Heather Roscoe '22 is a graduate student in the Recreation Management and Policy: Adaptive Sports program. She earned a BS in Psychology from Bridgewater State University and MA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
How would you explain your discipline and/or research to those unfamiliar with the subject?
To me, adaptive sports is helping people with challenges do fun things. My niche is outdoor recreational sports like cross-country skiing, cycling, hiking, and paddling. My research involves Camp Resilience, an organization that facilitates adaptive sports and recreation therapy retreats for military veterans and first responders living with PTSD. I am analyzing the evaluations to determine the impact of the program, which is an interesting way to combine my previous career with my new one.
What do you wish your colleagues/friends/family knew about your work?
I wish everyone knew how fun and rewarding this work is so that more people would get involved as volunteers. Adaptive sports organizations are always in need of more volunteers, so I wish more people knew about the volunteer opportunities that exist and were motivated to offer some of their time towards this excellent cause which will be just as rewarding for them as it is for the participants.
Have you learned/discovered anything during your experience at UNH that’s surprised you?
I have certainly learned an incredible amount thus far, and look forward to continually learning and growing as I gain more experience. However, no one thing stands out as having surprised me.
What do you consider your biggest challenge?
I think that my biggest challenge is being middle aged, or rather the associated body degeneration that comes with it. My knees and other body parts are not what they were when I was younger. At midlife, heading into a career that will put repeated demands on an aging body in some ways seems counterintuitive – but I decided to throw caution to the wind and do it anyway.
What motivates you?
I am an adaptive cyclist, due to an invisible disability of a minor balance issue not diagnosed until adulthood. For 29 years I wanted to ride, but didn’t know why I couldn’t. Biking is almost a universal and natural experience, spawning such phrases as “it’s as easy as riding a bike” and a stigma and shame from not being able to ride. My experiences of figuring out how to work around my challenge stokes my passion to help others find a way around their challenges to do things they enjoy.
What are you most proud of?
As much as I was driven to change careers, it still took a lot of guts to jump off a proverbial cliff. Resigning from what had been my dream job, selling my home, and leaving everyone behind to take an extreme pay cut for an AmeriCorps service year 3 hours away seemed like the most amazing, freeing, scary, and ridiculous idea. I’m proud that I made that leap of faith and am now living my best life. I’m still not sure what life has in store for me after graduation, but am excited to find out.
Why did you choose UNH?
UNH was the only institution in New England with an adaptive sports program, and I wanted to stay close to my family and friends here. It was also very attractive that UNH has its own adaptive sports organization in Northeast Passage.
What do you plan to do with your degree?
I have been aiming for a program manager role within an adaptive sports organization, but am open to other opportunities that may exist in this field that is experiencing a time of great growth and change. I am interested in doing some adjunct teaching at the college level after I get more experience out in the field.