Texas Tech University

Student Testimonial: Research Opportunities for Hospitality Graduate Students

Hannah Fields

September 17, 2020

joseph kleypas

Joseph Kleypas hopes to positively impact the hospitality workforce with his industry-focused research

Hospitality and Research Management graduate student, Joseph Kleypas, says he chose the Texas Tech Hospitality Administration degree program because of the department's top-quality faculty.

"I chose the Texas Tech Hospitality and Retail Management Ph.D. program [recently renamed to Hospitality Administration] for their reputation for producing top-quality university faculty," Joseph said. "Many hospitality and retail programs in the U.S. and abroad are staffed with TTU graduates. This includes some of the most reputable researchers and professors in the fields of hospitality and retail."

Joseph – who also holds a B.S. in Human Sciences (2016) an M.S. in Hospitality and Retail Management (2017) – is currently working on his dissertation, titled "Cultural Intelligence and J-1 Visa Programs in the Resort Industry."

"The J-1 visa program is a temporary non-immigration visa to promote goodwill and cultural exchange with foreign nations," Joseph explained. "The resort industry relies heavily on a workforce of these sojourners to fill labor demands during peak seasons. We are investigating the dynamics of cultural intelligence and how it impacts a functioning workplace within this unique labor phenomenon."

Describing the hospitality industry as an industry of cultures serving multiple cultures, Joseph explains that the idea of studying how and why some individuals thrive in cultures different to their own is a relatively new one. To him, pursuing this new area of study is both of great practicality and utility in a globalized market economy.

As this study is an industry-focused investigation, its outcome can impact both the workforce and the sojourners within.

"The goal is twofold: we are searching for themes and issues surrounding a workforce of J-1 sojourners," Joseph said. "Second, we are investing the role of cultural intelligence in how it may impact both the individual and the workplace. Ultimately, we are looking for the best practices for resorts for this unique labor supply."

Joseph is expected to graduate with a Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration in May 2021. Upon graduation, he hopes to follow a career path as an assistant professor in a university hospitality program.