Featured Student of the Month

Susana Pardo - Recreation Therapy Major

SusanaPardoI love making people happy! I knew that recreation therapy would provide me with the perfect oppotunity to do this on a daily basis. Recreation therapists get to help people continue performing and/or find new leisure activities that they love to do. We focus on using an individual's strengths to help them meet their needs. We use client-centered recreation participation activites, leisure education, and active treatment interventions to help them improve physical, emotional, cognitive and social functioning.

After graduation, I hope to work as a recreation therapist in an adapted adventures program for individuals with disabilities and then open my own program some day when I am a seasoned therapist. Eventually I would also like to go back to school and get my masters or doctorate in RT in order to contribute to our profession's body of knowledge through research and teach RT students and future professionals.

Recreation Therapy is extremely rewarding! If you're interested in this field, be open to all opportunities presented to you, it is the best way to find your niche. Get involved! By doing so, you will get to know your professors better, build better relationships with fellow RT students (who you will work with professionally in the future), and network with current recreation therapy professionals in our community. And finally, HAVE FUN! You'll find it's not hard to do in this major.

Previously Featured Students

Megan Liebal - PED/Teacher Licensure Major

I started working with people with disabilities when Dr. Combs came to one of my classes to talk about the “I Can Do It” meganliebelprogram. This is a mentoring program based off of a grant our department received, which allows us to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to get active and have health lessons here at UNCW. We can also go out to a school to work with anyone if they cannot get to us. I have fallen in love with it and since then have decided to become an Adapted Physical Education teacher. I also plan to go to graduate school for Adapted PE.

I always thought that I might want to become a teacher, especially with my mom being one. I decided to teach PE because, bottom line, I want to make a difference. I want my students to learn health (such as nutrition, self esteem, communication, respecting others), movement manipulation skills, find activities they like (whether it’s biking, kayaking, or hiking), and how to work together (cooperative learning). I want kids to find activities that they actually enjoy doing and can continue throughout their lifetime.

I would tell whoever is interested in this major to pursue it because obesity is an epidemic and there really needs to be a change. As a society, we need to become more active and learn to eat healthier. So if you want to make a difference in the lives of kids because you truly care, this is the right major for you! Plus, we have a lot of fun and have some of the BEST teachers that give us so much of their time and energy!

Monica Stewart - Exercise Science Major

MonicaStewartResearch Assistant - Abstract on "Prevalence of Masked Obesity Amongst a Young, Non-Sedentary Population" accepted for presentation at the 2012 National Conference of Undergraduate Reserach (NCUR).
Teaching Assistant - EXS 349 Lab
Conducted several peer study sessions for EXS 349
OPI Assistant (Obesity Prevention Initiative)

I have a desire to help people lead healthy lifestyles. I feel that my education in Exercise Science and Community Health in combination with my personal life experiences have molded me into someone that could have a great impact within the field of Health and Wellness. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school in the Fall of 2012. I will study to attain my Master of Science degree in Health and Fitness, and I am looking to start a career working in corporate wellness.
When asked if she had advice for prospective students, Monica responded: While studying during your undergraduate degree, try to get involved within the field of study either through volunteer work, working with a professor on a research project, an internship, or a part-time job within the field. You learn so much more about yourself and your field of study when working hands-on in the field.


Cristina Zieba - Athletic Training Majorcristinaziebawithpatient

Cristina and her family moved here from South Carolina where she was a student at the University of South Carolina. Her husband is currently stationed at Camp Lejeune, so she chose to attend UNCW because of its close proximity to her home in Jacksonville.

The Athletic Training program appealed to her because she realized that the military has a huge need for people in this field. Upon graduation, she could work with military personnel or their families.

Cristina is most impressed with the Athletic Training curriculum because students are offered so many opportunities. Her experiences so far have included working with a local chiropractor, New Hanover High School's football program, and the tennis program here on campus, to name a few.

Her advice to future students of ATR? She thinks it's a good career choice, especially if you're a former athlete. She loves the versatility of working with different sports, ages, and environments.

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