TRAL – Outdoor Recreation Management
Class of 2022
Hometown: McMinnville, Oregon
How did you get interested in this particular field?
I attended an outdoor recreation conference hosted by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department at OSU three years ago. I am a big outdoor recreation enthusiast who enjoys sea kayaking, canoeing, snowshoeing, camping, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing, so it seemed only natural that I would be drawn to a program that fit in with my interests. I had graduated three decades earlier with a degree in biology with a focus in wildlife biology but have spent the last 20 years doing web development and technical writing. I longed to get back outdoors for work and thought outdoor recreation management might get me there.
What brought you to OSU?
Simply put, OSU was close. I could continue working full-time for the state while attending school. It’s certainly not the least costly university to attend, as I found out, but convenience was the big deciding factor, especially since many of the TRAL courses still are not offered through Ecampus.
What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
This is a tough question to answer because COVID has negatively impacted my experience. One reason I wanted to return to school is I missed the campus life and wanted to hang out with younger students and the feel of their energy. Unfortunately, I only got to spend one term on campus before COVID hit and all classes went remote. That one term was probably the best experience I’ve had because I was back on campus and feeling the college atmosphere again after 30 years away.
In addition to school, how do you spend your time?
I spend my time kayaking, canoeing, camping, snowshoeing, and photographing wildlife when I have the time. I also serve as a volunteer paddle trip leader and naturalist for the Tualatin Riverkeepers. I work for the Public Employees Retirement System as a desktop publisher and web developer. Paddling in the Puget Sound and around the San Juan Islands hoping for encounters with orcas is something I really enjoy doing.
What’s your goal for your education? A particular dream job?
First, because of my advanced years (63), I know I’ll be competing for jobs against a cadre of much younger applicants, so graduating near the top of my class is important to me. I am hoping the classes I take will make me competitive for outdoor recreation management opportunities once I graduate. My dream job is to move back to New England where I was born and raised and work as a park manager at Acadia National Park in Maine.
Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
At my age, pursuing a new degree and career change is a daunting and life-altering decision. Many people my age may be retired and able to easily attend college; other’s like myself are tied to full-time jobs and also may be helping to support family members. I believe it would help to have a college advocate for older students (>50) attending the university.