About Lowcountry and Resort Islands Tourism Institute
The LRITI is affiliated with the Department of Hospitality Management at University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB). USCB is located in the pristine Lowcountry region of South Carolina. The Lowcountry community is comprised of Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, and Hampton Counties. In addition, the world class destination and Atlantic coast barrier island Hilton Head Island is the economic engine for our community. View the videos below that describe the Hospitality Management program and USCB.
Dr. John Salazar is the Director of the LRITI and a Professor of Hospitality and Tourism at USCB. He has conducted research for many state, regional, and national tourism agencies. In addition, he has served as a consultant to a variety of hospitality organizations and corporations.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Kelli Amanda Brunson is from Manning, SC, a small town about two hours from the Lowcountry. She found herself at USCB after deciding that she wanted to remain in a small learning environment. Ms. Brunson is a senior studying Hospitality and English, and she wishes to work at a Chamber of Commerce after she graduates in May 2016. She has previously worked for the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce and for Holladay House Publishing, both in Manning, SC, and the Tourism Leadership Council in Savannah, GA. Currently, Ms. Brunson serves as a Research Assistant for LRITI, focusing on compiling the graphs and zip-code analysis for the reports from the local festivals and events.
Catherine Grace Moorman is from Fort Mill, SC. She chose USC Beaufort for the location and hospitality program. She is studying Hospitality, Business Administration, and Spanish at USCB. After graduating in May 2016, she plans to look into the cruise line industry and or marketing research. Currently, she works in Recreation with The Walt Disney Company and as a research assistant for LRITI. With LRITI, she focuses on maintaining the LRITI Facebook and LinkedIn pages with news and articles pertaining to the Lowcountry and the tourism industry as a whole.
Kenzie Taylor Rathe, originally from Cloquet, Minnesota, attended Salem College in North Carolina as an athlete for her first two semesters of college. She transferred to USCB in pursuit of studying Hospitality Management at the beginning of her sophomore year and continues to play soccer. After she graduates, her dream is to become an event planner. Currently, Ms. Rathe is participating in the Disney College Program in Florida until January 2016.
Sydney Cez Palad has lived in Beaufort for seven years now. Ms. Palad is currently a senior at USCB majoring Hospitality Management and minoring in Spanish. She also serves as the secretary of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society at USCB. Living in three different countries, observing three different cultures, and working at the restaurant industry for almost five years has helped her decide to pursue a degree in hospitality. Currently, Ms. Palad works as an accounts receivable administration for an insurance company. After graduation, she would like to broaden her horizons with a career in international tourism.
Edwin Glass is from Beaufort, SC and is studying Hospitality Management at USCB. He has served at Truffles for the past two years, and he helps to conduct on-site surveys for LRITI.
Nicholas Todd Curry is originally from Princeton, New Jersey and is currently a junior at USCB studying Hospitality Management. He chose USCB for the location and Hospitality program after a family job transfer with Delta Air Lines relocated him to the South Carolina Lowcountry. From traveling to over 10 different countries and being raised in Venice, Italy to attend school, he fell in love with the Hospitality and Tourism industry at a young age. Mr. Curry currently works for the Savannah Airport Commission in Savannah, Georgia and also as a Research Assistant for LRITI assisting with Zip Code Analysis. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in Aviation Management.
Meghan Armento is from Kennesaw, Georgia and moved down to the Lowcountry after she finished her sophomore year of college in North Georgia. She transferred to USCB into the hospitality management program with small class sizes. She is also involved in a few campus organizations such as the Gamma Beta Phi honor society and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Ms. Armento plans to graduate in April 2016 and hopes to move to Savannah, GA to work in the hotel industry.
Ariel Knight was raised in the town of Marion, South Carolina. She is currently a sophomore at USCB majoring in Hospitality Management. After graduating from USCB in 2018, she wants to obtain her Associates Degree in Culinary Arts with a concentration in Baking Pastry Arts. One day, Ms. Knight hopes to open up her own restaurant, preferably a bakery in South Carolina.
Dana S. Barry was born and raised in a small city outside Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Georgia eight years ago. Last year, she earned her Associates of Science Degree in Hospitality and Tourism at the Technical College of the Low Country and decided to continue her education in Hospitality Management at USCB. As a senior, she continues to look for ways to grow personally, professionally, and to make an impact with her community. When she graduates, she plans on opening her own business that caters to individuals in her community or working for a large chain hotel.
Logan Welliver is currently a senior at USCB. He is originally from Aiken, SC. He currently works as a recreation attendant at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff as he finishes his degree in Hospitality Management. As he works with the LRITI Research Assistants, he hopes to gain new experiences with this research.
Maggie Creeden has lived in Hilton Head her entire life, and she loves it here. She transferred from USC Columbia in the fall of 2015 to finish her degree in Hospitality with a concentration in meeting and event planning. Outside of school, she works at White House Black Market as a sales lead manager.
Carrie Elizabeth Myers is currently a sophomore at USCB studying Hospitality and English. She decided to minor in English when she discovered a passion for writing through participating in the communications club. She hopes to become a marketing and social media analyst after graduating in 2018.
Erin Walker is a San Diego native who has been in the Lowcountry for the last 4 years living in Beaufort. She currently owns a walking food tour company and serves in her community as an Ambassador for the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce, Volunteer Coordinator for Main Street Beaufort, USA, and member of Junior Service League of Beaufort. She is currently in the Beaufort Leadership Class of 2016.
Brandon H. Stauffer is originally from Pennsylvania, but has called the south his home for the past thirteen years. He is a senior in the Hospitality Management program at USCB. He is currently the president of Gamma Betta Phi National Honor Society and frequently volunteers in his community. Upon Brandon H. Stauffer his degree, Mr. Stauffer hopes to move out west to be a Director of Housekeeping in Las Vegas.
Research Associate: Anton Abraham
Anton Abraham is a visiting research associate from Germany. He studied Sociology and History in Dresden, Bordeaux and Berlin and received his Master’s of Sociology in 2013 at the University of Technology in Dresden, Germany. At the same university, Abraham worked in different positions (project coordination and management) for many years. Since January 2016, he has worked to develop, manage, and analyze research projects for LRITI.
Assistant Director of LRITI: Dr. Nancy Hritz
Dr. Nancy Hritz joined the University of South Carolina Beaufort in the fall of 2015. Prior to that she was at the University of North Carolina Wilmington for nine years where she was Coordinator and Director of the Coastal Hospitality Research Group. She has completed multiple research projects in the professional sphere that include visitor profiles, conversion studies, and impact studies.
Jasmine Perez is originally from Orlando, FL and moved to South Carolina in 2010. She transferred to USCB in 2015, and is expected to graduate in May 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management. Mrs. Perez has worked for years as a hotel front desk agent, and she hopes to one day become the general manager of a high-end hotel.
Drew O'Brien has lived in Bluffton his entire life. He is junior at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and started attending after graduating from Bluffton High School. Mr. O'Brien is also an Eagle Scout, and he would like work in eco-tourism.