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College of the Ozarks Hospitality seniors travel to Austin, Texas

During spring break 10 seniors from the hospitality management and culinary department went to Austin, Texas for a glimpse into what their career field could look like. Dr. Lamae Koogler, professor of hospitality management, and Executive Chef Robert Stricklin traveled with the students.


Students stayed at a camp and conference center called Highland Lakes where two College of the Ozarks alumni Elizabeth Gates and Mikayla Peterson now work and live. They toured the kitchen on site and learned how they feed hundreds of campers and conference members. They also toured the whole camp to see the activities and spaces they have for events, breakout sessions, and meetings, and lodging areas for guests.


Students also visited a high-end resort named Horseshoe Bay. They talked with the executive chef of each of the seven restaurants on property. They learned how each restaurant maintains brand integrity but also has distinct elements that make them unique from the other restaurants. They learned how a resort operates on large scales and caters not only to first-time guests but also members of the resort.


Students also had the opportunity to be tourists themselves as they tried new foods in the downtown Austin area, visited shops and boutiques, and learned about food trucks which are becoming increasingly more popular in the hospitality industry. Students also stopped in Waco, Texas, to visit the very popular Magnolia Silos.


“This was a great trip for the students,” said Dr. Lamae Koogler. “They had a lot of fun and learned a lot as well. It is one of my favorite things to see these students flourish as they prepare to enter their career path after coming through my department. It is amazing to see how they have matured in their personal lives and what they have learned in their major over the past four years of instructing them. These students have bright futures as they start their new journeys.”

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