Cal State students pose with Chancellor Timothy White, the head of the largest public higher education system in the world.

Cal State students with CSU Chancellor Timothy White (center) in San Diego on May 1. At far left is Mihaylo College student Edwin Valenzuela ’15

Mihaylo Entertainment and Tourism Management Professor Ellen Kim and student Edwin Valenzuela ’15 met with CSU Chancellor Timothy White and the advisory board and program leaders of the CSU Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Initiative to discuss hospitality programs in the Cal State system.

Southern California is among the major tourist destinations in the United States. Direct travel spending in California totaled $117.5 billion in 2014, supporting more than 1 million jobs in the state. In Orange County, home to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, world-famous beaches and premier shopping destinations, nearly 45 million tourists visited in 2013, spending a record $9.6 billion. Despite the obvious importance of entertainment and tourism on the local economy, CSU Fullerton is the only public institution of higher learning in the county to offer a degree program in the hospitality industry, which includes lodging, event planning, tourist transportation and amusement park management.

Mihaylo Management Professor Ellen Kim, who teaches entertainment and tourism management (ETM) courses and serves as the lead faculty of the college’s hospitality program, joined Mihaylo Entertainment and Tourism student Edwin Valenzuela ’15 in representing CSU Fullerton at the annual CSU Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Initiative meeting on May 1. The event, held on the campus of San Diego State University, featured CSU Chancellor Timothy White, his staff, CSU Pomona President Soraya Coley and advisory board and program leaders of the CSU Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Initiative (HTMEI), which seeks to establish the Cal State system as a leading educational network for students interested in the industry.

“The meeting included a student Q and A session in which Valenzuela and other student panelists shared their interest in the hospitality industry, what they have learned through their university’s programs and questions for program advisors,” Kim says.

In addition to his studies, Valenzuela has been active in the hospitality industry for the past five years by working for hospitality companies such as the Titan Student Union Food Services and the Hotel Irvine.

Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College Behind the Scenes entertainment club students and program faculty at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, California in 2015.

Mihaylo Behind the Scenes club members meet at the Pelican Hill Resort. Professor Kim is at the far left; fifth from left in the background is Ralph Grippo, president of resort properties for The Irvine Company and a member of the Center for Entertainment and Management Advisory Board; and third from the right in the background is Mihaylo Entertainment and Tourism Management Professor Jennifer Chandler

Currently, about 200 Mihaylo students are part of the ETM program, to prepare for careers in hospitality/tourism or media. Kim acts as the advisor for the hospitality/tourism program and was featured in the “My Favorite Professor” article in the winter/spring 2015 edition of Titan Magazine.

“Experience is very important in finding jobs in management or leadership training programs upon graduation,” she says. Among the opportunities the Mihaylo program offers is membership in Behind the Scenes, a student club exclusive to entertainment and tourism students. The club hosts field trips to local hospitality businesses, including the Irvine Company resorts, Morongo Casino Resort and Spa, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, as well as an annual hospitality human resource panel discussion. Internships and part-time jobs are also essential for career success. Interested students should visit the Mihaylo Career Center or contact Kim at eukim@fullerton.edu.