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Paul Smith’s students doing field studies work at casino


AKWESASNE – Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort (AMCR) recently welcomed students from Paul Smith’s College as part of a field studies in hospitality course. The overnight visit included a property tour and a meeting with casino management team members.

In December, Kelly Cerialo, assistant professor of Paul Smith’s Hospitality, Resort, and Tourism Management Program, approached AMCR about participating in the field studies course, which works with local businesses on short-term management projects.

The upper division course has 11 students who will propose marketing projects for the newly added Sweetgrass Spa and Hotel Banquet center. Both of these projects will be presented to casino management by the students.

Sheila King, director of Organizational & Tribal Development, said, “It’s a good opportunity for us to share what [AMCR] has accomplished with a reputable college such as Paul Smith’s, and it gives students a working knowledge of how they will apply academics to a business setting.”

Frank Allen, director of Marketing, added AMCR has gone under a “total transformation, we are a totally different property than we were a year and a half ago.”

Both the professor and the students raved about their recent visit to the casino. Professor Cerialo said, “The students are still buzzing about the site visit and are excited to start working on the spa project. Many of them have never had the opportunity to stay at a property of that caliber, so the overnight stay was certainly a treat, but it was also a wonderful educational experience for them as well.”

AMCR currently has three Paul Smith’s alumni on its executive team: Patrick Bassney ‘82, general manager; Erik Palmer ’81, chief financial officer; and Toby TenEyck ’83, director of Food & Beverage.

Mr. Bassney was recently honored as a keynote speaker at Paul Smith’s graduation ceremony in December.

“We have forged a positive working relationship with the college, and we are exploring other areas of education for the future,” Ms. King said.

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