Southeast Hospitality Management Student Pursues Passion in the Peaks with Mountain Resort Internship

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Southeast Missouri State University senior Jamie Shultz had never stepped foot on a ski resort before December. Now, the hospitality management major can be found at Kirkwood Mountain Resort overseeing daily operations for the resort’s ticketing team.

Shultz is completing an internship at the Kirkwood, California, resort before she graduates in May, and has spent the last four months working as a ticketing scanning lead for the resort.

She applied for the position, and after two weeks and a series of interviews, Shultz said she was thrilled to learn she’d been chosen for the internship.

“I had never been to a ski resort before,” she said. “I thought it would be a new, exciting experience to learn how a ski resort operated. I also have always wanted to live in California, so I took the opportunity while I had it.”

When she’s not overseeing ticketing associates, training and coaching, or ensuring guest satisfaction, Shultz might even be found on the slopes herself — including the most difficult slope, “the Wall.”

“I started this season having never touched a snowboard,” she said. “To be able to say I rode down the Wall, some of the most difficult riding terrain in the United States, feels very accomplishing!”

But she’s polished more than just her snowboarding skills.

“I have gained leadership skills while receiving my promotion as a ticket scanning lead,” she said. “I have learned how to step in for my team if needed and resolve guest complications. This has helped my communication skills immensely.”

When her internship comes to an end in mid-April, Shultz said she’ll take the skills and experience she’s gained from Kirkwood Mountain Resort with her into her career — including a firsthand understanding of how a pandemic impacts a mountain resort.

“There are also many policies put in place to ensure guest and employee safety,” Shultz said of COVID-19 policies. “There is a strict mask rule at the resort. There is also no indoor seating to reduce the risk of exposure. Maze lines at the lifts were also mapped to help conduct social distancing guidelines.”

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Shultz learned to adapt.

“Luckily, everyone made the most of it and worked together to create the solutions needed to make the most of the experience,” she said.

With graduation just around the corner, she reflected on how Southeast has helped develop her passion for hospitality management.

“I have a big appreciation for the hospitality management professors at Southeast,” she said. “I changed my major to hospitality management two years ago. I was hesitant going into a completely new field. After stepping into their classrooms, I realized I made the right choice. Dr. [Quantella] Noto, Lisa “Chef” Essmyer and Dr. [Nicholas] Johnston helped show me my love for hospitality. I will be forever thankful for them and my time at Southeast.”

Next, Shultz plans to pursue a master’s degree in global business and economics and hopes to continue working at resorts in the future. She also has a personal goal to visit the Seven Wonders of the World.

“I have visited three so far; Machu Picchu in Peru, Coliseum in Rome, Italy, and Chichen Itza in Mexico,” she said. “I hope to knock the rest of the four off my list in the years to come!”

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