Class of 2020 Success Stories: A passion for planning events led Shalynne Owens to BGSU
By Bob Cunningham ’18
As long as Shalynne Owens can remember, she’s always loved to plan events. She even threw parties for her dolls when she was a kid.
Her passion for events led Owens to owning and operating two event-oriented businesses in northwest Ohio — Posh Dollz Parties and Dudez & Dollz The Ultimate Party Venue — that catered to children’s birthday parties. By 2017, her interest in event management had grown beyond children’s entertainment, so she closed her businesses and enrolled in Bowling Green State University’s Tourism Hospitality and Event Management (THEM) program in the College of Education and Human Development (EDHD).
Owens graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in the THEM program and plans to find and maintain a career in the corporate event management field.
The mission of THEM is to prepare students for skilled, innovative and productive careers in the travel, tourism and event management field. As the premier program in Ohio with an extensive international curriculum and research agenda, BGSU’s nationally accredited program provides a student-centered educational experience that prepares them for successful careers in the travel, tourism and event management industry.
As one of the largest industries in the world, tourism provides diverse employment possibilities consisting of private (for-profit) organizations, public entities and nonprofit organizations. In addition, Event planning is one of the fastest growing professions with a range of full-time opportunities. The U.S. News & World Report recently ranked event planning in its top 50 careers across all professions.
Owens, a nontraditional student who lives in nearby Perrysburg and works for ProMedica in digital marketing communications, wanted to pursue her degree to expand her knowledge in the event field, but she had two other motivations as well.
“I have two sons, ages 4 and 14,” she said. College is on the horizon for “my oldest older son, so I felt I needed to practice what I preach. I couldn't tell him how important college is without attending. My husband encouraged me to go back and finish as well.
“I was unaware the Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management program even existed. I was happy to find it once I decided to continue my education. My aunt also attended years ago and I remember visiting her on campus and loving the time I spent there.”
Owens said having internships and practicums in in the field allowed her to venture into all areas of the industry to see where she truly wanted to be. She said Dr. Hyungsuk Choo, an associate professor in EDHD, helped guide her along the way.
“Dr. Choo was always ready and willing to go the extra mile for her students,” Owens said. “I had a lot of questions and ideas. It was nice to have her available.”
Owens had an internship at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium as a wedding coordinator. Working with brides and vendors, learning contracts, working with timelines and decorating were some of the event-planning skilled she learned at one of the premier tourist attractions in northwest Ohio.
For her practicum, she was an event coordinator for the office of the BGSU Dean of Students. She aided in the planning and execution of Homecoming weekend events for students and their families on the Bowling Green campus.