Elizabeth Jackson, left, and her mother, Heather Wolcott, celebrating with Butch at the Carson College December graduation party. Elizabeth is showing a photo of when she was a baby attending Heather’s WSU graduation in 2003. Courtesy WSU Photo Services

Elizabeth Jackson Recognized as Hospitality School’s Outstanding Senior

By Sue McMurray

When she worked as a hostess, just the simple act of seating people during their special afternoon or evening out at a restaurant brought Carson College of Business alumna Elizabeth Jackson joy and sparked her interest in a hospitality business management career.

An introductory business class during her first semester at WSU helped her learn more about hospitality career options, and she became more excited about a future in hospitality.

“I was surprised by the vastness of the hospitality field. At first, I thought it was limited to hotel and food and beverage careers,” Jackson (’23 Hospitality Busi. Mgmt.) says. “However, through networking, taking more HBM classes, and participating in Eta Sigma Delta, WSU’s International Hospitality Management Honor Society, I discovered careers like event planning, senior living, and tourism fall under the hospitality sector.”

She says her senior capstone class “Service Operations Management,” in which she was part of a team managing a 500-room hotel, provided important career insights about financial decision-making she’ll be able to use in the future.

Just prior to her December graduation, Jackson, a Global Campus student, was voted as an outstanding senior for the Department of Hospitality Business Management.

“Elizabeth was outstanding academically and as a person,” says Marriott Foundation Hospitality Relations Manager Amy Alonzo, who teaches hospitality business management courses. “She traveled from Utah to Pullman for the Hospitality Week during her last year, attending as many events as she could while on campus and networking with our company partners.”

Ruiying Cai, assistant professor of hospitality, says it was a pleasure seeing Jackson grow as a leader during her tenure as Eta Sigma Delta president and attributes the success and vibrancy of the student organization to Jackson’s innovative ideas and proactive approach.

Tenacity, academic excellence are family traits

Jackson was born on campus at the old Pullman hospital while her mother, Heather Wolcott (’03), was in her third year of pharmacy school. Her dad, Jason Wolcott, also a WSU graduate with a degree in microbiology, was a running back on the WSU football team (1991-94).

Jackson says that even as a child, she knew WSU was the right place for her. Being raised by two Cougs, WSU football games were a family activity and watching them on tv was a constant in their house. As such, she was already influenced by the crimson spirit when it came time to choose a college.

“My parents, particularly my mom, have consistently been my inspiration because of their hard work and dedication to our family and higher education,” Jackson says. “Whenever I have difficult times, I always remember my mom’s strength and her positive outlook when juggling school and a newborn baby.”

Jackson has the same drive as her mother. As a Global Campus student, she was as involved in campus life as much as any student attending in person.

Jackson seeks a hospitality career that will allow her to connect with travelers from around the world and make a difference in their lives and travel experiences. Her long-term goal is to open a bed and breakfast inn, an idea she developed during her degree program.