Events – UCF TRT

Events – UCF TRT

Research-Based Events, Workshops and Webinars

The UCF Targeted Research Training Program hosts free workshops two times per year as part of their outreach efforts. Workshops focus on a health and safety topic of importance to the hospitality industry. The workshops bring together hospitality industry professionals and faculty and student researchers to provide a comprehensive, solution-focused agenda. Check back regularly to learn about upcoming TRT events and review summaries of previous events.

Click on the In This Section arrow to learn more about UCF TRT.

In-Person Events

  1. Fall 2022 Symposium: Housekeeping Symposium
  2. Spring 2020 Workshop: Preventing Violence and Harassment Against Hospitality Employees [postponed due to COVID-19]
  3. Fall 2019 Workshop: Supporting Healthy and Safe Hospitality Work for Employees of All Ages

Fall 2022 Symposium: Housekeeping Symposium  

On September 15, 2022, over 60 industry and academic professionals gathered at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management to discuss trends, issues, and the future of work in hotel housekeeping. In the morning, attendees networked and shared breakfast before Dr. Cynthia Mejia of UCF Rosen College, the primary organizer of the symposium, introduced the day’s agenda.  Shortly after, Dr. Mindy Shoss of UCF Department of Psychology, kicked off the event by sharing the UCF Targeted Research Training (TRT) mission, and then guests were welcomed by Dr. Youcheng Wang, the Dean of Rosen College. Next, industry panelists spoke about their vast housekeeping management experiences in the hospitality industry, and included: 

  • Lynn Dale, Director of Housekeeping, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs 
  • Raj Mehta, Associate Director of Rooms, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort 
  • Nancy Stock, Director of Housekeeping, Rosen Shingle Creek 
  • Caroline Riley, Executive Housekeeping Manager, Shades of Green 
  • Linda Straker, Director of Rooms, Shades of Green 

As a result of the panel discussion, guests were able to observe similarities and differences across the different types of hospitality entities, notably within the realm of technology. 

After a short break, targeted table discussions about hotel housekeeping ensued, with focus groups comprised of both academic and industry professionals. Topics included work arrangements, post-pandemic shifts in work, guest behavior, and the aging workforce. The variety and depth of work experience among industry attendees at each table created intriguing and fruitful discussions. The last two event speakers included Dr. Jay Vietas, Chief of Emerging Technologies at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, who presented on the Future of Work, and Dr. Mary Jean Amon, of UCF’s IST School of Modeling, Simulation, and Training, who shared observations from a recent housekeeping wearables study. Dr. Vietas’ presentation about work in emerging technologies on worker health segued into Dr. Amon’s presentation on the wearables study, which primarily displayed trends between physiological data and hotel housekeepers’ schedules. The symposium concluded at noon, with a brief closing and thank you from Dr. Mejia. 

Fall 2019 Workshop: Supporting Healthy and Safe Hospitality Work for Employees of All Ages.

Employees within the hospitality industry represent a variety of ages groups, from youth employees to individuals working past typical retirement age. How does employee age affect occupational health and safety? Targeted Research Training presented a free workshop to discuss these topics among industry professionals, researchers, and students. 

The workshop took place on Friday, November 22, 2019, from 10 AM – 4 PM at the Hilton Orlando. The day began with a research panel, in which university researchers shared their perspective on work issues relevant to various age groups in the hospitality industry. Next, industry professionals from Hilton and Rosen Hotels participated in a panel on age-friendly hospitality work. They shared innovative best practices from their workplaces that support employees of all ages.  Dr. Jim Grosch, the Co-Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) National Center for Productive Aging and Work, provided a framework for crafting age-friendly work policies. Next, the Targeted Research Trainees guided workshop attendees through case studies regarding the implementation of age-friendly work policies. To end the day, a front-line employee from the Hilton Orlando participated in a Question & Answer session to highlight the importance of workplaces that support employees of all ages!  Speakers included:

  • Barbara Fritzsche, Associate Dean, University of Central Florida
  • Steve Jex, Professor, University of Central Florida
  • Dorea Mays, Associate Director of Human Resources, Rosen Hotels & Resorts
  • Chris Mueller, General Manager, Hilton Orlando
  • Jim Grosch, Co-Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) National Center for Productive Aging and Work

Thank you to our workshop sponsor, the Hilton Orlando.

Virtual Events

  1. Spring 2021 Webinar: “How Safety Management Systems can be used to address the COVID-19 problem.”
  2. Fall 2020 Workshop Series: “People” People in the Hospitality Industry: Working and Not Working in Isolation
    1. Button: Learn more about ‘Research, Recovery, and Reskill’

Spring 2021 Webinar: How Safety Management Systems can be used to address the COVID-19 problem.” 

 We were pleased to offer a free webinar in the Spring of 2021 with guest speaker Dr. Mark Friend, a Professor of Doctoral Studies at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and noted workplace safety expert, to summarize expert guidance on integrating COVID-19 precautions into workplace safety management systems. 


Fall 2020 Workshop Series: “People” People in the Hospitality Industry: Working and Not Working in Isolation  

In an ongoing effort to promote health and safety in the hospitality industry, we were pleased to offer a free webinar series in the Fall of 2020 to help address the unique stresses of hospitality professionals during COVID-19. Each week during the month of October, we invited experts from various disciplines to learn more about how employees in this people-oriented profession can adjust to the isolation of living and working during COVID-19. This series was put on by UCF Department of Psychology’s Targeted Research Training Program in partnership with the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management. The Targeted Research Training Program is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and uses research, education, and outreach to promote workplace health and safety in the hospitality industry. 

Topics are relevant to a variety of positions in the hospitality industry and to those currently working and not working. Learn more and register for future events via our series sponsor, UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management. 

Topics and Speakers

Mental Health Strategies for Dealing with Isolation

UCF RESTORES, a clinic specializing in the treatment of trauma in the College of Sciences at UCF, has rapidly responded to community mental health needs during the COVID-19 crisis. The UCF RESTORES Director provided strategies to support mental health in times of isolation.

Dr. Deborah Beidel
UCF Pegasus Professor & Director of UCF RESTORES


Service with a Mask: Managing Emotions and Stress during COVID-19

Service employees must frequently manage their feelings and expressions, a concept called emotional labor. COVID-19 work processes present unique challenges related to emotional labor. Learn strategies for dealing with the stress of emotional labor during COVID-19.

Dr. Alicia Grandey
Professor of Psychology at Penn State University


Lessons from Astronauts on Dealing with Isolation

While COVID-19-related isolation is new to the hospitality industry, other occupations frequently deal with isolation on the job. Learn how astronauts support their health and performance in the face of isolation.

Dr. Lauren Blackwell Landon
Team Risk Discipline Scientist,
Human Factors and Behavioral Performance (HFBP) Element,
NASA Human Research Program


Who am I? Finding Your Purpose in a Period of Unemployment

Using a life-planning model, participants learned how to promote wellness in life domains despite employment-related changes.

Dr. Connie Wanberg
Professor and Industrial Relations Faculty Excellence Chair, Univ. of Minnesota