Student Spotlight: Lauren Petro
A senior in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Lauren Petro was recently inducted into the Alpha Chapter of Rho Phi Lambda, NC State’s Honorary Professional Recreation, Park and Leisure Services Society. Poised to graduate this December, Petro has spent the fall semester interning with the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.
Discovering the Perfect Major: PRTM
“I have learned so much in a field that I am very passionate about!,” said Petro. “When I first started here at NC State, I was in a different degree program that I did not really fit into. I honestly did not know that PRTM was a major until I started looking around at the different opportunities that NCSU provides, and I was interested given my love of traveling and attractions. Since I have become a part of this program, I have really felt like I fit in better and I enjoy all of the course content.”
Petro loves traveling, tourism, events and attractions, and her long term goals include continuing her education in the hospitality and tourism field with the hopes of getting into theme park management.
“One of my other favorite classes has been PRT 442,” said Petro. “We learned about interpretation and how it’s used effectively. I didn’t even know what interpretation was before I started the course, but I loved it so much that I went ahead and completed the Certified Interpretive Guide process through the course. I was also a Course Assistant for Annette Moore during the Spring semester of 2021 for her last time teaching PRT 358. I am very thankful to have had that experience.”
Preparing for 300 Vendors
During a typical year, the Clayton Harvest Festival draws about 30,000 people to Downtown Clayton on the Saturday of the event. Attendance at this year’s event are estimated at 25,000 peopl.
“With only a small decrease in the amount of attendees on an average year. I would say that considering the fact that this was the first festival after Covid, this was an amazing turnout,” said Petro, who enjoyed watching the event unfold as she worked throughout the day.
“We arrived that morning to start setting up at 5:00 AM, and I got to see the vendors trickle in and begin setting up, and this process was staggered and took some time with there being nearly 300 vendors present onsite. I think the load-in process went very smoothly, and the set up schedule was right on time with the start of the Festival at 10:00 AM. It was so neat to see all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into this festival during the months prior become a reality, and to see so many people having a great time.”
A student of tourism and hospitality, Petro knew how important it was that the Harvest Festival take place.”
“Not only does this festival provide over half of the Clayton Chamber’s annual income each year,” she expained, “but it brings so much economic stimulus to the local businesses in town, and it is a great promoter of some of the best establishments in town.”
Plans for Post-Graduation
“Since PRTM is such a broad field, I enjoy trying out different aspects and professions with the hopes of learning more about the field, and myself,” said Petro. “I may apply to grad school sooner than I thought, or maybe I will find a job and wait a little while, but I also firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and you will end up exactly where you are supposed to be.”
NC State’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management provides students with real-world experience through hands-on classes and internships. Concentrations include Tourism and Event Management which focuses on recreation facility management techniques, fiscal management, facility and site planning, and recreation programming and administration. Students such as Petro benefit from partnerships with local and state agencies, nonprofits and a network of parks in the greater Raleigh area.