With all of the talented students in the marketing major at Ashland University, it is hard to showcase each and every one of them, but one particular student and her family “popped” out at me. Mara Holcomb and her family make and sell delicious kettle corns and nuts at fairs and festivals in Ohio from May to the end of October each year. They also receive and ship online orders for their popcorns and nuts on their website to their loyal customers that live out of state and for families who like to ship their college kids and other family members their amazing treats. Mara is currently a sophomore at Ashland University double majoring in Marketing and Finance.

Holcomb's Popcorn

Holcomb’s Classics Kettle Corn. Picture via https://www.holcombsclassics.com/photos

The Holcomb Story

Mara’s family started Holcomb’s Classics around thirteen years ago. They became interested in the kettle corn concession business after seeing a vendor at a state fair popping kettle corn. Now, they were not quite sure how to break into the concession/popcorn business, so they started by doing some research. They were intrigued by the way Gary Mann and his family popped their popcorn. Gary and his family resurrected an old way of popping popcorn in large kettles while adding something sweet such as honey, molasses, or sugar. Mara’s family thought that Gary had a great idea and they decided that the kettle corn would be a great way to break into the concession business. Their products have expanded over the years and they now include caramel corn, cheese corn, cinnamon roasted nuts, and the basic classic kettle corn.

Mara Holcomb (middle) and the Holcomb Family.

Mara Holcomb (middle) and the Holcomb Family.

The Family Support

Now, Mara just doesn’t sit back and let her family do all the work. She actively assists in the family business in multiple ways. Besides going to fairs and festivals with the family to sell their products, Mara also assists by helping in the digital marketing of her family’s products. She helped to design and market the Holcomb’s Classics website with her dad, which was launched this past April. She also helps to maintain the website and the Holcomb’s Classic Facebook page as well.

Once a year, Mara also brings some of her family’s popcorn to Ashland University. She and the Girl’s Ashland University Club Basketball team sell her family’s delicious popcorn to the students here at AU. The sales of the popcorn are used to help raise money for the girl’s club team and are divided between the girl’s club team and the Holcomb family. But no matter where the money goes, the real beneficiaries are the students and faculty receiving the amazing popcorn.

The Future

The Holcomb family is considering attempting to grow their product line and their customer base by appearing and selling their products at more fairs and festivals among the surrounding states. But as of right now, Mara and her family are happy where the family business stands and are enjoying providing delicious kettle corns and nuts to their loyal patrons.

Learning More

If you want to learn more about Holcomb’s Classics, visit their website at: https://www.holcombsclassics.com/

Or Like their page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HolcombsClassics

Josh Gullett is a senior double major in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. He is a member of Enactus and is currently the head coach of the Women’s Club Basketball team.

The sport management field is new to the College of Business at Ashland University. Sports and business go hand in hand, so the sport management joining the College of Business is a key move. Check out the Ashland’s College of Business at: https://www.ashland.edu/cobe/.

Sports comprise nearly a $500 billion annual industry. The job market in the sport business world from 2008-2018 is expected to increase by twenty- three percent. There is a wide variety of jobs available in the sport business world, ranging from managing college and professional athletes to office systems, to marketing and event and facilities, even economics and finance.

Volunteer Work

In February 2014, six Sport Management students volunteered to work at a United States Tennis Association (USTA) even that was held in Cleveland, Ohio.


These students experienced many important aspects of sport management such as media, credentialing, operations, transportation, VIP/hospitality and many others. The sport management students worked alongside the USTA staff and the International Tennis Federation. Some of the students said that they, “gained a whole new respect for event planners and the amount of effort and time that goes into the behind the scenes.”

Doug Wenger, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at OMNOVA Solutions, a global manufacturing company headquartered in Northeast Ohio, said that “they were on time, attentive, respectful and outstanding ambassadors of sports, international relations, our community and your respective university.” The students also got along with different age groups and interacted well with the public.

To see more about the Sport Management majors’ volunteer work, check out: https://www.ashland.edu/cobe/node/40356

Sport Management Field Day

Sunday Fun day Field Day was held on April 6, 2014. This event is run strictly by Sport Management students. Every year, students in the Event Management class plan the Sunday Fun day Field Day for class credit. The Sport Management students are in charge of everything, from the games they play to sponsors for the event.

Last year’s games, selected by the Sport Management students, included sand volleyball, kickball, capture the flag, and relay races. The sport Management students typically conduct a survey to determine what games should be played during the event.

