The First Two PhDs in Hospitality Management Awarded

By: Graduate Studies on

The commencement on May 7, 2016, was extra special for the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. On that day Rosen College celebrated with Marissa Orlowski and Yoshimasa “Nancy” Kageyama, the first two graduates in the Hospitality Management PhD program. 

Marissa Orlowski spent more than 15 years in the hospitality industry and developed an interest in the employee/manager side of hospitality organizations, particularly food and beverage operations. Her dissertation, Team Cohesion in the Restaurant Industry: The Influence of Core Evaluations, focuses on the influence of individual personality traits on the emergence of team cohesion within restaurant management teams.

While earning her MBA at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Orlowski worked as Catering Manager at Walt Disney World. “Much of what we were discussing in class I was observing at my job, and that sparked my interest in the connection between academia and industry,” she explains. She also had to opportunity to teach and train while at Disney and realized how much she enjoyed teaching. Deciding to pursue her PhD, Orlowski chose the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF because of the combined resources of the school and the city of Orlando.

When asked what she appreciated most about her program, Orlowski replied, “At Rosen, there have been so many professors who influenced me… too many to name! Of course Abraham Pizam, PhD, my dissertation chair. I also enjoyed taking electives in other colleges, which allowed me to broaden my knowledge base in the areas that were most relevant to my research interests. I came to the program most worried about statistics. Thanks to professors Jackie Zhang, PhD, and Stephen Sivo, PhD, who made everything so understandable and relatable, I added a Quantitative Methods certificate to my vita. I love the analytical side of research!”

Orlowski is Secretary of the Orlando Chapter of the U.S. Bartender’s Guild, a UCF Graduate Dean’s Fellow (2012–2016), and recipient of the Etta Jean and Frank Juge Graduate Fellowship Endowment (2015).

Nancy Kageyama began working in the hospitality industry when she was in college and found that she enjoyed the interaction with people, which led to her pursuing a master’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She decided to move to academia to be engaged in the world of Hospitality Management through teaching future hospitality professionals, conducting research with practical implications for the industry, and providing consulting services for companies.

Kageyama’s dissertation, The Effect of Employee Behaviors on Consumers’ Emotions and Behavioral Intentions in Positive Service Encounters, examines how different types of employee behaviors can influence customers’ positive emotions – such as gratitude and delight – and how those positive emotions can have an impact on dissimilar types of customers’ behavioral intentions. This research provides practical implications for the industry regarding critical employee behaviors for generating favorable customer behaviors, which hotel managers can use in employee selection and training.

Like Orlowski, Kageyama chose to pursue her doctorate at Rosen College in part due to the resources available in Orlando, where the abundant hospitality companies provide partnership opportunities. The well-recognized faculty at Rosen also played a role in her decision, and she has continually appreciated how supportive the faculty have been. “Their exemplary behaviors of striving for excellence in what they do inspire me to achieve greatness in the things I do,” she states. She is continually motivated by her mentor, Heejung Ro, PhD. “Her exemplary manner of conducting quality research has taught me about how to be a good researcher with principles.”

Kageyama was honored to be able to present her research at various academic conferences in Europe and Asia, including the International Conference on Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports in Taipei, Taiwan, in January 2016. She also received the UCF Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship in Spring 2016 for her demonstrated ability to complete high quality dissertation research.

Orlowski has accepted an Assistant Professor position with Rosen College, and Kageyama intends to pursue an Assistant Professor position as well as offer her knowledge to hospitality companies to help improve their performance.


Marissa Orlowski and Nancy Kageyama 
From left to right: Marissa Orlowski and Nancy Kageyama

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