Leslie Doone '22 is a Recreation Management and Policy graduate student from Findlay, Ohio. She earned her BA in biochemistry and molecular biology from The College of Wooster.
How would you explain your discipline and/or research to those unfamiliar with the subject?
Currently, I am working on a thesis project that looks at how the summer camp industry is faring in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am getting a firsthand look at how the decision-makers in the recreation field are able to make tough decisions to meet the needs of their organization: highly applicable information to my future career. I also work as a graduate assistant for the Community Planning and Research Collaborative (CPARC) lab, and have been able to collect and analyze data for local parks and recreation projects within the Seacoast NH region.
What do you wish your colleagues/friends/family knew about your work?
From the outside, I often think recreation management looks like a career based solely on play and adventure. In a way, it definitely is (which is why it is so cool)! But I also think what the outside observer often glosses over, is how motivated, intelligent, and hard-working those in our field are. The engagement and challenge I've found n recreation management and policy has been stellar, and my conversations/work with others in the field has been incredibly eye-opening.
Have you learned/discovered anything during your experience at UNH that’s surprised you?
What sticks out to me, is just how vast and interdisciplinary the field is. I've taken classes with professors who are involved in recreation therapy, adaptive sports, land management, wilderness therapy, youth development etc. Hearing about the different facets of the industry has been really cool, and I hope that my connections will allow me to reach out for advice, allowing me to make interdisciplinary decisions in my career.
What do you consider your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge in this program has been learning a whole new subject matter. My undergrad work was in biochemistry, so I have invested a lot of time and energy in my graduate work learning about social theories, social science research, and the applications of rec/leisure theory/concepts to the industry.
What motivates you?
What motivates me is providing opportunities and experiences that connect others with the outdoors, adventure etc. I love being outside, and I want to be involved in making sure everyone has an opportunity to find that same peace and joy I have found in outdoor recreation.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of how my worldview and expertise has developed during my time at UNH. I have had the opportunity to grow through my studies and conversations with my cohort, advisors, and professors. I am also proud of the hard work and diligence I have put into my classwork, thesis and graduate assistantship. I can look back and see how my work has translated into growth and opportunity.
Why did you choose UNH?
I have loved my experience at UNH! I transferred in from a different graduate program, and was quickly welcomed into the Wildcat family. I chose to transfer because I could take in-person classes during Covid, at an institution that really values recreation management and policy.
What do you plan to do with your degree?
Great question! I am going into post-grad with an open mind. I think it would be really exciting to work in a leadership role for an outdoor school, camping organization, or ski industry. What matters most to me is finding fulfilling work with an organization that is mission driven and passionate about connecting others with the outdoors in a sustainable, accessible and affirmative matter.