Planning an event like this is great experience for Sport Management students. It helps the students get hands-on practice of being Event Planners. It gives the students the opportunities to grow and learn from their mistakes.

To see more about the Sunday Fun day Field day check out: https://www.ashland.edu/cobe/node/40361#overlay-context=major

Balil Knight is a senior majoring in Sport Management and minoring in Marketing and Business Administration at Ashland University. He is also a member of the fraternity Omega Psi Phi and the Ashland university Football team.

Most majors at Ashland University have a club on campus for their students to attend and participate in with their peers. For Hospitality Management, it is a nationally recognized and award-winning club called NSMH, also known as National Society for Minorities in Hospitality.


This club travels across the country, spreads awareness of Hospitality Management, and has fun doing many other activities. NSMH is home to students who want to further their career with networking, event planning, and gaining leadership experiences and opportunities. NSMH meets every Tuesday at eight in the evening on the first floor in the Dauch College of Business and Economics.

Is it healthy if it tastes like fruit?

Recently the club paired with Eagle Entrepreneurs for their annual Cookie Wars. NSMH came in strong with an interesting take on the average sugar cookie. The society finished their sugar cookies with a pineapple glaze. You will notice a trend when it comes to the club; they love their pineapple. The international symbol for hospitality is the pineapple. NSMH, nationally and locally, have continued to use this mascot proudly.


At the start of the semester, you might have spotted NSMH students serving up pineapple in the lower convocation center to raise awareness of the club. While the club emphasizes their meetings and planning events for the school, the main events for NSMH are their conferences.


NSMH attends two conferences every year. The locations vary across the United States and are always good for a fun road trip with your friends. This year there was three regional conferences. The Northeast Regional Conference was held at the University of Massachusetts Hotel in Amherst Massachusetts. The conference lasted for three days during October 2014. The West/Midwest regional conference was held in San Diego, California at the DoubleTree by Hilton-San Diego Mission Valley. The South/Southeast NSMH region hosted the last regional conference in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel. While the regional conferences are a fun escape from reality, they are truly in preparation for the magnitude that is the National Conference. If you are interested in attending a regional conference next year, check out https://www.nsmh.org for future dates.


The twenty-sixth annual National Conference will be held in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Westin Convention Center will host NSMH chapters from across the nation for four days in early 2015, starting on February twelve and ending on the fifteenth. At this conference, there are endless networking opportunities and events to further the members knowledge of their chosen field. During the 2013 national conference, our very own chapter won the prestigious Chapter of the Year award. This proves the power that our little Ashland University has against other huge educational establishments across the country. To sign up visit, https://www.nsmh.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=179:-national-conference-general-information&catid=57:development-added. Do it soon for better rates!

If National Society for Minorities interest you, follow @NSMHAshland on Twitter for up to date news and information on the club, or e-mail NSMH President Diamond Brown, DBrown24@Ashland.edu, for additional information.


Rachel Csenar is a senior double majoring in Marketing and Hospitality Management with a minor in International Business. She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Enactus.  She also can be found at Tuffy’s, perfecting the common smoothie or serving the Loge and Box Seat guests at Ashland University Football games.

Showcasing Talents of the students in Fashion Merchandising

Students in the Fashion Merchandising major are stepping up their game. The students are preparing garments for the upcoming fashion show on October 30th, 2014. This show features garments made from recycled goods to show that recycling can be used in all areas of life!

The AU fashion merchandising students learn all types of skills to help them succeed. They learn skills from drawing, to measuring, to sewing, to building full outfits. The talents of the students are impeccable!

First Hand knowledge

“As a fashion major, you learn how to sew, operate sewing machines, how to tailor and fit garments. You also learn how to draw and design fashion. You learn textile and how to identify them, test them, and understand quality control. You learn the history of fashion trends to be able to recognize and interpret them in modern fashion. With that, you learn to draw inspiration from them and then you produce them,” said junior Katie Ruick.

Fashion is a Business

As one can see, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into being a Fashion Merchandising major. The students also showcase their business knowledge, and learn how to run a business in the fashion industry. This includes boutiques, lines, and retail buyers and sellers.

The talents of the students are endless. The fashion merchandising majors are phenomenal and demonstrate their creativity and artistic talents as well as their professionalism in the business world.

Picturing the talent is not so hard

To showcase the talents of the students, here are some pictures of recent outfits:


Junior, Katie Ruick, with her newest creation for the recyclable fashion show.

