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Student Success

Graduation to Vocation: Massey Stichter is Promoting Outdoor Recreation

NC State student Massey Stichter poses in a graduation cap and gown
Photo provided

Massey Stichter will graduate in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management with minors in Spanish and psychology. Upon graduation, she will work as an outdoor adventure guide for The Road Less Traveled.

The Road Less Traveled is an organization that aims to “provide young people with the skills and connections to help make the world a better place” through travel to new places, meaningful services and stewardship of the natural world.

During her time at NC State, Stichter received support from the CNR Enrichment Fund to complete the Outward Bound Outdoor Educator program, a 50-day course that “combines outdoor skill mastery with proven experiential education principles for those wanting an introduction to the outdoor education profession.”

Now, as a guide for The Road Less Traveled, Stichter will lead trips in Hawaii and the Galápagos Islands to engage high school students in service-learning projects, language immersion, backpacking, kayaking, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, and more.

“My responsibilities include mitigating physical and emotional risks, aiding in group development, and facilitating team building,” Stichter said.

We recently spoke with Stichter to learn more about how her time at the College of Natural Resources prepared her to join the parks, recreation and tourism industry. Check out the Q&A below.

How has the college prepared you for your future?

The College of Natural Resources prepared me for my future by providing me with a strong support system of peers and professors that have all encouraged me to pursue both academic and personal learning and growth. The professors in the college took the time to get to know me and my passions, which gave me space to ask questions and network to find work opportunities.

What’s your favorite memory or class from your time at NC State?

There have been so many amazing experiences that I’ve had through the College of Natural Resources.  My favorite class during my time in the college was the field experience in the Nature-Based Recreation and Tourism Management course. We had the opportunity to spend a week in the Great Smoky Mountains asking questions and learning about our natural environment and the park. All the students in this course got really close, so it was fun to have such an impactful learning and bonding experience before leaving NC State.

What is unique about you or your work?

What’s unique about my work is that I get to call the great outdoors my place of work. I get to go outside, be physically active, and explore new places all as a part of my job. I often feel like I’m living in a dream when I think about the field of work that I’m in.

What motivated you to pursue your work?

Growing up, my most meaningful experiences always took place when I was unplugged in the outdoors. The impact that these types of experiences can have on people is profound, and the idea of being able to provide that for others feels exciting and fulfilling.

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

The advice I would give students entering my major is to use your resources. Your professors, advisors, and NC State as a whole are there to help you succeed. There are so many wonderful opportunities within NC State to help you grow your professional and personal life if you choose to take advantage of them.