Inspiring Graduate: Sam Micoley, B.S. Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management

‘It's not just about the degree but the journey of growth, innovation and active engagement.’
December 27, 2023

Inspiring Graduate: Sam Micoley (’23)

During her final semester at UW-Stout, Sam Micoley was a dual-enrolled student, completing her undergraduate degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management, while beginning her master’s in training and talent development.

Her dual enrollment was a way for her to extend her passion for the hospitality industry. The previous semester, she was one of the first students to enroll in the School of Management's new Service Excellence course, supported by Forbes Travel Guide.

Micoley earned her B.S. in hotel, restaurant and tourism management from UW-Stout on Dec. 16, along with 526 graduates. As she continues to pursue her master’s at UW-Stout, she is also eager to embark on a full-time career.

Sam Micoley
Inspiring graduate Sam Micoley crosses the commencement stage to receive her bachelor's degree / UW-Stout

“I'm excited about the prospect of combining practical work experience with advanced education to further my expertise in the field. The goal is to contribute actively to my chosen profession while deepening my knowledge through continued academic pursuits,” Micoley said.

How has your Stout education changed you?

My time at Stout has deeply impacted my journey towards becoming a professional. I am leaving Stout not just with a degree, but with a heart full of gratitude and a profound sense of dedication to my chosen profession.

I'm genuinely thankful for the education and experiences I've gained during my time here, and I carry these values with me as I step into the professional world, knowing that Stout has been the catalyst for this transformation.

The education I received here has not only broadened my horizons but has also ignited a passion for excellence and continuous growth.

The guidance and support from my professors, the endless number of opportunities inside and outside of the classroom and the camaraderie with my peers have all contributed to my profound transformation.

How well has UW-Stout prepared you to work in your field and why?

Stout’s polytechnic and holistic approach to education has exceptionally prepared me for my career in hotel, restaurant and tourism management, equipping me with the necessary skills, confidence and connections to thrive in this dynamic industry.

UW-Stout students learn ‘the sky is the limit’ in new Forbes-based luxury management course

Hands-on learning in hospitality and service excellence, with off-campus stays, exemplifies polytechnic advantage
Continue Reading

Stout's robust network of connections in the hospitality industry enabled me to secure internships and gain hands-on experience with reputable companies. These industry collaborations allowed me to apply my classroom learning in real-world settings and establish a professional network that has continued to support my career development.

The combination of practical experience, a comprehensive academic foundation and the unwavering support of professors and industry professionals has uniquely positioned me to excel in my field.

What stands out about your UW-Stout experience?

I am incredibly grateful for my professors as their extensive industry experience and genuine dedication to my professional and personal growth provided invaluable insights and mentorship. They excelled not only in teaching but in genuinely caring for me as a person, not just as a student. 

They took the time to understand my goals, aspirations and challenges. I knew that everything I was being taught would ensure that I was well-prepared to face real-world challenges. Their assistance in connecting me with internship opportunities and career resources was instrumental in launching my professional journey.

Sam Micoley
Sam Micoley was dual-enrolled, beginning her master's in training and talent development while completing her undergraduate degree / UW-Stout

In the classroom, they taught with clarity and enthusiasm, making the classes engaging and enriching. You could tell that that they enjoyed educating students, and their dedication to the content was evident. 

In addition to the nurturing environment created by the professors, the transformative internships I had at the Omni Nashville Hotel and the Stock Farm Club in Hamilton, Mont., provided invaluable hands-on experience. 

These internships allowed me to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom, shaping me into a well-rounded professional.

I am incredibly grateful for how much effort Stout puts into ensuring students find internships and are successful in them.

How did your involvement on campus impact your experience?

My involvement in clubs, organizations and leadership positions enriched my college experience, allowing me to contribute, connect and grow in ways that went far beyond the classroom.

I worked for University Housing as a resident adviser in my first and second years, and as a hall manager during my junior and senior years. For three years, I was a campus tour guide with the Admissions office. 

The enthusiasm I carried for Stout and our HRTM program inspired me to create the Hospitality Student Ambassador position, offering students like myself the chance to share their personal experiences face-to-face with potential future students.

During my senior year, my co-hall manager and I reintroduced the Escape Room in the CKTO residence hall basement to provide students with an on-campus job opportunity as facilitators and to foster a sense of community and involvement within the dorms.

I served on the executive board for the Club Management Association of America to be more involved in the hospitality industry outside of the classroom. And I also played on the women's rugby team to add a physical layer to my campus involvement. 

What challenges did you face in earning your degree and how did you overcome them?

Earning my degree presented financial challenges that I overcame by working for University Housing and as a campus tour guide. Through these roles, I not only found financial relief but also discovered a deep sense of purpose.

Sam Micoley
Sam Micoley celebrates at commencement / UW-Stout

I formed friendships that will last a lifetime and found my significant other, as well as created a sense of unity among dorm residents. I had the privilege of not only sharing my passion for Stout but also inspiring prospective students to attend this incredible university. 

These experiences enriched my university journey and equipped me with a strong sense of community and the ability to make a real impact.

Despite the financial struggles, these roles gave me a profound sense of pride and belonging within the Stout community.

What are you most proud of as you finish your degree?

I am very proud to be graduating in 3½ years, debt-free. I am also proud to have embraced new opportunities, from leading in University Housing to creating unique roles and joining women’s rugby, a sport I knew nothing about. 

I am proud to have the ambition to be a dual-enrolled student and to have the dedication to continue my education. 

It's not just about the degree but the journey of growth, innovation and active engagement.

Inspiring Graduates

All Inspiring Graduates News
Inspiring Graduates Share Their Stout Experiences Featured Image

Inspiring Graduates Share Their Stout Experiences

Celebrate our graduates as they cross the commencement stage and reflect on the journey that brought them here
Inspiring Graduate: Lauren Arenz, B.S. Early Childhood Education Featured Image

Inspiring Graduate: Lauren Arenz, B.S. Early Childhood Education

‘My experiences at UW-Stout have made a monumental difference helping me to better understand my future aspirations in life.’
Inspiring Graduate: Genevieve Czaplewski, B.S. Applied Social Science Featured Image

Inspiring Graduate: Genevieve Czaplewski, B.S. Applied Social Science

‘I looked for a place where I could simultaneously feel at home and be challenged academically, socially and athletically. Stout ticked all those boxes.’