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College of Human Ecology

For third year in a row, K-State student receives best paper award at hospitality and tourism conference

Thursday, January 11, 2007

MANHATTAN -- For the third year in a row, a student from Kansas State University's department of hotel, restaurant, institution management and dietetics has received a Best Paper Award at the Graduate Education and Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism.

Amelia Estepa Asperin, a doctoral candidate in human ecology-institution management, won one of two best paper distinctions at the 12th annual conference, Jan. 4-6, at the University of Houston.

The schools represented at the conference are "major players in hospitality and tourism education and research," said Deb Canter, head of K-State's department of hotel, restaurant, institution management and dietetics.

"For K-State to come away three years in a row with a Best Paper Award is an incredible honor. The review process is very rigorous -- in fact, of 207 papers under consideration this year, only five were nominated for a Best Paper Award. It is a blind review, two-step process so even making it to the final group is demanding," she said.

Asperin's paper, "Exploring the Measurement of Brand Personality Congruence in the Casual Dining Industry," was co-authored by Carol Shanklin, associate dean of the Graduate School, and Ki-Joon Back, a former K-State faculty member now at the University of Houston.

Shanklin also was a co-author on K-State's two previous winning papers. Shanklin is a "stellar researcher and mentor to graduate students," Canter said.

The Graduate Education and Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism is unique, Canter said, in that it draws graduate students and faculty from all of the major hospitality and tourism schools in the United States, as well as from Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The conference focuses on the graduate students, giving them the opportunity to present either orally or in poster sessions on their on-going or completed research.

Eleven K-State graduate students had papers or poster sessions accepted for presentation at the conference. In addition, four K-State graduate faculty members in the department of hotel, restaurant, institution management and dietetics attended the event.

"The students are able to gain valuable experience in presenting research in front of knowledgeable and supportive people who critique them and give advice," Canter said. "It's also a great networking opportunity for employment, further graduate study, etc."

Canter said the wins have been a real boon to K-State in terms of recruiting faculty members and graduate students.

"It's a wonderful recognition for the quality of education and research provided by the department of hotel, restaurant, institution management and dietetics," she said.

As part of the honor, the co-authors all received engraved plaques and Asperin, who is originally from the Philippines, also received a $250 book certificate from Sage Publishing.

Previous K-State recipients of the Best Paper Award are Eunju Yoon, doctoral candidate in human ecology, 2006; and Chihyung Ok, who received a doctorate from K-State and is now an assistant professor in the department of hotel, restaurant, institution management and dietetics, 2005.

This article was posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007, and is filed under Hospitality Management.