One of the largest international hotel services, Marriott offers this program as part of their University Programs. Students in these programs take part in internships and post-graduation opportunities within the hospitality industry.
Only 500-800 are chosen in this selective process. With three out of 29 Missouri State hospitality leadership graduates being selected, roughly 10% of the program graduates are participating in this program.
“The Voyager Program is very selective and elite,” said Dr. Kara Wolfe, department head of hospitality leadership. “Having our graduates selected to participate in the program is a testament to their hard work, dedication to the industry and preparation they received in school.”
The students are participating in various locations across the U.S.:
- Sydnee Backstrom in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Preslee Crowl in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Ayreana Shephard in Denver, Colorado.
Shephard, a spring 2023 graduate from Kansas City, Missouri, is excited to begin her new adventure near the mountains.
“My program will take place at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Denver,” she said. “It’ll start on July 10 and last for roughly 12 weeks. My main responsibility will be overseeing dining experiences for guests at the resort.”
Shephard graduated with a load of expertise in hospitality: a bachelor’s in hospitality leadership with emphases in food and beverage operations, senior living management and club management, in addition to three certificates in essentials of hospitality management, food and beverage management and advanced hospitality leadership. She also frequently worked at Carrie’s Café, a seasonal and student-led restaurant located on campus.
She can’t wait to put her extensive experience to use.
“I’m so honored that I got this position before graduation,” Shephard said. “Marriott has done so much for me, and I’m thrilled for my journey. Moving feels both amazing and nerve-wracking.”
She can’t forget who helped her along the way.
“The hospitality department is wonderful and Dr. Liza Cobos is someone I want to personally thank for everything she’s done for me,” Shephard said. “I can’t think of a better professor and mentor! Her impact furthers the reason I love our industry and department.”