Isenberg Business Innovation Hub
Student Voices

Finding a Home in Hospitality

Head shot of a smiling UMass student

For Sara Lynch, the decision to come to UMass was not an easy one to make. Having toured only two of the multiple schools she applied to—UMass being one of them—due to social distancing restrictions, she did not know what to expect. It was only after speaking with one of her friends who attended UMass and hearing of the endless opportunities for academic and personal growth that she was convinced that it was just the place for her.

Currently in her junior year, Sara entered UMass as a finance major but shifted gears to operations and information management (OIM) during her sophomore year as it resonated with her career goals more closely. Intrigued by her passion for event management and the hospitality industry, she decided to add a secondary major in hospitality and tourism management (HTM).

Group photo of UMass HTM students in business attire

These twists and turns in her academic career have given Sara the opportunity to reflect on her growth over the past few years at UMass. “When I began college, I was quite close-minded and was hesitant to try out new things”, she said.

Sara considers enrolling in the HTM program as one of her finest decisions due to its supportive faculty, close-knit student community, and the abundance of opportunities for professional advancement. Initiated into the program through the encouragement of Professor Melissa Baker, she is grateful for the numerous opportunities that it has provided. One particular opportunity that stood out to Sara was the HTM New Student Welcome Reception organized by the department. At this event, first-year and newly declared HTM majors have the chance to connect with each other and with alumni to gain insights into the career prospects in the dynamic field. This was followed by an alumni expert panel discussion on professional development.  

Outside of classes, Sara is extensively involved in the UMass chapter of the Club Management Association of America (CMAA), where she works to optimize the management and operations of clubs and advise club managers throughout the country. The experience and skills she gained through CMAA helped her in her role as a production assistant intern at Kate Murtaugh Events and Design studio over the summer, where she gained valuable skills in optimizing daily operations and improving vendor outreach. Currently, she works as a special events intern in the UMass Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Hailing from Kingston, Massachusetts, situated only a couple of hours away from Amherst, Sara has been able to make herself at home at UMass over the years. With lifelong friendships, professional connections, and a spirit of adventure, she looks forward to everything the rest of her time at UMass has to offer to her.