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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Department Announcements

Fifty Years of Fun sign

  • Fifty Years of Fun!  The Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.  Please join us Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the Verizon Wireless Center.  More information to come!
  • Dr. Brooke Burk will be presenting both Recreational Youth Programs and Cyber Bullying and Stratgeies for Teaching Undergraduate Writing Intensive Courses at the Academy of Leisure Sciences Annual Conference in Greenville, SC Feb 26 - March 1, 2019.  
  • Dr. James Wise will be the keynote presenter at the Midwest Symposium on Therapeutic Recreation in Independence, MO April 23-April 26, 2019.
  • Dr. Jonathan Hicks will be presenting An Exploration of Wildlife-Inspired Awe at the Wild Things Conference in Chicago, IL February 23, 2019.
  • Dr. Brooke Burk is featured on KEYC for her work with Camp Maverick Rec n' Read.  Watch here:  

Student Announcements

  • Samantha Murphy is the receipent of the 2018 MRPF Scholarship.  Congratulations Sam!
  • Congratulations to our Fall 2018 graduates!
    Fall 2018 Graduates
  • Michelle Greening is the recipient of the Southern Minnesota Park and Recreation Association scholarship for 2018.  Congratulations Michelle!
  • Megan Schmitz was awarded the 2018 Minnesota Therapeutic Recreation Association Scholarship.  Congratulations Megan!
  • Jessica Bode, Nicole Luppino, and Emily Schmidt are the recipients of the 2018 Southern Minnesota Recreation and Park Association (SMRPA) scholarships.  Congratulations Jessica, Nicole and Emily!
  • Nicole Luppino and Brianna Spicer are the recipients of the 2018 Joanne Ardolf Decker Scholarship.  Congratulations Nicole and Brianna!


Alumni Announcements

    • Alumni Briana Spicer was featured in a news segment for the YMCA collaborates with the North American Squirrel Association (NASA) to offer people with physical or cognitive disabilities a day of skiing at Mt. La Crosse.  
    • Alumni Stephanie Busiahn is currently employeed at the Fairmont Convention & Visitors Bureau and has recently been appointed to the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council, representing the southern Minnesota regional group.  
    • Tammy Domonoske is the State Park Manager for Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
    • Riley Donovan is the Recreation Supervisor for the City of Austin.  
    • Ben Schueller has accepted a position as a Facilities Coordinator for Austin Public Schools.
    • Briana Spicer has accepted a position at the La Crosse YMCA as the INclusion Specialist for their adaptive programming.
    • Hannah Logue has accepted an offer as the Life Enrichment Director at the Rivers in Burnsville.
    • Jennifer Davis is the Albert Lea Recreation Program Supervisor. 
    • Adam Ellanson has accpeted a position as Park Ranger for the Bureau of Reclamation at new Melones Lake in Sonora, CA.
    • Jessica Christensen Buck is the new Recreation Coordinator for the City of Corcoran.
    • Eric Edhlund is the Ice Arena, Property and Events Manager for St. Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, MN.
    • Hannah Barnlund has accpeted a position as a Life Enrichment Coordinator at Birchwood Cottages in North Mankato.
    • Kaitlyn Sturdy has accepted the position of Community Life Director at St. Therese Senior Living Center.
    • Ryan Trench has accepted a position as a Program Coordinator in the sports and recreation department at Courage Kenny.
    • Katie Murphy is working full time as the Wellness Manager at the Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center
    • Marsia Smith is working as a Recreational Therapist at Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.
    • Cody Buechner works as Student Clubs and Greek Life Coordinator at University of Alaska, Anchorage.  He is featured in an article here:  
    • Dan Ryan works as a Senior Environmental Educator and Employee Recruitment Specialist at Deep Portage Learning Center in Hackensack, MN.
    • Taylor Naatz has accepted a permanent position in Watersmeet, MI in the upper peninsula with the U.S. Forest Service.  
    • William Niska has recently accepted a position from Idaho Parks and recreation and will be a park ranger at Old Mission State Park.  
    • Gabrielle Edel has accepted the Communication Coordinator position at Partners for Affordable Housing in Mankato.
    • Joe Giesfeldt has accepted the position as the Assistant Forest Superintendent at Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.  
    • Molly Ambrose has accepted the new STRIDE Coordinator position at Mankato Family YMCA.
    • John Henke, 1993 Graduate, is the Director of Parks, Recreation and Library Services for the City of Crosslake in Crosslake, MN.
    • Jocelyn Nielson, is the Activities Director at Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows in North Mankato.
    • Eric Lucas, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Culture, Windsor, CO.
    • Mike Pflaum, Park Superintendent of Badlands National Park.
    • Emily Holle, is a Rehabilitation Therapist - Recreation Safety at the state hospital in Coalinga, CA.
    • Cody Swier is a Recreation Therapist position at Hennepin County Medical Center.  
    • Mike Ramirez is at the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department.
    • Geran Herda is an Activities Therapist with Augustana Care in Minneapolis.
    • Aubrie Ford, has recently accepted a position at Sharon Towers, Charlotte, NC.
    • Jedidiah Cates is a Recreation Therapist with the Adult Day Health Care department at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Hospital.
    • Emily Liebhard, CTRS, is an Activity/Life Enrichment director at Copperfield Hill Senior Living in Robbinsdale, MN.
    • Kara Kocmick, CTRS, is a full time Recreation Therapist position with the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in St. Peter.
    • Abdulaziz Alqahtani is a Recreation Services Advisor at the Saudi Aramco Residential Camp in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
    • Elizabeth Quall his a Trailhead Ranger in Sequoia National Park.
    • Nicole Gorman is the Recreation Supervisor for the City of Farmington.
    • Sam Sundermeyer, 2012 graduate, is a Marketing Coordinator for Flagship Recreation.
    • David Foley, is the University of Minnesota - Extension Program Coordinator for Houston County 4-H.
    • Nichole Kwasny, 2013 graduate, is a recreation attendant at Camp Pendleton USMC base in California.
    • Bethany Gassman, 2010 graduate, is a Law Enforcement Support Assistant for National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park, WY.
    • Mason Scharfe, 2011 graduate, is a Park Ranger for USACE.
    • Brenda Harker, 2009 graduate, is a Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator for Challenge Alaska.
    • Christopher Piquette, 2011 graduate, is a Youth Sports Supervisor for Grand Junction Parks and Recreation in Grand Junction, CO.
    • Jonathan Phelps, 2011 graduate, is a Buildings and Grounds Maintenance Worker for MN DNR.
    • Aaron Finke, 2009 graduate, is a Duluth Stream Corps Program Manager for Community Action Duluth.
    • Gabe Glassman, 2009 graduate, is a U.S. Park Ranger for the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park, WY.
    • Aron Voss, 2008 graduate, is a Aquatics Manager Naval Air Field in Atsugi, Japan.
    • Brad Dushaw, 2012 graduate, is Recreation Supervisor for the City of Owatonna.
    • Sam Pertz, 2008 graduate, is a Parks and Trail Supervisor for Carver County Parks.
    • Kara Marks CTRS, 2010 graduate, is at Patton State Hospital in California.

If you are an alumni or student of the department and have an announcement, we would love to hear from you. Please send information to