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Some students from last year’s Halloween fashion show, showcasing more garments they made.

Photos of completed garments for the fashion show!

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All of these garments were hand produced by the students in the major to prepare for the fashion show on October 30th, 2014.

As one can tell, there is a lot that goes into the fashion merchandising major.

To learn more, check out the AU Fashion Students on Twitter @AU451Fashion and the newest promotion video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVAJbTsmdxc&feature=youtu.be.

Danyelle Kupfer is a Senior Digital Media Production major with a Journalism minor at Ashland University. She is a member of Alpha Phi and a DJ for WRDL.

The Fashion Merchandising department may be small, but it is mighty. Each Fashion Merchandising student is required to complete one internship within their field. Student internships vary by company and type of position, whether it’s buying, styling or working on visuals for a store. Let me take you on a journey of two AU fashionistas’ summer internships!

Interning 101

Teah Kullman, a senior Fashion Merchandising major, spent her summer interning in Canton, Ohio at Mainstream Boutique. Her daily tasks differed, which is one of the reasons she loved and appreciated her internship. Teah was responsible for visual merchandising such as dressing mannequins, store window displays, and wall displays. She was also responsible for updating the boutique’s social media pages, including Facebook and Instagram, daily. Along with visuals and social media, Teah also assisted with buying orders and styling the clients. Her favorite task was to help style and dress models for the Hall of Fame Fashion Show – how exciting!

Teah modeling one of Mainstream Boutique's new tops for summer.

Teah modeling one of Mainstream Boutique’s new tops for summer.

The knowledge that one gains from an internship expands on the knowledge one gains in the classroom. Teah says she learned so many skills in class that she put to use this summer such as visual merchandising and styling. She had to stay up-to-date with current trends to be able to properly style her customers. When seasons change, you must transition the visuals and make sure the creative displays are attractive and relevant to customers and the season. Teah says her most enjoyable experience from her internship is being able to work side by side with her supervisors, Rebecca and Elizabeth. According to Teah, they are extremely knowledgeable in fashion and business that she loved learning from them.

Mainstream Boutique is a franchise-based boutique that has multiple locations spread out over 16 different states, but the shop Teah worked with was fairly new; it just celebrated its first anniversary! They recently won the Akron/Canton Hot List in the Boutique category – so exciting! The boutique donates to different charities each month and holds in store events to raise money for charities. This summer, the boutique released their own private label, which is amazing because boutiques do not often create their own lines. To find out more about Mainstream Boutique, click here.

The Business of Fashion

Laura Carley, a senior Fashion Merchandising major, had the privilege to intern during the summer at Altar’d State, located in Mason, Ohio. Her duties consisted of visual merchandising and mannequin styling, which she loved! Laura’s visuals entailed creative window displays and detailed wall displays, like the one shown in the image below.


Wall display created by Laura!

Altar’d State is displayed in sections:

  • Romantic
  • Modern Classic
  • Bohemian Chic

This is a great way to display a store because it appeals to customer’s preferences and makes for a friendly shopping environment. If a customer has a bohemian style, then they may gravitate towards that section, where they will enjoy that style of sector do not have to walk around the entire store looking for pieces to match.

Visual Merchandising table Laura styled and created.

Visual Merchandising table Laura styled and created.

Laura most enjoyed the work environment within the store, as well as her coworkers and managers. Her managers were wonderful individuals to learn from because they provide a great amount of guidance for the interns. Laura’s most valuable experience was enhancing her analytical and problem solving skills. She also enjoyed the vast amount of freedom that was given to her to complete her tasks. She loved styling and dressing mannequins according to current trends and season. To see some of the current merchandise at Altar’d State, click here.


Olivia Morris is a Fashion Merchandising major with a minor in Business Administration and Marketing. She is also a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.





A Career in the Making

There is no Hospitality like Understanding

Hospitality management, or hospitality administration, is a large field with many majors. Depending on your interest and skills, you can pursue career opportunities focused on hotel management, travel and tourism, conference or event management, the restaurant industry and more. A course of study can cover everything from business to food science to botany, and internships and assistantships are typically a part of the program as well.

In the past, Ashland University graduates secured excellent opportunities working for companies such as Disney, The Hyatt, Marriott and more. AU has established relationships with such companies, and students have been able to receive internship opportunities. For further information of the opportunity of Hospitality Management at AU visit https://www.ashland.edu/cobe/node/400


Eagle Spotlight:

 Jake Gonci


A member of the Ashland University Football program, Jake interned at The Fastenal Company. Fastenal resells industrial, safety, and construction supplies and offers services including inventory management, manufacturing, and tool repair. As an intern, Jake received shipments, completed invoices and quotes fulfilled orders, and navigated the Oracle cloud computing system. Jake built strong communication skills through much writing and solving applied problems.

