In a new partnership with AAA, USM's Tourism and Hospitality students will be the recipients of scholarship funds for cruise internships being raised at an event held Friday, August 22, on the Holland America cruise ship MS Veendam at the Ocean Gateway terminal in Portland.
AAA Northern New England’s President Eric Cyr said that he and AAA are pleased to support tourism education at USM. He added that they are committed to contributing up to $5000 from the event, with funds going toward scholarships for USM students to participate in a new cruise internship program in May, 2015.
Tourism and hospitality are becoming an ever-increasing part of Maine’s economy, with the cruise lines alone sending more than 80,000 visitors per year to the City of Portland, and more than 265,000 state-wide. For those reasons, AAA is working with USM to explore internship opportunities for USM’s Tourism and Hospitality students this year (October 2014-May 2015), during which they will create and plan a special surprise Bermuda event for the May 30, Boston to Bermuda Holland America, MS Veendam cruise.
In addition to the internship students, any student plus the general public will also be able to sign up to take the May 30 cruise, where they will learn about cruise ship management through activities and assignments involving behind the scene tours and on-board presentations. They will also work with the USM internship students to put on the Bermuda event. Students can get credit for this experience through USM’s Tourism and Hospitality program.
"The opportunity for USM TAH students to learn about the cruise industry, to travel outside the USA, and put their event planning knowledge to work in partnership with an international travel business like AAA is a unique and incredibly valuable experience. I am excited and grateful that AAA is going to help make this financially accessible to students through scholarships" says Dr. Tracy Michaud Stutzman, the faculty member at USM who developed and will oversee the program with AAA's Eric Baxter.