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Sam Tinaglia

RST senior Sam Tinaglia talks about his program, COVID and campus

Students are attending college in a unique environment, and that includes students in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois. The AHS communications staff spoke with AHS seniors about online classes, truncated courses and how COVID-19 changed their expectations. Today, we speak with Sam Tinaglia, a Recreation, Sport and Tourism major with a concentration in sport. Sam will graduate as a Bronze Tablet Scholar this month.

Q: Why did you pick RST?

A: When I first came to UIUC, I started as a journalism major, but then was recruited to go on Dr. Michael Raycraft's RST 180 Hall of Fame Class Trip. I enjoyed the trip and meeting other RST students and faculty so much that I eventually transferred into the RST program my sophomore year. I have always loved sports and knew I wanted to work in the sports industry and I felt RST was the major that could help me reach my goals. As I finish my undergraduate degree, I feel I made the right choice as the RST curriculum has thought me many valuable skills for the future.

Q: Which professors had the most impact on you?

A: Dr. Kim Shinew, Dr. Michael Raycraft, Dr. Sharon Zou, Dr. Bill Stewart, Robyn Deterding, and Don Hardin have left a lasting impact on me from my time in RST.

Q: What course did you most enjoy?

A: RST 180 with Dr. Raycraft was my favorite course as that class is one of a kind. As a group of about 20 individuals, we jumped on a big orange Illinois coach bus and traveled to recreation, sports, and tourism destinations in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. We saw the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the Lake Placid Olympic facilities, the Woodstock Concert Grounds and Museum, the National Football League Hall of Fame, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which were just a few of our many fantastic stops. This class was like no other I've ever taken in my years of schooling and I would take it again in a heartbeat.

Q: Did you enter RST knowing your career path, or did RST help you decide?

A: I entered RST knowing I wanted to work in sports, so I went the sports concentration route. But as I was taking classes in RST, I learned to love the recreation and tourism concentrations too. I think the parts of R, S, and T can be intermixed, and after finishing the course work, I can say I would love to work in any of the RST fields.

Q: What do you hope to do after you graduate?

A: After I graduate I hope to start up my online master's degree with RST and get more experience in the RST field as I intern with the Niles Park District in Athletics.

Q: What was your favorite on-campus experience?

A: My favorite on-campus experience at Illinois was working with the Fighting Illini Marketing Team within the athletic department. For that opportunity, we handed out promotional materials before athletic events at UIUC and helped with in-game promotions too. Being able to work in person at various Illini sporting events was a fantastic experience and I'll miss it when I graduate.

Q: What do you miss most because of the pandemic?

A: I have been schooling from home since March of 2020, so ever since the pandemic started. The thing I miss most is going in person to classes and interacting with other students and professors. You don't realize something was so great until you can't experience it anymore, and that was me at Illinois. I really enjoyed school and, sadly, it's (technically) over.

Q: What are the biggest changes on campus, pre- and during COVID?

A: (I) haven't been back since March 2020, I wouldn't know.

Q: What would you say to recommend RST to a prospective student?

A: If you love and want to work in recreational activities, sports, and/or the tourism industry, RST is the place for you. Also, if you just want to get a good, well-rounded college experience in a smaller tight-knit college within a large university, RST would be a great home for you.

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