• Community Sense of Place Community Sense of Place Tourism Impacts and Second Home Development: A Sustainable Approach
  • Climate, Weather, and Tourism Climate, Weather, and Tourism Tourism destinations and their individual tourism businesses are all vying for tourists at their respective locations.
  • Engagement and Community Engagement and Community In partnership with the Office of Engagement, Innovation, and Economic Development.
  • Rural Tourism Rural Tourism Sustaining rural America is one of today's pressing issues.
  • RESET RESET Race, Ethnicity, and Social Equity in Tourism
  • US Travel Care Code US Travel Care Code The United States Travel Care Code has been developed and is managed by the Center for Sustainable Tourism.
  • RETI RETI The Renewable Energy in Tourism Initiative
  • Tourism and Entrepreneurship Tourism and Entrepreneurship Developing the local tourism industry as part of an economic development strategy.

Graduate Assistants
A team of Research Assistants, graduate students from various disciplines, provide assistance in research and program development and management to advance Center Initiatives in support of sustainability and tourism.


    Lucy Hurtado       

Lucia Hertado

Data Analysis with State Tourism Office

Lucia is originally from Quito, Ecuador. As an undergrad she studied Hospitality Management at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. During Lucia's undergrad years, she participated in the Disney College Program for eight months at Orlando, Florida. Her love for traveling and experiencing new forms of culture is what brought me to the center. Additional, Lucia loves to swim, cook, travel, paint and all forms of art. Her interests in sustainability range from rural entrepreneurship to green restaurant/ lodging entrepreneurship.  Currently, Lucia is investigating perceived benefits and barriers for the adoption of sustainable practices in NC, and how to reduce carbon footprint in study abroad programs.

 Chris Hetland

Chris Hetland

Chris is from Stephens City, VA, in the Shenandoah Valley. He obtained his BS in Global Justice and Policy with a minor in Middle Eastern Communities and Migration from James Madison University. In his spare time, Chris enjoys fishing, golfing, and the general outdoors. In addition, Chris has a unique talent as a home brewer. Chris has a keen interest in working with a nonprofit or local governmental entity one day.

daniel johnson new

Daniel Johnson

EPA research on pollution prevention/ NC Green Travel

Daniel was born and raised in a small farming community outside of Elizabeth City, NC. He spent most of his youth exploring the wilds of eastern North Carolina. He received his BS in Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Health from Western Carolina University and fostered a love for the mountains. Daniel spent 10 years as a commercial construction safety professional in Raleigh assisting in major construction projects. He most recently helped start a small sustainable farm outside of Beaufort. He is especially interest in sustainable food systems, agritourism, and rural development. In his free time Daniel enjoys camping, hiking, farming, and surfing.


Sara Phelps

Community Outreach & Advisory Council

Sara was born and raised in Eastern NC. She is originally from Williamston but currently resides on the Albemarle Sound. She graduated from ECU in 1993 with an undergrad in Business Administration. Sara has been working in tourism for the past 14 years with great partners and community leaders in Northeaster NC. Currently, she is the Marketing Director at the Eastern 4-H Center in Columbia. Sara enjoys boating, the beach, family activities, wreath making and pirate football. She even camped outside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for Peach Bowl tickets one year. Sara is working on community outreach efforts, specifically with the Center's Advisory Council Board.

 Michala Rose

Michala Ritz

Travel Care Code
Michala has her BS in Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She was born in Oswego, NY and raised south of Charlotte in Mineral Springs, NC. Michala has five amazing sister ranging from 24-13 years old. She has had the opportunity to travel to four different countries (Sweden, Iceland, Norway, and Ghana) with study abroad programs at UNC-Wilmington and ECU. Michala loves to snowboard during the winter and surf during the summer. Most of all, she cannot wait to see the rest of the world. Michala's work at the Center focuses on the Travel Care Code Initiative and its Pledge to Travel Green area.

Charis Tucker 

Charis Tucker

Race, Ethnicity and Social Equity in Tourism (RESET) Initiative

Charis was born and raised in Chesterfield, VA. She joined the Pirate family as an education major earning an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education (2003) and a Master's degree in Adult Education (2011). Charis' membership to an international travel club spurred her desire to turn her passion into a profession. After learning about the varied travel experiences of other minority members, she was intrigued to find out more about the field especially as it relates to African Americans and how she could assist others in traveling more. The Center's RESET Initiative seemed to be the perfect fit!

Katelyn Wright 

Katelyn Wright

TA for Hospitality Leadership

Katelyn obtained her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University in Recreation and Park Management. She concentrated in commercial recreation and tourism. Katelyn was born and raised in Richmond, VA and enjoys wakeboarding, foods, water activities. Her favorite food is pho, which is a type of Vietnamese soup. Katelyn is currently a teaching assistant for Hospitality Leadership.

Sustainable Tourism | About Us | Graduate Assistants

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