Semester at Sea’s partnership with Colorado State University extends well beyond a partnership between the organizations. Two graduates of CSU’s Master of Tourism Management program are continuing their passion for the domestic and global travel industry with employment positions at SAS.
Shami Loose was hired in early February as executive assistant to the president and CEO and board relations, a few months prior to her graduation from the online MTM program.
“A colleague sailed with Semester at Sea as a student and worked with them as a professional and he would light up every time he talked about his experience,” Loose said.
Loose, a 17-year CSU employee, brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to SAS and is excited to facilitate the integration of the two institutional cultures. She works with CEO and President Loren Crabtree to help foster the development of a leadership team for Semester at Sea.
Hallie Smyth, also a graduate of the MTM program, became familiar with SAS through her mother-in-law, who sailed in 1967.
“As soon as she found out that SAS was moving to Fort Collins, she emailed me about the partnership with CSU,” Smyth said.
Smyth will be using the marketing, design and social media skills she learned from MTM in her new position as an administrative assistant for SAS. She previously worked for other major tourist corporations including Expedia.com and Visit Estes. Her work history and education play a vital role in helping her to support, coordinate and contribute to the SAS culture.
“The MTM program and SAS are both focused on global education ad comparatives,” Smyth said. “It is a really great marriage between the two [organizations].”
A natural partnership
The partnership between Semester at Sea and Colorado State University began June 2016 but the transition of moving the program to Fort Collins has been in the works for the past year.
HR Director for SAS Michelle Dietz explained how proud SAS is to have CSU as its academic partner. She said the partnership is a natural and ideal fit for both institutions.
“CSU combines intellectual classroom pursuits with hands-on experience in the field and laboratory — similar in approach to the SAS global comparative experiential learning model,” Dietz said.
Under the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources in the Warner College of Natural Resources, CSU’s dynamic MTM program produces some of the most competitive tourism graduates in the nation. The nine-month program is a cohort-based master’s degree path that prepares students for myriad positions in the global tourism industry.
Alongside prominent industry leaders, the MTM program was developed to feature innovative coursework. Topics such as sustainable practices, strategic management, eco-tourism, communications and tourism marketing are featured in the online or on-campus course catalogue. The program is customizable for specific areas of interest within the tourism industry.
Loose praised the MTM program for its “strength, reputation, flexibility and faculty interactions.”
According to Dietz, CSU’s education model played a vital role in selecting Loose, Smyth and other new hires for Semester at Sea.
A semester and a career
Semester at Sea is a global study abroad opportunity that has existed since 1963 and offers a dynamic, life-changing experience for students, faculty, staff and professionals. The new academic partnership with Colorado State is the first of its kind for SAS, which welcomes students from dozens of colleges and universities on each 10-week voyage. Fort Collins-based home office staff is supplemented by temporary employees (including both faculty and staff positions) who sail for a semester-long voyage of education and discovery.
For more education abroad or career opportunities in Fort Collins or at sea, visit the Semester at Sea website.