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Skylar Peters

Alumni Spotlight—Skylar Peters

Alumni of the College of Applied Health Sciences have myriad career options thanks to the tremendous diversity of programs. We periodically will put the spotlight on an alum to find out what they're doing now, what experiences they had and what AHS means to them. This week, we talk to Skylar Peters, who got her Master of Science in 2016 in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, and who is now a 4-H/Youth Development Educator with Penn State Extension.

Q: Why did you pick AHS? ​

A: I knew I wanted to choose a master's program in the Parks and Recreation Management field. I am passionate about outdoor and environmental education and the use of our public land to encourage outdoor exploration, especially in the younger years. While exploring online options for master's programs with that in mind, I came across this program at University of Illinois. After speaking with Tim Tiger, the academic advisor, I knew that AHS was the place for me! I am so grateful I chose this program!

Q: Which professors had the most impact on you? ​

A: Because I completed an online master's degree so I could work full-time in Extension, I wasn't able to meet any of my professors personally. They all were wonderful and understanding of our schedules as adult learners and often were graceful when we turned in late assignments. I was always so thankful for that! My advisor, Tim Tiger, had a huge impact on me, he had so much confidence in my abilities and was so supportive that it made the online process a lot easier and more enjoyable! I am very grateful for him and all that he does for his students!

Q: What course did you most enjoy? ​

A: I really enjoyed my first class I took, which had me exploring the start of parks in the United States. It set a solid foundation for me to remember the "why" in our goal in parks and recreation programs. When you can understand and appreciate the history behind your passion, it helps to support your goals and vision for the future.

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

A: I entered AHS already working professionally as an Extension Assistant working with youth development and the 4-H program in Pennsylvania. AHS helped support my professional career so I could be promoted to an Extension Educator (my current role) and support the events and programming that I develop. I knew I had a passion for parks and recreation and knew that AHS would help me explore that passion while I completed my degree. Because of AHS, I know my future career options are wide open in both the agriculture and parks fields. 

Q: Did your AHS experience lead to your current job? ​

A: My master's degree and the work I did in AHS aided in my promotion to Extension Educator. In AHS I refined my research abilities and my evaluation skills to finish a project that directly impacted the work I was doing in Extension. Without AHS, I would not be where I am professionally. 

Q: What was your favorite on-campus experience? ​

A: Because I completed an online master's degree, I only have one experience on campus. I was lucky enough to be able to make the trip to receive the Outstanding Online Masters Degree Student Award before I graduated. I explored campus, tried local favorites and was able to meet my advisor in person! It was a great trip!

Q: What does AHS mean to you? ​

A: AHS means the opportunity to explore my passion, challenge my thinking and develop new ways of thinking about the industry that is near and dear to my heart. AHS means establishing a future for myself while supporting my professional career. AHS was a chance for me to learn more about myself and my capabilities and learn from peers in the field. AHS was a chance for me to grow and become a better educator. 

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