Published on March 9, 2014
Star Trac is excited and honored to partner with NIRSA Foundation to offer NIRSA’s Professional Members financial support to attend the 2014 NIRSA Annual Conference. The newly launched NIRSA Foundation Travel Assistance Stipend allows leading professionals the opportunity to advance their career in the field of collegiate recreation by networking and gaining valuable knowledge without shouldering the expenses of travel and lodging. 2
Chris Cody, Facility Manager University of Texas at Dallas Meet Chris Cody: “University of Texas, at Dallas, is the first school I worked at after graduating. I attended UTD to get my undergrad in Criminology with a minor Chemistry. While pursing my degree, I worked for other departments on campus, but I always heard great things about the Activity Center (Recreational Sports department). After graduation, there was an opening on the professional staff. I talked with the director and other professional staff. We hit it off, and I joined on. Even though I enjoyed my job, it was originally only supposed to be only that: a job. I was pursuing my master’s degree at the time, and I planned on going to another field upon completion. As I immersed myself into the Recreation Sports world, I realized all the opportunities that our field has available. I finished by degree and applied for a promotion in our department. I got that and have been enjoying Recreational Sports from then on. Ι know plenty of maintenance/repair tricks to share with other facility people, but something that I tell our students is that there are so many opportunities in our field. And although the pay might not be the highest, we’re typically the happiest people on any campus.” 3
M ichelle Cunningham Intramural and Club Sports Coordinator Salem State University Meet Michelle Cunningham: This is my first school that I am working at in the Fitness & Recreation Field. My first position out of school was as a Sports Information Assistant at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. I then moved on to Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA to be the assistant Women’s Basketball Coach. I continued my coaching path at Salem State University when I was named head coach in 2011. I wanted something more than just coaching which led me to apply for the position of Intramural and Club Sports Coordinator. I attended Salem State from 2004-2008. I was a member of the women’s basketball team, a three year president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Vice President of the Sport Fitness and Leisure Studies Club. The experience and the people within the athletic department and the campus as a whole really made me want to work there. As a homesick freshman I was looking for something to occupy more of my time and help me feel a since of belonging. I wanted to work within a field that would keep me active. I also knew that I wanted variety in my work day and to have a direct impact of the students that I work with to positively impact their college experience. We are a brand new recreation department. We’re putting together late night at the gym events where on certain Fridays thru the spring semester we are staying open until Midnight and hosting special events like a March Madness Basketball Challenge, Expresso Bike Bracket Races, Trivia Night and a campus wide dodgeball event. 4
Nicole McKibben Programming and Promotions Coordinator South Dakota State University Meet Nicole McKibben: I began my employment with South Dakota State University in 2008 as an Admissions Counselor. I enjoyed traveling and recruiting new Jackrabbits, but in 2013 was hired as the Programming and Promotions Coordinator in the SDSU Wellness Center and absolutely love it! I did not attend South Dakota State University as a student. I completed my Undergraduate Degree at Iowa State University, where I studied Communication Studies. I received my Master’s Degree from The University of Northern Iowa in Organizational Communication. I am passionate about improving the lives of students. In the Department of Student Affairs, that is one of our main focuses. Part of my position is to promote the wide variety of fitness and health programming we have going on within our facility. I take pride in working for a university that understands the importance of health and fitness and what an impact it can make in student’s success. The Wellness Center is a facility that includes the areas of Fitness, Recreation, Wellness & Nutrition, Student Health & Counseling, Family Planning, and Pharmacy. All of these areas are under the same roof and department. My responsibility as the Programming Coordinator is to promote each area equally. We are also unique in the fact that we have recently opened our facility up to internal and external advertisers. In the last year we have started generating revenue through our advertising spaces. The Wellness Center is located on campus and the primary recreation facility for students at South Dakota State University, but we are also open to community members. On a daily basis we accommodate all different age groups including youth, students, families, and older adults. These unique characteristics make the Wellness Center more than just a recreation facility, it is a place where students and community members alike feel like they connect with each other while enriching their overall wellness. 5
Josh Stover Assistant Director, Wellness Center Shepherd University Meet Josh Stover: This is my first school as a professional. I attended Slippery Rock University for my undergraduate degree. Previously I was an intern with Mount St. Mary’s University’s Recreation Department and prior to that I worked as an undergraduate with Slippery Rock University’s Campus Recreation Department. My supervisors at Slippery Rock (Greg Sferra and Karen Perry) were my inspiration to want to work in the campus recreation field. I worked with them for three years and during that time they gave me several opportunities to grow as a student employee. I still look up to them and reach out to them for advice on certain items. I enjoy working in environment where students and patrons “want to be” rather than “have to be”. Very few people come into a fitness center in a bad mood and if they do hopefully they are leaving in a better mood. 6
Kyle Smith Assistant Director, Recreation Center California Baptist University Meet Kyle Smith: Before coming back to California Baptist University, I worked at Concordia University - Irvine as one of the Assistant Directors in Residential Education and Services. I received my bachelor’s degree from CBU and came back after completing Graduate school and gaining professional experience at other institutions. What was defining as an undergrad and continues to be a character in CBU culture, is a strong commitment to community. Faculty and Staff at CBU genuinely care for the students wellbeing (physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually). It was a little unconventional how I landed in the recreation field. Student development is my passion and I have always desired to diversify my experience in higher education. I chose to pursue my master’s degree in Student Development, while fulfilling my assistantship hours in Campus Activities and Student Mobilization. Joining the Recreation Center team at CBU was the perfect opportunity to further my experience and knowledge of Student Development/Higher Education. Being able to work in a department that deeply cares about wellness is simply, ‘icing on the cake’. The people have been the inspiration of working in Recreation/Higher Education. Having the opportunity to work with students and great professionals, like Stefani Plummer, has been a true blessing. Currently my focus is student development. We have a unique opportunity to invest in over 100 students focusing on skills they can use beyond their job within Recreational Sports. Being a smaller school, we have a strong 7 sense of community and that becomes a huge benefit as we pour into our student workers.
Bob Weeks, Coordinator of Aquatics - Campus Recreation University of Cincinnati Meet Bob Weeks: I attended the Ohio State University and worked at their facility (Larkins Hall at the time) as a lifeguard and Crew Chief. Working there, combined with my experience at other pools, is what led me to a career in recreation. Once I graduated from OSU, I realized that I loved working at pools. I began building a career out of it, working at various locations around the Columbus, Ohio area. I then moved to State College, PA where I was the Pool Operator for the local high school for five years before coming back to Ohio in October 2010. All staff event Battleship tournament. Aquatic team (in undersized jerseys) prior to a Kinball game 8
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