  Kate Eckels


Kate is a member of the Ashland University Volleyball team as well as Eagle Investment Group. She interned at The J.M. Smucker Company during the summer. The J. M. Smucker Company is an American manufacturer of fruit spreads, ice cream toppings, beverages, shortening, natural peanut butter, and other products in North America. Smucker’s headquarters are located in Orrville, Ohio.

Elizabeth Papantonio


Like many AU interns, Elizabeth utilized resources from the Dauch College of Business and Economics connections to the fullest. Elizabeth interned at Ecolab, Inc., which is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies and services to the food, energy, healthcare, industrial and hospitality markets. She was even recognized on March 27, 2014 by the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) as one of Northeast Ohio’s “Best Intern”. For more information regarding Elizabeth’s recognition, visit http://news.ashland.edu/article/ashland-university-student-recognized-northeast-ohio%E2%80%99s-best-intern

Insights about the Major:

“AU has a great connection with outside companies. With the help of The Dauch College of Business and Economics, I have been able to sort out future possible internships.”

  • Anonymous

“I would consider the Ashland University Hospitality Management Program professors to be the most passionate educators on campus. Their thorough knowledge of the material has allowed me to gain insight into the hotel and restaurant industry, while furthering my knowledge of how to become an industry leader as well.”

  • Kyle Suerth

“I haven’t done an internship yet, but will defiantly begin one soon. With the help of AU career services and The College of Business, it should be easy. With Hospitality Management, I can dig my hands in things that I love to do with well-known companies.”

  • James Ester


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What is Sport Management?

Sport management degrees offer students important knowledge and skills centered on finance, management, marketing and law relating to organizations in the sports industry. Sport management is an ever-changing field where business, entertainment and sports come together.

A degree in sport management can prepare you for careers with amateur, collegiate and professional sports organizations. The sports industry in the U.S., including careers in sport management, creates over $200 billion annually, which means there are tremendous opportunities available (Atkins, 2013).

Many professionals believe that the right internship can be helpful for starting a career in the competitive sports industry, and some students can land front office positions with professional sports teams because they chose to earn a sport management degree. We will look at these opportunities a little later on.

What can I do with Sport Management?

The focus of one’s sport management career depends on the sub-field that he or she specializes in. Managing players on college or professional sports teams may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sport management, but it is actually much broader than you think. The career also includes office systems, marketing, events and facilities.

A person with a sport management degree could range from being a head coach to a PR executive. Sports management professionals can also be found in business and medicine. In many cases, this would require the professional to achieve further education beyond his or her bachelor’s degree.

In a sports medicine program, one might learn how to teach college football players how to stay healthy and keep fit by eating the right kinds of foods, or helping a tennis player deal with the psychological difficulties of stress and competition that come with being a professional athlete.

A sport management degree offers a variety of opportunities that can allow you to turn your love of sports into a career!

Cool Classes

There are so many classes offered to sport management majors at Ashland University. Since the major is located in the Dauch College of Business & Economics (COBE), sport management students take core business classes such as Principles of Marketing and Introduction to Management.

Courses directly related to sport management include:

  • Current Trends in Sport
  • Research in Sport
  • Ethics and Social Issues in Sport
  • Psychology of Sport and Coaching
  • Leadership in Sport.

My favorite of these courses, Psychology of Sport and Coaching, is a discussion of general psychological factors which characterize sports, such as personality of the athlete, personality of the coach, motivation, emotion, aggression, and social factors which are unique in sports and coaching.

Upperclassman/Internship Opportunities

There are many internship opportunities for upperclassman looking to increase their experience and fulfill the COBE requirements. Just some companies/teams that students with this major have interned for include:

  • Cleveland Indians
  • Quicken Loans Arena
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Columbus Blue Jackets

Internships help students gain real world experience and can increase the likelihood of find a job after graduation. The more prepared you are for the real world, the more opportunities you have for success.

Want to know more about Ashland University’s Sport Management program? Click here to check it out!

Margo Miller is a junior and doubling majoring in marketing and psychology at Ashland University. She is also a member of Delta Zeta sorority and hopes to pursue a career in consumer behavior.


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