Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management major Molly Rose is very passionate about wellness. Outside-the-classroom, she works with University Recreation as a Program Assistant for the Group Fitness Department. Inside the classroom, she works alongside Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management faculty through undergraduate research. Her recent project takes a closer look at worksite wellness and health promotion.
Tell us about your undergraduate research experience.
I am very fortunate to experience undergraduate research to compliment my studies in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. I connected with Dr. Aaron Hipp, Associate Professor of Community Health and Sustainability, who has expertise in worksite wellness and health promotion research. With his support and framework provided by University Recreation’s Wellness Department, we created and implemented a wellness intervention site in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Through the InterACTIVE Project, we implemented a wellness program, conducted health behavior surveys and created a study to measure the physical activity of faculty on our campus.
How has this experience prepared you for your future career?
This experience allowed me to connect further with Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM) Department faculty. Whether through weekly messages, hosting wellness events or chatting with those who participated in our study, I connected with faculty on a personal level. All of my interactions with the PRTM faculty made me realize how much our faculty really cares. They support me, my studies and encouraged me to continue my endeavors.
What did you learn about yourself during your experience?
My research experience allowed me to better understand my personal passions and aspirations. I’ve known that I am passionate about program management and health promotion, however these categories are very broad. Through my research studies I’ve seen which tasks I really enjoy and narrowed my scope. I’ve learned that I am truly passionate about physical activity promotion and functional fitness, focusing on how we can live our lives more active and stronger every day.
Why was participating in this experience important to you?
This experience was important to me because it allowed me to showcase how strong our PRTM program is. Our major is often misunderstood and undervalued on campus. Not only has my research project experience boosted my personal pride in our program, but through my research I showcased our department. I am so passionate about our program and want to help showcase all that we have to offer.
Would you recommend this experience to other students?
I would encourage other students to get involved in research because it allows you to create closer relationships with faculty. Our faculty are truly so connected in this industry. Dr. Hipp provided guidance through my studies and project. He also connected me with graduate students, other faculty and professionals in the industry. The ability to have a close relationship with faculty opens up so many doors of opportunity.
Any advice to incoming students?
Don’t let the stereotype of research hold you back from engaging in this hands-on experience. I didn’t think research was possible in my field. I thought research was strictly for math and science related majors. What I’ve learned is the purpose of research is so much more! The purpose is to challenge and improve your field. My research has looked very different than typical undergraduate research. Some of my duties included locating showers in department buildings, creating exercise videos and teaching faculty how to use a fitness tracker. While these tasks may sound silly, they have all contributed to making my studies and research involvement such a positive experience.