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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Members of the Ph.D. in hospitality management program pose for a photo in a garden alongside director Kathy Kim.

Our Ph.D. Students

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is home to one of the nation’s premier graduate programs with a leading-edge curriculum and an innovative learning environment emphasizing leadership development for current and future researchers and educators. We are home to four research centers with internationally renowned faculty experts in tourism policy, destination management and marketing, human resources, customer decision making, revenue management, foodservice management, lodging and governance, among others.

Meet our Ph.D. Students 

As one of our Ph.D students, you'll have opportunities for research, field studies and work experience in premier national and international tourist destinations in an atmosphere that cultivates the lifelong business relationships and networking opportunities you’ll need to advance your career. 

Katheldra Alexander headshot

Katheldra Alexander

Katheldra Alexander is a native of the Bahamas but has lived in North Carolina for 19 years. She graduated with a degree in hospitality management from Bethune-Cookman University and a M.S. in organizational leadership and change from Pfeiffer University.

Alexander has more than 20 years of industry experience specifically onsite foodservice operations servicing the higher education and corporate dining sectors. She has taught hospitality courses at the University of the Bahamas and held other training roles throughout her career. Her research interests include restaurant and food safety, diversity, equity and inclusion, and leadership and training. Katheldra is an inaugural fellow of the 2022 Bloomin’ Brands DE&I Fellowship for AHED (Alliance for Hospitality Equity & Diversity).

Alex Arhin headshot

Alex Arhin

Alex Arhin is from the Central Region of Ghana, West Africa. Arhin received his B.S. in tourism management from the University of Cape Coast and his M.S. in tourism management and planning from the University of Girona. His research interests are in the areas of climate change adaptation and crisis management. In addition to his studies, Arhin enjoys traveling.

Badr Badraoui head shot

Badr Badraoui

Badr Badraoui joined the College of HRSM in 2022 after earning a bachelor’s in international business from Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Germany and a master’s in business administration/major tourism from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland. A native of Rabat, Morocco, Badraoui’s research interests include technological applications within the tourism and hospitality industry, customer experience, service management and experiential marketing. He has over 15 years of professional experience across seven countries and is fluent in four languages. In his spare time, Badraoui enjoys playing soccer, outdoor activities and visiting new places.

Xavier Basurto head shot

Xavier Basurto

Xavier Basurto began the Ph.D. in hospitality and tourism management program in fall 2023. A native of Manta, Ecuador, Basurto did his undergraduate studies at University Católica Santiago de Guayaquil and earned a degree in international business management. Basurto then attended University Técnica Particular de Loja for his MBA. His research interests include perceptions of water quality in recreational activities, pro-environmental behavior, and advocacy for water preservation. In addition to being a piano enthusiast, Basurto also enjoys kitesurfing and table tennis.

Ali Iskender

Ali Iskender

Ali Iskender was born in Turkey to parents from Macedonia and Kosovo. Iskender obtained his bachelor's of science in economics from the University of Anatolia and in business administration from Uludag University, Turkey. He also participated in a one-year study at Opole University of Technology, Poland. After several years' experience working in accounting and finance, he attended the University of Florida, where he obtained his master’s degree in tourism. His research interests include film-tourism, the impact of popular culture on travel behaviors, and branding and marketing in tourism.

Iskender's studies are funded by the Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development under the direction of Simon Hudson, Ph.D.

Hui Jiang

Hui Jiang

Hui Jiang is from Shandong, China, and received a B.S. in hospitality management and an M.S. in tourism management from Sun Yat-sen University. Her research interests include tourism investment, destination marketing and social networking.

Mina Kim headshot

Mina Kim

Mina Kim joined the doctoral program in hospitality and tourism management in fall 2023. A native of Busan, South Korea, Kim earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Daegu Catholic University and a master's in tourism studies from Pusan National University. Her research interests lie in understanding the psychological and behavioral attributes of tourists related to participation in leisure and tourism as well as tourist pro-environmental behaviors using mixed methods research. In her spare time, Kim enjoys yoga, pilates, cooking, spending time with her cats and traveling.

