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2019 Outstanding Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management Student: Ellison Lambert

Getting to know Outstanding Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management Award Recipient: Ellison Lambert

How do you feel about winning the Outstanding PRT student award?

I am beyond honored to have been chosen to receive the Outstanding Parks, Recreation and Tourism Student award. I have had the most amazing experiences, learned from the best professors, and gained valuable skills that will aid me in my future career. It is incredibly surreal that I will be graduating and leaving this program, but I know that I will take the memories I have made here with me forever – one being receiving this award!

What made you decide to major in PRT?

I actually started out as a freshman in the Poole College of Management with the intent to go into Human Resources. I was content with this path, but I wasn’t passionate or excited about it. During my sophomore year, I took Dr. Annette Moore’s Introductory PRT class as a General Education Requirement and was absolutely amazed by the energy and life she brought to the classroom. She clearly loved what she was doing and I found the information to be extremely interesting. I continued to take PRT courses that met degree requirements for the Management major, and happened to enroll in Dr. Whitney Knollenberg’s Commercial Recreation and Tourism course and it was then that I knew I wanted to change my major. She was so passionate about the industry and acted as a mentor to me. I loved the hands-on, applied learning atmosphere that was created and the family atmosphere that I felt. I promptly switched into the program and never looked back!

What was you favorite project you worked on?

One of my favorite projects that I had the opportunity to work on was in the Special Events Planning course with Janell Moretz. Our group was tasked with creating a fundraising event for a non-profit organization. I was in a group with friend and fellow members of the Tourism Management Association (TMA) at NC State and we decided to not only come up with the idea and do the project for class, but to go one step further and actually produce the event for the public and to raise money for TMA’s philanthropy. The project was great, but the actual event was a HUGE success and has become an annual event. I learned a lot through the whole event creation process!

Where do you get your personal motivation?

I draw motivation and inspiration from many different places, but my biggest desire in life is to help others. Back in high school when people would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up, my answer was always “I’m not sure where I’ll end up, but I want to be helping people in whatever I do”. That desire has held true throughout my time at NC State and I have had many opportunities here to do just that. From volunteering with Miracle League and Senior Games, leading recreational programs for community members, or raising funds, it all goes back to that desire to help others!

My parents are also a huge motivation to me. My father has shown me how when you put your head down and power through, anything can be achieved. My mother has always been there to help guide me through any struggles with grace and celebrate with me through triumphs. People tell me that I am a “mini Kathy”, and I take it as the best compliment because she is, by far, my biggest role model. My parents have raised me to be a driven, passionate, and positive person, and I hope that shows through my time in PRTM!

What has been a highlight of your time at NC State?

How do I choose just one? I could go on and on about all the memories I have created here – my first football game, homecoming weeks, CNR Fall Festival, PRTM Picnics, and so many more! One of my favorite memories is from this past semester, where I was able to assist with NC State’s first Day of Giving! As President of Students for University Advancement, I was able to assist in the planning of the student event and found that I have a huge passion for fundraising and university advancement! I was at command central when the final donations came in at midnight and when the final total was revealed, and it was incredible to be in the middle of all the action with people who are in positions that I hope to be in in the future.

What are your plans following graduation?

Raleigh has always been home to me, and I can’t see myself leaving this beautiful city anytime soon. I hope to find a local position that will combine my passions of  event planning and fundraising!

What is your dream job?

My dream job has stayed the same since my sophomore year of college! One day, I would love to be the Director of Guest Services at Give Kids the World (GKTW). Give Kids the World is a non-profit in Florida that hosts families visiting on their child’s Make-A-Wish trip and has a special place in my heart. When I was younger, I had my “one true wish” granted by Make-A-Wish to go to Walt Disney World and my family stayed at GKTW during the week. They have hosted over 150,000 different children! It is such a special place and is where I really realized that I have a passion to help others, and I would love to be able to go back and work for a place that creates so much joy for Wish Kids and their families!