Skip to main content
Faculty/Staff Resources
Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management
Search search
Mobile Search:
Otto Postcard

For Nick Otto, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management student, it was the snow that made his Penn State decision for him. On a visit with family when his older brother came to tour University Park, the campus was blanketed with snow and the winter of central Pennsylvania. He knew then that Penn State was his college decision.

Otto Fun

For a man who likes winter, Nick took a sharp turn in the opposite direction when it came to deciding his internship site for his Summer 2023 internship. Nick selected Vagabond Cruise on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Vagabond offers day cruises that leave from Hilton Head’s infamous Harbor Town each day. Vagabond offers dinner cruises, dolphin cruises, fireworks cruises, a cruise to nearby Dafuskie Island, and a longer day cruise to Savannah, Georgia. Nick serves as first mate, deckhand, in the reservations office, and assists with their social media. 

“My favorite role is in reservations. In reservations you are the first line for the guests who want to plan an amazing experience. I am good at problem solving so I put that to use in helping them schedule and pick out which experience would be best for them. I help them with payments and coupons. I really like that role.”

Nick calls Carlisle, Pennsylvania home but as a member of a military family, he grew up all over. Both his mother and father served in the Army; his mom for 15 years and his dad for 20. “My dad is from Carlisle and the Army War College is right there. That’s how we came back to Pennsylvania.” Nick graduated from Mt. Holly Springs High School in Carlisle where he was active in theatre.

Otto Family

When Nick came to Penn State, he arrived as an undecided student. He laughs when he talks about his path to RPTM. “I started in DUS and then moved to education. I thought I might want to teach High School. I didn’t like that so I went to French. Then history. I even did a short stint in RPTM early on but left again. I was pretty certain I wanted to go into HPA but had trouble with an Econ class. I ended up taking RPTM 236 with Chris Ortiz and RPTM 277 with John Dattilo and Kathleen Raupach. Dr. D. was one of my favorites. I knew then that RPTM was it.

Nick’s favorite part of his internship are the people. “The people that you meet on the boat are the best. People are on vacation and want to have a great time. I’m learning hands on about the tourism industry. It’s very fast paced.” He’s quick to smile. “They tell us in RPTM that we probably won’t work traditional hours. That is no joke.”

Otto Cruise

Nick will graduate in August, and then will return to Carlisle to finish out the season at the Carlisle Community pool where he is a lifeguard and helps with programming. In October, as a member of Penn State’s Army ROTC program, Nick will be commissioned as an Officer. He will put his problem-solving skills to use as an Ordinance Officer whose role will primarily be logistics. He will start his basic training at Ft. Gregg Adams in Virginia. He is committed to at least eight (8) years in the service. His plans after that are undecided.

“I think I might want to eventually go into the summer camp business. I went to summer camps and I’ve worked at summer camps. I’m thinking about that.”

There is a quote that says, “Do not be afraid to travel a new path; it may be the way to find what you’ve been looking for all along.” From the snowy campus of University Park, to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to a career of service to our country, Nick Otto is finding his path.