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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


Our Ph.D. Students

The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management is home to one of the nation’s premier graduate programs with a leading-edge curriculum and an innovative learning environment emphasizing leadership development for current and future managers and educators. We are internationally renowned faculty experts in resort operations, timeshare management, social and economic impact of tourism and restaurateurs as well as leading authorities on culinary arts, conference planning, world travel and more.

Meet our Ph.D. Students 

As one of our Ph.D students, you'll have opportunities for research, field studies and work experience in premier national and international tourist destinations in an atmosphere that cultivates the lifelong business relationships and networking opportunities you’ll need to advance your career. 

Ajdari Bahman

Bahman Ajdari 

Bahman Ajdari, from Tehran, Iran, received his B.S. in industrial engineering from Malek Ashtar University of Technology in Iran, and his M.S. in business management (marketing and e-commerce) from Lulea University of Technology (LUT), Sweden. Before joining USC, Ajdari worked as a research assistant and lecturer at LUT. Ajdari’s particular research interests are consumer behavior, branding, marketing and social media in the field of tourism. 

Bahman is funded in his studies by the Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development under the direction of Dr. Simon Hudson.

Dan Jin

Dan Jin

Dan Jin, from Jilin, China, received her B.A. in business English from Xi’an International Studies University, Shaanxi, China, and her M.S. in hospitality and tourism management from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Her research interests are versatility in service failure and recovery, customer relationship management (CRM), and social psychology in the restaurant and hotel industry.

Dan is funded in her studies by HRTM’s International Institute for Foodservice Research and Education under the direction of Dr. Robin DiPietro. 

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Jamie A. Levitt

 Jamie Levitt came to USC from Wilmington, Del. (via Switzerland, Turkey, and China) and received his B.A. in international relations from Tufts University, Medford, Mass., his A.S. in culinary arts,  Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I., and his M.B.A. in hospitality management, also from Johnson & Wales University. His research interests are in consumer behavior, food tourism, restaurant authenticity and sustainability.

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Hengyun (Neil) Li

Neil Li received his B.S., Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in 2010 and his M.Phil. at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in 2012. Neil's particular interests are in economics, marketing, and big data analysis in hospitality and tourism management. Before joining USC, Neil worked in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as a research associate. Neil teaches HRTM 381 - Travel and Destination Management. He is from the City of Tongliao, Inner Mongolia, China.

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Jing Li

Jing Li, from Shandong Province, China, received her B.S. in 2012 and her M.S. in 2015 from Shandong University. Jing's particular interest is in destination branding and marketing, tourist behavior and social media. She previously worked as an intern with Dahua Tourism Consulting Company. Jing has also worked in tourism planning in Lanzhou Geological Park and other rural tourism planning projects of Shandong Province. 

Jing is funded in her studies by the Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development under the direction of Dr. Simon Hudson.

Somang Min

Somang Min

Somang is from Seoul, South Korea. She received her B.S. from Korea University, Korea, and her M.S. in hospitality business management from Michigan State University. Somang’s particular research interest is in service marketing, consumer behavior, and technology in the hospitality industry.

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Thomas Pratt

Thomas Pratt received his B.S. from the University of South Carolina Beaufort, and his MBA from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Thomas also has more than 20 years of restaurant and hospitality management experience and his research interests are leadership, employee motivation and behavior. His hometown is Newport, R.I. 

Thomas is funded in his studies by the International Institute for Foodservice Research and Education under the direction of Dr. Robin DiPietro.

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Rui Qi

Rui received her B.A. in accounting from Wuhan University, China in 2011, her M.A. in tourism management from Shandong University, China in 2014. Rui's research interests are in resident attitudes, market effectiveness assessment and risk evaluation. Rui teaches HRTM 280 - Foundations of Tourism.

Hailey Shin

Hailey Shin

Hailey Shin, from South Korea, earned her M.S. and B.S. degrees from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston. She also holds a B.B.A. degree in hotel management from Kyunghee University, South Korea. Her research interests are in the areas of consumer behavior toward technology adoption in the tourism and hospitality industry.

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Scott Taylor, Jr. 

Scott Taylor, Jr.,  from St. Louis, Mo., received his B.S. in hotel, restaurant and tourism management from the University of Missouri and his M.S. in food science, also from the University of Missouri. His research areas of interest are in consumer behavior in food and beverage operations. 

Scott Taylor is funded in his studies by the Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development under the direction of Dr. Simon Hudson.

stella tavallaei

Malihe (Stella) Tavallaei

Stella Tavallaei received her B.S. in industrial engineering from Alzahra University, and her M.S. in business management (marketing) from IAUSTB, Tehran, Iran in 2016. Her research interests are in destination branding, sustainable tourism development, consumer behavior and social media.

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Chuhan (Renee) Wang

Renee Wang, from Shanghai, China, received her B.S. in hospitality management from Florida International University, her B.M. in hospitality and tourism management from Tianjin University of Commerce, and her M.S. in hospitality and tourism management from Virginia Tech. Her research interests are in social media and digital marketing, hotel technology, and big data analysis.