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UW Students Complete Statewide Tourism Projects

April 19, 2022
People posing together
UW students in their professional semester for the outdoor recreation and tourism management degree pose with Gov. Mark Gordon at the Governor’s Conference for Tourism and Hospitality in March. From left are Taylor Davis, of Wylie, Texas; Emma Dixon, of Lawrence, Kan.; Sarah Reed, of Buffalo; Rachel Post, of Kansas City, Mo.; Tianna Edison, of Prescott, Wis.; and Olivia Palaschak, of Idledale, Colo. (UW Photo)

Students nearing completion of outdoor recreation and tourism management degrees at the University of Wyoming are completing projects around the state for their professional semester capstone class.

This year, there are six projects from three project sponsors, all supporting Wyoming’s No. 2 industry. The 2022 project sponsors are the Wyoming Office of Tourism, Visit Laramie and the Wind River Visitors Council.

“We are very fortunate to have such great project sponsors this year who helped students connect with stakeholders across the state,” says Dan McCoy, the degree program’s professional semester coordinator. “The projects will be impactful to the organizations sponsoring them and to the communities that benefit from the work of the students.”

For the Wyoming Office of Tourism, four groups of three to four students are completing tourism asset assessments -- main attractions, hidden gems and local recommendations for recreational, cultural, lodging and food options -- for 14 counties in the state. Tourism assessments are occurring in Big Horn, Campbell, Converse, Crook, Goshen, Hot Springs, Johnson, Lincoln, Niobrara, Platte, Sublette, Uinta, Washakie and Weston counties.

Students traveled to these counties, met with local stakeholders, visited sites and are compiling their findings. The students’ findings will help guide the Office of Tourism’s 2022 destination development program for each county, including elevating Wyoming’s hidden gems and under-the-radar experiences to key travelers.

Students working with Visit Laramie are researching and developing a tourism ambassador training program to enhance front-line tourism and hospitality employee knowledge of Laramie history, culture, recreation and other attraction information. One of the primary outcomes of the training program is to better support visitors to maximize their experience in Laramie.

In Fremont County, students are working with the Wind River Visitors Council to seek the Continental Divide Trail Gateway Community designation through the Continental Divide Trail Coalition for the city of Lander. Students presented to the Wind River Outdoor Recreation Collaborative, Fremont County Commission and the Lander City Council; sought support for the designation; submitted the application; and are awaiting the results from the coalition. Their final report will help local businesses support Continental Divide Trail users.

Students will present their findings to in-person audiences and through Zoom April 21, 26 and 28. Students’ project reports will be finalized and submitted to project sponsors May 8.

For more information, or to attend the presentations either through Zoom or in person, call McCoy at (307) 766-5009 or email

Student project groups, their presentation dates and times, along with members and their hometowns, are:

Continental Divide Trail Gateway Community Designation (presenting Thursday, April 21, from 9:35-10:05 a.m.)

Duluth, Minn. -- Seth Kemp.

Lander -- Bowen Reber.

Parker, Colo. -- Cooper Reisbeck.

Visit Laramie, Tourism Ambassador Training Program (presenting Thursday, April 21, from 10:10-10:40 a.m.)

Laramie -- Gracie Sossaman.

LaSalle, Ill. -- Maggie Craven.

Wylie, Texas -- Taylor Davis.

Tourism Assessments of Converse, Niobrara, Platte and Goshen Counties (presenting Tuesday, April 26, from 9:35-10:05 a.m.)

Cheyenne -- George Nykun.

Glenrock -- Piper Steinmetz.

Kansas City, Mo. -- Rachel Post.

Prescott, Wis. -- Tianna Edison.

Tourism Assessments of Big Horn, Hot Springs and Washakie Counties (presenting Tuesday, April 26, from 10:10-10:40 a.m.)

Idledale, Colo. -- Olivia Palaschak.

Lawrence, Kan. -- Emma Dixon.

Omaha, Neb. -- Andrew Wollenburg.

Tourism Assessments of Lincoln, Sublette and Uinta Counties (presenting Thursday, April 28, from 9:35-10:05 a.m.)

Anaheim, Calif. -- Dalton Cole.

Bismarck, N.D. -- Erin Barnhardt.

Horseshoe Bay, Texas -- Mick Bailey.

Tourism Assessments of Johnson, Campbell, Crook and Weston Counties (presenting Thursday, April 28, from 10:10-10:40 a.m.)

Alta -- Zach Ward.

Buffalo -- Kyler Muffett and Sarah Reed.

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