PC grad Georgia Johnson received her degree in Hospitality and Ecotourism in June 2023. Nora Pitaro photo.

PC grad Georgia Johnson received her degree in Hospitality and Ecotourism in June 2023. Nora Pitaro photo.

Peninsula grad uses her hospitality degree every day at work

‘Every time I learned something, I could go into work the next day and apply it’

PC grad Georgia Johnson received her degree in Hospitality and Ecotourism in June 2023. Her experience working as a student at Port Angeles’s Field Arts and Events Hall has her considering a second degree in media technology, a new program launching at Peninsula College this fall.

By Georgia Johnson

I really have always wanted to work in the arts in some way. My parents both have a professional background in theater. I was heavily involved in music and the performing arts in high school, so I was around the arts constantly as a young person.

I actually enrolled at PC just to take one class: Leadership & Management for Hospitality. I worked at Lake Crescent, at both Lake Crescent Lodge and Log Cabin Resort, for six years. A few years ago, I was offered a position of leadership at the front desk. I wanted to feel really prepared, so I enrolled in the class to be ready to take on my new role. I ended up enjoying the class so much that I joined the program full time.

I started the Hospitality and Ecotourism program to help assist in my professional development in the hotel industry. I began as a housekeeper and ended as an Operations Manager through Aramark (Lake Crescent and Log Cabin Resort). I give huge credit to my education at PC for my growth, because the knowledge was so relevant. I felt like every time I learned something, I could go into work the next day and apply it. This gave me a hands-on understanding of the hospitality industry, and business operations in general. These two experiences combined prepared me to take on this new role with confidence. It has translated well, even though hotels are such different operations.

I took so many interesting classes at PC. I really enjoyed the Theater and Production class I took last quarter. It was such an amazing opportunity: we were the first people hanging lights in the brand-new Field Arts and Events Hall (FAEH) with nice, new equipment; it felt like I was a part of something historic and important for our community. Kelly Doran taught the class; she was an amazing teacher, and an encouraging mentor. It has led to me getting to work in the theater after the class is finished, and I got to apply the knowledge immediately after graduation.

Kim Reynolds, who has been my program advisor and professor, has truly championed me; she was the one who connected me with FAEH in the first place, and I am incredibly grateful for her. I have enjoyed and learned so much in her classes, especially in Event Planning and Hotel Operations.

I started an internship with Field Arts & Events Hall in April to coincide with my final quarter of school. I also took the Theater Production and Design class through PC’s media tech program concurrently and was able to help the production team install the lights in the FAEH theater, which was an amazing opportunity. Initially, I assisted the Conferences and Events department in creating marketing collateral, fine-tuning the event software we use, and serving as an event supervisor during events. As time passed, I took on some responsibility in the Box Office, helping coordinate our volunteer usher and art docent programs, and serving as the house manager for theater performances. I have also been able to apply the knowledge from the Theatre Production class, as I have continued to assist the Production team with hanging lights and installing/uninstalling the orchestra shell.

I really hope to keep learning about different facets of the business; I’ve enjoyed the variety of my work. I’ve known for a while that I wanted to work in arts administration, and this has given me an amazing opportunity to establish myself in this field. I feel very comfortable with the role I currently play in the organization, and I hope to continue doing it.

I’ve enjoyed so many facets of what I’m doing that it’s hard to say exactly where I want to go from here, but I know I want to continue working in (the media technology) industry long term. whether that be as a house manager, a box office manager or even an artistic director eventually.

I would absolutely recommend PC to other students. I was not a perfect student: it took me about four years of attending part-time to complete my degree. My GPA was not perfect. Yet, I only ever felt encouragement and support from my professors, who provided me with endless resources to succeed. It is a place where people aren’t forgotten about or left in the dust, and that added so much value to my educational experience.

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