Online Master’s Degree Allows Park Superintendent to be an Effective Leader

Joseph Shimel

For some professionals, continuing their education would not be possible without an online format. That was the case for NC State Online and Distance Education student Joseph Shimel.

Shimel earned his Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from NC State in 2000. Since then, he’s been working full time for state parks in North Carolina. In 2009, he became the park superintendent at New River State Park in Ashe County, North Carolina.

Joseph Shimel

Shimel attended the State Park Leadership School in Oglebay, West Virginia from 2014 to 2015. Shimel said the school is sponsored by NC State, which is how he met NC State Associate Professor Aram Attarian, who teaches in the Professional Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport Management degree program through NC State’s College of Natural Resources.

“I was looking for a master’s program that I could accomplish while working full time, Shimel said.  

Shimel enrolled in the online Professional Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport Management degree program in Spring 2015 and started the program that fall. Throughout the course of the program, Shimel said his favorite course was PRT 506 Organizational Behavior and Leadership in Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport. According to the course description, “the course places an emphasis on understanding the structural, human, political and cultural factors that impact organizational efficiency and effectiveness.”

“I serve in a leadership and management role as a park superintendent. I take this responsibility very seriously and strive to do this to the best of my ability,” Shimel said. “This course allowed me the opportunity to evaluate myself as a leader and manager and also brought new insight into how I can become a better leader,” Shimel added.

Shimel was part of the Spring 2017 graduating class at NC State. He said his master’s degree will allow him to be a more efficient and effective leader.

I have already had the opportunity and will continue to contribute beyond my current scope of responsibility and work on statewide initiatives within [North Carolina]  Parks,” Shimel said.

He feels that having a master’s degree will allow him to be more competitive when it comes to promotional opportunities. He also hopes to teach one day, something that he’s truly interested in pursuing.

“I never thought I would have the opportunity to go back to school and obtain a master’s degree.  The online program eliminated the barriers of location and rigid schedule to allow me to do so,” Shimel explained.

Interested in pursuing a master’s degree through NC State Online and Distance Education? Explore our master’s programs and let us help you achieve your academic and career goals.