Alumni Spotlight—Katie Bradbury
- Katie Bradbury
- Alumni Spotlight
- Recreation Sport and Tourism
- College of Applied Health Sciences
- University of Illinois
Alumni of the College of Applied Health Sciences have myriad career options thanks to the tremendous diversity of programs. We periodically will put the spotlight on an alum to find out what they're doing now, what experiences they had and what AHS means to them. This week, we talk to Katie Bradbury, who got her master's degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism in 2013 and who is now an afterschool adventure/camp supervisor in the city of Mesquite, Texas.
Q: Why did you pick AHS?
A: There has not been a chapter of my life that did not include recreation, be it county recreation programs I took part in as a kid, or working at overnight summer camps for the better part of my teens and early 20s. My life has been pretty much dedicated to the field of recreation, and what better program to gain further knowledge in recreation than the RST program. Although there are plenty of universities that offered Recreation, Sports, and Tourism, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was the only one (that) multiple professors from my undergrad days had mentioned to further my educational career.
Q: What course did you most enjoy?
A: I would say financing and budgeting as well as Human Resources in RST were both classes I enjoyed because I learned so much more than I did in my undergrad outdoor recreation budgeting classes. The course I enjoyed, because it was just a fun course, was marketing. It really allows a level of creativity to be used for each assignment.
Q: Did you enter AHS knowing your career path, or did AHS help you decide?
A: My career path was set a long time ago. I was working at a summer camp in Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada, when my director told me he has a degree in recreation. I had never heard of such a thing. Come to find out (Eastern Washington University) had outdoor recreation as a degree, I graduated a few years later. During that time I had learned so much about the business side of the field, we became certified in everything we could; however, seasonal work was difficult and getting your foot in the door of government agencies or not-for-profits at an administrative level was extremely difficult without having more education or more experience. As recreation professionals know, this field changes every 7-10 years. Continuing education is a necessity. Going back to school and becoming a part of the AHS RST program has really helped in employment and immediate job advancement.
Q:Did your AHS experience lead to your current job?
A: I owe a lot to my experience at AHS and I do believe it has led me to my current career choice. During college, I worked at the State Farm Center and Memorial Stadium and I would not have known about those positions without the College of Applied Health Sciences. It allowed me to network and let me know of positions that were available in event management. It ultimately lead me to finalize my decision on exactly what I wanted to be in addition to the qualities that I wanted and did not want to have as a leader in my field.
Q: What was your favorite on-campus experience?
A: My favorite on-campus experience was graduation, and meeting the professors I had only talked to online.
Q: What would you say to recommend AHS to a prospective student?
A: For me, AHS has allowed me the opportunity to work within the communities to help keep people active, children engaged, seniors mobile and social, and provide a service that are vital to the population we serve.