Seonjin Lee headshot

Seonjin Lee

Seonjin Lee began the hospitality and tourism management Ph.D. program in fall 2023 and is a Presidential Fellow at the University of South Carolina. Hailing from Busan, South Korea, Lee studied at Pusan National University for his undergraduate degree in tourism and convention and later earned a master's from the school in tourism studies. Additionally, he has over five years of experience working as an interpreter, including two years of service as an interpreter in the Republic of Korea Navy. Lee is interested in understanding the impact of tourism activities on local populations, the sustainability of the tourism industry, and the use of spatiotemporal data analysis for tourism research. In his spare time, Lee enjoys brewing coffee, playing guitar and computer programming.

Somang Min

Somang Min

Somang Min is from Seoul, South Korea. Min received her B.S. from Korea University, Korea, and her M.S. in hospitality business management from Michigan State University. Min's particular research interest is in service marketing, consumer behavior, and technology in the hospitality industry.

Lali Odosashvili headshot

Lali Odosashvili

Lali Odosashvili is from Tbilisi, Georgia, where she received her B.S. in business administration - tourism and her MBA in tourism from Ilia State University and her M.S. in hospitality management from the University of Delaware. Odosashvili received the Best Student Led Completed Paper Award at the 8th Annual ICHRIE SECSA Federation Conference in 2023 and was an author on multiple research publications. The same year, she was promoted to head of marketing for Hybrid Interaction, Ltd., after working in business development for the organization for over a year. Her research areas of interest include policy and governance studies in tourism, tourism development in developing countries, consumer behavior, and gambling tourism. Her hobbies include disc golf, archery and reading. Odosashvili is also fluent in three languages including English, Georgian and Russian.

Omid Oshriyeh headshot

Omid Oshriyeh

Omid Oshriyeh, hailing from Tehran, Iran, holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in tourism management, with a specialization in tourism marketing, from the University of Tehran. His current research focuses on sustainability and climate change, risk perception, customer experience, and consumer behavior. Additionally, he serves as an editorial associate for Tourism Analysis, a peer-reviewed journal.

Courses taught:

HRTM 482 – Sustainable Tourism Planning and Policy

Ghazal Shams headshot

Ghazal Shams

Ghazal Shams is from Isfahan, Iran, and received her B.S. in statistics and M.S. in business administration with a focus in marketing from Islamic Azad University. Shams's research interests are in emergent technologies in marketing (e.g., AI, metaverse), human-computer interaction, service research, service innovation, and customer satisfaction.

Courses taught:

HRTM 344 – Personnel Organization and Supervision

Ghazal Shams headshot

Damla Sonmez

Damla Sonmez is from Antalya, Turkey, where she earned her B.S. in business administration from Antalya Bilim University. Sonmez earned her M.S. in hospitality management from the University of Florida. Her research interests are in the areas of consumer behavior, leadership in hospitality and organizational behavior. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, cooking and music.

Swechchha Subedi

Swechchha Subedi

Swechchha Subedi is from Pokhara, Nepal, and received her B.S. in business administration from Kathmandu University and her M.S. in hospitality and tourism management from Oklahoma State University. Her research areas of interest include tourism planning, the role of government in tourism, and crisis management. In her spare time, Swechchha enjoys travel, cooking and movies.

Courses taught:

Co-instructor,  fall 2021
HRTM 260 – Hotel Management

Xiaonan (Hannah) Zhang headshot

Xiaonan  "Hannah" Zhang

Xiaonan "Hannah" Zhang is from Henan, China. She received her bachelor's degree in tourism management from Henan Normal University and her master's degree in hospitality management from Beijing International Studies University. Her research interests are in the areas of consumer behavior toward value co-creation in the sharing economy, and online review in the tourism and hospitality industries.

Courses taught:

HRTM 260 – Hotel Managment
HRTM 280 – Foundations of Tourism

Published research:

Li, H., Meng, F., & Zhang, X. (2021). "Are you happy for me? How sharing positive tourism experiences through social media affects post-trip evaluations. Journal of Travel Research, 0047287521995253.

Zhang, X., Meng, F., & Li, H. (January, 2020). "How local’s attitude contributes to tourist’s place attachment and well-being?" The 25th Annual Graduate Education & Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism, Las Vegas, Nev.

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