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Cal Poly Experience Industry Management Excels at IMEX Conference


IMEX Studnet Research PresentationsCal Poly's Experience Industry Management faculty and students made a mark at the prestigious IMEX conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on Oct. 18-19. This annual gathering of industry professionals provided a platform for Cal Poly's EIM department to showcase their dedication to experiential learning, networking and innovation. Interim Department Head Kevin Lin, Professor Sandy Shen and Lecturer Amber Karson, along with five  students Hadara Gordon, Naria Duenas, Mimi Raytis, Aja Tsutsumi, and Meghan Olson attended the conference to provide and gain insights on the latest trends and developments in the industry. It exemplified Cal Poly's unwavering dedication to nurturing the future generation of industry leaders. The students' presentations, ranging from virtual tourism experiences to website user experience, drew admiration from industry professionals and demonstrated Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy.

Raytis, a third-year recreation, parks and tourism administration major with a concentration in event planning and experience management, shared her experience at IMEX, saying, “The IMEX conference was such an eye-opening experience for me. I was able to meet students from around the world, talk to industry professionals of all ages and backgrounds, and even present my own research to a group of my peers and faculty from across the US. Over the summer, I was selected to work on a research project with Professor Lin. I was able to get hands-on experience with collecting, analyzing, and presenting data about user preferences in destination marketing. Getting firsthand experience and working one-on-one with a great faculty member has been such an amazing experience.”

The students had the opportunity to listen to industry leaders speak on unique insights, network alongside industry professionals and present research gathered from Cal Poly's various research initiatives.

Duenas, also a a third-year recreation, parks and tourism administration major with a concentration in event planning and experience management, reflected on her IMEX experience, noting, “I never thought I’d be conducting nor presenting a research project with my professors. I do not regret any second of it, working on this project with Professor Shen has allowed me to network with many people all while furthering my oral presentation skills. This one project has allowed me to attend and present at amazing events like the grand opening of our innovation lab and again at IMEX.”

Throughout their time at IMEX, the students attended workshops which provided valuable information ranging from building connections and driving success through inclusive environments. 

Poster presentations informing attendees of sustainability innovations in the experience industry sparked interest for one student in particular, Hadara Gordon, a fourth-year environmental management and protection major. After her research presentation on The Design of Signs Using a Triangulated and Mixed-Method Approach, she noted, “I gained valuable insight into another field's integration of sustainability practices. Presenting research in this professional environment was an incredible opportunity.”

Faculty members attended the Faculty Engagement Program which offered presentations that explored a wide array of topics, from virtual tourism experiences to the impact of technology on sustainable tourism. Their involvement in the program reinforced their dedication to innovative research and experiential learning at IMEX and left with a strengthened commitment to advancing the future of the experience industry through evidence-based and data driven research. Lin was also interviewed by Google Experience Institute (Google Xi), sharing with them the collaboration potentials the Experience Industry Management Department and the Experience Innovation Lab have with Google Xi.

The impact of Cal Poly's representation at IMEX resonates far beyond the event itself, signifying the university's position as a pioneering force in the field. By attending IMEX, the future looks exceptionally bright for Cal Poly Experience Industry Management as they continue to shape the future of the Experience Industry by empowering students, professionals and organizations to create, deliver and measure extraordinary experiences.

Projects Presented by Cal Poly Students and Faculty:

The Design of Signs Using a Triangulated and Mixed-Methods Approach

Hadara Gordon, Dr. Ye (Sandy) Shen, Dr. Marni Goldenberg, & Michelle Zhang

Which Platform Provides Better Virtual Tourism Experiences? Comparing VR and Multimedia Videos Using Eye Tracking Technology and Skin Conductance Sensors

Dr. Ye (Sandy) Shen, Dr. Yeqiang (Kevin) Lin, Naria Duenas, Dr. Keri Schwab, Dr. Hocheol Yang, & Michelle Zhang

Website User Experience: Comparing Destination Website Designs Using Physiological Sensors

Mimi Raytis & Dr. Yeqiang (Kevin) Lin



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