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Graduation to Vocation: Managing Philanthropic Events

Student in front of NC State sign

Ellison Lambert is graduating with an undergraduate degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and a concentration in Sustainable Tourism. After graduation, she’ll be pursuing a career in philanthropic event management.

CNR Ambassadors posing for a photo

How has the College of Natural Resources impacted you and prepared you for your future?

The College of Natural Resources has provided me with spectacular in and out of the classroom opportunities that have helped to prepare me for a future in this industry. The many professional development workshops, resume building exercises, internships and conferences have all developed skills that I will need in my future. I have become more confident in myself as an industry professional through organizations I have been involved with such as Rho Phi Lambda and CNR Ambassadors. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my time in the College of Natural Resources!


What kind of research or other hands-on/in-the-field learning did you participate in?

I had two different internships in my time here. I was the Events Intern at Make-A-Wish Eastern NC, where I helped to plan the annual Wish Ball, which is a formal gala that raises money for critically ill children to have their “one true wish” granted. We raised over $500,000 that night! I also interned with the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (visitRaleigh). I also planned this year’s Silent Auction at the PRTM Alumni and Friends Picnic, where we raised $1,600 for the new Candace Goode-Vick Scholarship Fund! Also not sure if this is related, but I also am the President of Students For University Advancement, so I helped plan and coordinate Day Of Giving efforts for students, as well as helped with Homecoming and the Senior Campaign! I do a lot of fundraising for sure!!!

What’s your favorite memory or class from your time at the College of Natural Resources? Why?

One of my favorite memories during my time here was when it hit me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I started out in another College on campus and switched over to CNR during my sophomore year. I was still a little unsure of my decision but quickly realized that I had made the right choice. I took two classes that semester; one with Annette Moore and one with Whitney Knollenberg. They were both so energetic and passionate about what they were doing, showed that they truly cared about student success, and helped me to realize that I was exactly where I needed to be.

What motivated you to pursue your work?Student at conference

I have always known that I wanted to help others, I just wasn’t quite sure how I could do it. After spending time with and talking to professors and industry professionals, I found out just how easy it was to help people through our industry. Through PRTM, I took a Special Events Planning course where we were tasked with planning a non-profit event. Throughout the process, I found exactly what I want to do with my career. With event planning for a non-profit organization, I am able to tie my experiences and education in PRTM to helping others through fundraising!

What advice would you give students entering your major or field?

I would tell them to get involved early on! There are hundreds of organizations university-wide, and so many that are unique to our college that students can get involved with. I regret not joining sooner! The organizations I am a part of have strengthened professional skills and have helped to prepare me for my future. I would also recommend getting to know your professors and advisors. The faculty in this college truly do care about students and there are so many opportunities to get to know them better. They have so much experience and have many connections and are always there to help out!