Stephen F. Austin State University

News

SFA assistant professor completes faculty internship with Marriott

June 30, 2016 - University Marketing Communications
Dr. Mary Olle, assistant professor in Stephen F. Austin State University's School of Human Sciences, recently completed a four-day faculty internship with Marriott at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine. Pictured, from left, are Monette Stockton, Gaylord director of convention services; Olle; Ashley Castillo, director of restaurants; and Mark Beaupre, director of food and beverage.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - From the moment she stepped through the resort's doors, she was in awe of her surroundings. Decorations with an "Alice in Wonderland" theme brought back childhood memories, while a replica of the San Antonio River Walk transported her to the historic Texas city.

Recently, Dr. Mary Olle, assistant professor in Stephen F. Austin State University's School of Human Sciences, completed a four-day faculty internship with Marriott at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine.

"It was such a wonderful experience and learning opportunity," Olle said. "I had a behind-the-scenes view of hotel operations and met stars and leaders, as Gaylord employees are called, from human resources, housekeeping, banquet, food and beverage operations, public relations, and more to observe them work."

Olle, who worked in the hospitality industry for six years before becoming an SFA faculty member, teaches introduction to the hospitality industry, travel and tourism, management in meal production, and administration and promotion of beverages. She said participating in this internship helped update her industry knowledge.

"I was the only faculty intern there, and I interviewed and shadowed hotel stars and leaders every day," Olle said. "They gave me pertinent information that I will bring back to my students such as knowledge on the latest technologies, management styles, policies, procedures and more."

The internship also included a corporate overview and field-based practical work experience.

Olle said each day was packed with activities and meetings. For example, she shadowed the culinary team one day and met Mark Beaupre, director of food and beverage, to learn how the Gaylord prepares meals for banquets, guests and catering endeavors. Olle said she plans to use many of the situations she experienced during her internship as case studies in her SFA courses.

"During this experience, I realized even more that you have to have a passion for what you do," Olle said. "There is a place for everyone in hospitality whether you're interested in event coordinating, finance, accounting or culinary aspects."