Graduate survives cancer, wastes no time obtaining dual degrees

<p>Nichole Hugo, one of the first students to take advantage of an accelerated BS/MS program with an undergraduate major in tourism development and management and a master’s degree in recreation and tourism studies, has wasted no time. At 22, she is graduating with dual degrees from the School of Community Resources and Development.</p><separator></separator><p>As a child, she battled and overcame bone cancer. While she was preparing to go to Costa Rica and Nicaragua for her master’s thesis fieldwork, Hugo relapsed; this time, it was lung cancer. Despite her battle with the disease, Hugo finished her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four-and-a-half years with a 3.8 GPA.</p><separator></separator><p>“I really loved everything I was learning, and that’s why I finished everything so quickly,” Hugo says. “As soon as I finished one class, I wanted to learn more right away. When I was diagnosed again with cancer, my family and friends were a huge support system for me. They encouraged me to keep going on with school, to keep moving forward.”</p><separator></separator><p>Her passion is helping poor and disadvantaged groups of people, which led to her master’s thesis titled “Poverty Alleviation through Tourism Development: A Comparison Study of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.” She is planning to present the findings of her thesis to the Travel and Tourism Research Association conference in San Antonio, Texas, next summer.</p><separator></separator><p>Hugo also serves as a volunteer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the oncology and hematology floor playroom, assisting children and their families who are dealing with cancer or surgery.</p><separator></separator><p>Her instructors say Hugo’s passion and dedication have inspired many undergraduate students to go to graduate school.</p><separator></separator><p>“I’d see undergrad students all the time considering grad school, but on the fence about it because they weren’t sure if they could handle the coursework,” Hugo says. “I told them it is harder work – you definitely have to devote yourself – but it’s completely possible. You get so much out of it. Even the thesis – it was definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever done academically, but also the most rewarding.</p><separator></separator><p>She eventually wants to earn her Ph.D. so she can become a university professor and continue her research of poverty in developing countries.<br /><br /><b>Media contact:</b><br />Corey Schubert<br />
(602) 496-0406<br /><a href="; target="_blank"></a></p>