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Mountain Ridge

Final Reflection 

Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport Management (MPRTSM)

I grew up convinced I wanted to be an engineer, and we know NC State is the place for that! When my undergraduate experience didn’t align with that, it was so reassuring to find CNR and the PRTM program, and graduate with my bachelor's degree in Recreation Program Management. I was able to secure a fantastic LEGO education role right out of undergrad that combined both engineering problem solving with recreation. I found my way back to campus through temporary roles and wanted to pursue the next level of education to further my skills and challenge myself. I felt at home with the faculty and staff from my undergraduate classes. 10 years later, I am thankful I had the opportunity to interact with and be taught by so many of those influential professors again while earning my master's degree. I enrolled at the height of the pandemic in the fall of 2020. CNR's Online Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Management program seemed like a perfect fit for me because the classes are in an accelerated format, all online, and taught synchronously in the evening. This allowed me a connection to others (when we couldn't actually go out to meet anyone), allowed me to connect to professors and staff from a decade ago, and reignite my passion for the Wolfpack. Although I am close to campus and visit often, I had my own personal way of interacting with people on the educational side and could enjoy campus as a graduate student through recreation and sporting events.


This degree has helped me in my current professional role because all the projects and assignments are encouraged to be based on your current work or a role you aspire to be in. I worked on budgeting, finance, marketing, data analysis, geographic mapping, leadership, and risk management projects. My hiring manager role within my division is also paired with training and onboarding, and I have been able to apply course concepts and projects to this role. 

PowerPoint presentations are nice, but ones that cite current recreation research and have interactive maps and data are even better! I learned how to improve my existing presentations through my research and projects. Additionally, the faculty is well connected within the recreation field. I have joined the National Recreation and Park Association of which I was a student member in my undergraduate years. I hope to become a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional by this summer!


The largest challenge to this online Master’s program is balancing work with school and everything thing else going on in life, and throwing a worldwide pandemic on top of that! I had many late nights of reading, studying, analyzing data, writing papers, and enhancing presentations. This isn't a casual program, it is fast-paced and requires healthy boundaries between work and leisure time. Classes are usually at a set time in the evening and most are outside of typical working hours, but in the recreation and event fields, we know our programs can be all over the place. I have made friends and colleagues for life from my cohort! It helps immensely to have people that remind you when assignments are due or for motivational encouragement when things get busy and trust me, they will! It is really nice that the courses are all eight weeks within the program and it allowed me to earn my master’s degree and a certificate at the same time within four semesters (plus the summer).


I would suggest one area of improvement to be more collaboration between other departments like Health and Exercise studies or the Education Department. I am interested in pursuing more certificates and would like to see these relevant departments interconnected with PRTSM and CNR. Overall, a majority of the professors were very welcoming and knowledgeable. They were encouraging and provided insight into their research and how their work is relevant to the studies we were engaged in. I would like to see opportunities for online students who are local to the Raleigh area to have the ability to be a Teaching Assistant to a professor. This also might offer the ability to perform or assist with their ongoing research or current papers. I know the online cohort is small and doesn’t come to campus, but the ability for them to have more engagement with professors would be very beneficial and welcomed!


I hope to continue to put my Master degree to use in my professional role during data analysis and leadership development. I want to continue with my recreation focus lens that also includes racial equity, inclusion, and diversity. I am looking to take more courses in Training and Development if not as a continuing education student, as a certificate student. 


I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to return to the Wolfpack and experience the Online PRTSM Master Degree program. I will be forever grateful for the connections and hard work I have gained over these last two years. I look forward to celebrating with my cohort at graduation and during the summer! Go PACK!

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