RPTM Newsletter — Spring 2011

Penn State Research Tackles Drug Use, HIV in South African Youth

Penn State researchers aim to reduce drug use, risky sexual behavior, and violence among South African youth by expanding a leisure education and life skills program to reach fifty-six South African high schools. The researchers, led by Dr. Linda Caldwell, professor of recreation, park, and tourism management, and Dr. Edward Smith, associate director of the Penn State Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development, received a $2.8-million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Caldwell and her colleagues will be implementing HealthWise, a curriculum they developed that “teaches youth how to best utilize their free time,” says Caldwell. HealthWise teaches adolescents to examine personal motivations and other factors leading to their decision making, and it also provides information on safe sexual practices and how to avoid risky situations. In better understanding why they make decisions, youth can successfully prevent poor outcomes that result from certain risky decisions. Read the more about this research study and the HealthWise curriculum.

Department Hosts Annual Recreation Celebration

Elizabeth Weybright receives the RPTM Outstanding Graduate Student Award from Dr. Deborah Kerstteter

The RPTM hosted its 7th Annual Recreation Celebration to recognize graduating seniors and outstanding student and alumni contributions on March 26, 2011. Over 100 students, faculty, family, and friends attended the event held at the Ramada Inn in State College. The planning committee, headed by graduating senior Kaitlin Doughtery and mentored by Mary Stansfield, RPTM instructor and Ph.D. candidate, worked for several months to ensure that the evening would be a memorable one for all. Committee members Allyson Knight, Jillian Ritz, and Elisabeth Short provided one of the highlights of the evening with a video of RPTM students and faculty based on the theme of "Explore, Discover, Achieve." According to Mary, "This event was student led and planned. The level of professionalism the students demonstrated in taking charge of the event is a tribute to their Penn State education."

Alumna Discusses Brain Injury Rehab, Therapeutic Recreation as part of Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series

Penn State alumna Joanne Finegan '83 is very close to her work—which deals with rehabilitating catastrophic injuries—partly because of her own history. As a 6-year-old child, Finegan was diagnosed with Legg-Calve Perthes Disease to one hip, which left her unable to walk. After two years of being non-weight bearing and using swimming as therapy, she recovered fully.

Finegan was the guest speaker this past fall for the Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series, sponsored by the HHD Alumni Society. Read more about Finegan and her work.

Golf Teaching and Research Center Offers Instructional Services

Using innovative technology, faculty and staff in Penn State’s Golf Teaching and Research Center (GTRC) can pinpoint errors that occur in a golfer’s swing, short game, equipment, and more. They are able to see parts of a swing that most people can’t see, giving golfers new tools to enhance their skills. GTRC instructors will combine their advanced knowledge and experiences, along with the golf industry’s most sophisticated technologies, to help improve a golfer’s performance. Discover more about the GTRC their website, www.hhdev.psu.edu/rptm/gtrc.

Caldwell Named Penn State Faculty Athletics Representative

Penn State President Graham Spanier has appointed Dr. Linda Caldwell, professor of recreation, park, and tourism management, to serve as Penn State's faculty athletics representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). A member of the College of Health and Human Development staff, Caldwell’s appointment was effective July 1, 2010. Read more about Caldwell and her appointment as Penn State's NCAA representative.

Pennsylvania State Parks Contribute $818 Million in Sales and Over 10,000 Jobs to the Commonwealth

Pennsylvania state parks draw millions of visitors who contribute to the economic vitality of the Commonwealth. According to a recent economic impact report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, an estimated 33.6 million state park visitors spent more than $738 million, contributing to $818 million in sales and over 10,000 jobs within the Commonwealth. The report drew upon research conducted by researchers in Penn State’s Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management. Read more about Pennsylvania State Parks and their economic impact to the Commonwealth.

RPTM Alumni and Faculty Author Article in Parks & Recreation

Greg Weitzel '97 and Dr. Andy Mowen’s '92,'99g co-authored an article in the August 2010 issue of Parks & Recreation. The pair discuss how administrators of parks and recreation programs can get through the toughest financial struggles since the Great Depression. Read the whole article, titled Coping with and Recovering From the Great Recession.

RPTM alumni win three of four alumni awards given by HHD Alumni Society

  • Dr. Gerard Kyle ‘01 — Recipient of the 2010 College of Health and Human Development Emerging Professional Graduate Degree Award.
  • Dr. Ralph Smith ‘84 — Recipient of the 2010 College of Health and Human Development Alumni Recognition Award.
  • Joanne Finegan ‘83 — Recipient of the 2010 College of Health and Human Development Alumni Service Award

Patricia Farrell, Professor Emerita of Leisure Studies, Dies at 76

Dr. Patricia Farrell, Penn State professor emerita of leisure studies in the College of Health and Human Development and the first participant in the University’s Administrative Fellows Program, died Thursday, November 4, at age 76. Farrell joined the recreation and parks program in 1967. She was instrumental in building the University's leisure studies program and participated in numerous other administrative activities of the University. Read more about Dr. Patricia Farrell.

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