College of the Albemarle Hospitality and Tourism program

Visiting recent graduates of the College of the Albemarle Hospitality and Tourism program are, from left, Dr. Robert Wynegar, Jeremy Miller and Jodie O’Sullivan from the Hilton, honorees and Hilton employees Pei-Hua Shen and Dustin D. Lugay, Heather Fortner of the Hilton and Dean Tim Sweeney.

College of the Albemarle graduates Dustin D. Lugay and Pei-Hua Shen got a surprise when COA President Robert Wynegar and Dean Tim Sweeney visited the recent Hospitality and Tourism graduates at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk.

            Lugay and Shen graduated from COA’s Hospitality and Tourism Program on April 26. Both students completed the program and received Reservations Certification, Housekeeping Certification and Maintenance Certification.

            Jodie O’Sullivan, Human Resources Manager at the Hilton Garden Inn, said, “They are our first two international interns to complete the program and we are excited to tell staff the same opportunities are available to them at COA. Investing in our staff’s education adds to their drive and passion to work. COA’s Hospitality and Tourism program opens an avenue for us to have quality employees.”

            Lugay said, “Our teacher, Tina Bradley, helped us learn how to handle the many tourists we would come in contact with and how to be hospitable at all times.” He also noted that he hopes to work his way up to become a hotel manager. Shen has been crossed training in several areas to implement the knowledge she learned in the COA program.

            “Graduates from the COA Hospitality program are ready upon graduation to step into the work world of tourism. Our partnerships with OBX hotels and real estate companies enable our students to be hired immediately into full time positions and, with their certification, an opportunity for advancement in the Tourism Industry. Scholarships are available for all our students who apply to the program through the Outer Banks Community Foundation. It’s a win-win for the students and our partners here in the Outer Banks of North Carolina,” said Dean Sweeney.

            The visit is part of COA’s Alumni Connect initiative as connections are made with local businesses that employ COA graduates.

            The Outer Banks is built on hospitality and COA is excited to be able to bring its Hospitality and Tourism program to a place of business or have students take classes at the Dare County Campus located in Manteo. For information on the program, visit albemarle.edu/tourism online or call Sherri May at 252-473-2264 ext. 7511.

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