Five Questions with Outdoor Adventures Coordinator Lauren Stover
Lauren Stover graduated from the NC State College of Natural Resources in 2018 with a master’s degree in parks, recreation, tourism and sports management. She previously earned her bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation from East Carolina University.
Stover now works with NC State Wellness and Recreation as the coordinator of Outdoor Adventures. We reached out to Stover to learn more about her passion for parks and recreation and to discuss her time as a student at NC State.
What is a typical day in your job like?
One of the great things about working with Outdoor Adventures is that my days are never the same. I would say my day-to-day is split into a couple of different areas. First is program planning for our Trips and Challenge Course. We host both open enrollment (any student or Wellness and Recreation member can sign up) and custom programs (working to plan an event for a specific group). Planning these events takes a lot of coordination of logistics, equipment and risk management.
My second day-to-day task is staff management. I employ a number of students to lead our trips and challenge courses so I am working to train students, work with student program assistants to get experience in more managerial roles, and making sure everyone is scheduled for our events. Lastly is the administration part of my duties such as completing payroll for employees, making purchases of equipment, answering e-mails, etc.
What inspired you to study parks and recreation?
During undergrad I took a couple of fun courses that took me on trips and into the outdoors. I realized I had a love for being in a job that is active and eventually realized that I loved the higher education part of the field, because I love helping develop students into leaders and professionals. My favorite part of the field is the people. I love working with people to brainstorm, create, improve on their skills, and see their excitement and ability to spend time outside grow.
How do you apply what you learned in College of Natural Resources to your career?
What I learned at the College of Natural Resources is helpful every day, from managing my budgets and advertising our programs to making risk management related decisions. One of my favorite skills to learn about was geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis. It helped me open my brain to thinking about data and geographical decision making in a different way, especially since my job is so tied to going places.
How are you impacting your local community through your work?
I think it’s so important for students to start their careers with a well-balanced lifestyle. Giving students the opportunities to get outside not only provides them with time away from their academics, but it also provides them the skills to continue to find positive avenues for stress management after they have finished their degree.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to a current College of Natural Resources student?
While having experience related to your field has become so critical for getting a job after you graduate, don’t forget it also gives you a chance to explore what part of the industry you are interested in. For example, when people think of outdoor recreation they think of guides that take people paddling, climbing, etc. But the job opportunities are limitless … it’s far more than just taking people outside.