they have been recognized internally by the university and externally by the City of Savannah and the State of South Carolina.”

More than two million visitors a year travel to Hilton Head Island and the historic town of Beaufort. The Hospitality Management Program at USCB prepares its graduates to build successful careers in the tourism industry in the Lowcountry or in any location in the U.S. or around the world.


Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 600), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university’s two campuses serve a diverse student body of 1,800 students. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, SC, offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. It is home to Sand Shark athletics. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort’s downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort’s many art galleries. Students enjoy opportunities on Hilton Head Island, including the USCB Center for Event Management and a Coastal Ecology research partnership with Vagabond Cruise. USCB serves 1,500 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) members, who participate in more than 1 million course hours annually, placing OLLI at USCB in the top 10 in the country. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

For more information on the Hospitality Management Program at USCB, contact John Salazar, Ph.D., CHE, at (843) 208-8217 or write