2 bicyclists on country road

Recreation, Sport & Tourism

Recreation, Sport & Tourism Awards 2021

Undergraduate Awards

Charles K. Brightbill Memorial Scholarship

head shot of Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith
After graduating in May, Kelli will remain at Illinois to pursue a master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. She worked as a student catering coordinator at the I Hotel and currently is completing a marketing internship with Visit Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau. A Dean’s List honoree, Kelli received the Class of 1941 Memorial Excellence Scholarship.


John Bruce Capel Memorial Scholarship

head shot of Malakhi Hubbard-Munir

Malakhi Hubbard-Munir
After completing his degree in 2023, Malakhi plans to become an investor in sports media companies. He also hopes to build and promote his own line of clothing. He graduated high school as an Illinois State Scholar. He is a Dean’s List honoree and the recipient of a Dolores Saxton-Walter Scholarship from the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council.


Chicago Knight Life Charities Scholarship

head shot of Elizabeth Blaszynski

Elizabeth Blaszynski
After graduating in May, Elizabeth will pursue a career as a high school athletic director. During an internship as a program coordinator, she organized events for the Lakeshore Sport and Fitness Club and Maggie Daley Park. A Dean’s List honoree, she also volunteers on Saturday mornings at her local high school’s sporting events.


Chicago Knight Life Charities Scholarship

head shot of Chris Wurl

Chris Wurl
Chris will complete his degree in 2024. Ultimately, he hopes to be a Major League Baseball CEO or university-level athletic director. He volunteers with the Challenger League, a sports-oriented organization for individuals with disabilities. A Dean’s List honoree, Chancellor’s Scholar, and James Scholar, Chris is a member of the RST Student Advisory Council.



Chicago Knight Life Charities Scholarship

head shot of Yuting Zhong

Yuting Zhong
Yuting plans to open and manage fencing clubs in China and the United States after completing her degree next year. A National Team fencer in China, she opened a club there that now has a top five ranking. A Dean’s List honoree, Yuting currently helps people learn to skate at the University Ice Arena.


Jesse “Tony” Clements Scholarship in Campus Recreation

head shot of Jorie Schirmacher

Jorie Schirmacher
Jorie will graduate in 2023. She has served as an event manager, facility manager, and facility assistant in the Events Department of Campus Recreation. During the summer, she is a senior surf instructor for M&M Surfing in Seal Beach, CA. A Dean’s List honoree, Jorie is a James Scholar and I-LEAP Scholar.


Margaret K. and Edward W. Harvey Scholarship

head shot of Isabella Clifford

Isabella Clifford
After graduating in 2023, Isabella will continue working in youth recreation programming for the Chicago Park District, for which she has volunteered and worked since 2015. A Dean’s List honoree, she most recently served the district as a COVID-19 Social Distance Ambassador intern, reminding residents about safety guidelines at parks around the city.


Margaret K. and Edward W. Harvey Scholarship

head shot of Hayley Hardin

Hayley Hardin
Hayley plans to go into sports administration after graduating next year. An avid volunteer, she has assisted with blood drives and roadside and cemetery clean-up efforts, helped to coach a junior high school volleyball team, and served diners at a fundraising pancake dinner. She was a member of the Danville Area Community College softball team.


Margaret K. and Edward W. Harvey Scholarship

head shot of Edgar May

Edgar May
Edgar hopes to work for the Chicago Bulls after graduating in 2023. A Dean’s List honoree, he is the social media chair for the Sports Business Association. He helped to create a website for the Beth Shalom synagogue on Chicago’s South Side as an intern with Microsoft and Mind + Hand, a nonprofit skills-training organization.


Burris F. Husman Scholarship

head shot of Nicholas Lee

Nicholas Lee
After graduating in May, Nicholas plans to go into events or operations management. A Dean’s List honoree, he served two years in the South Korean Air Force, worked for Campus Recreation as a lifeguard and swim instructor, completed a market research internship at a start-up in Chicago, and was a member of the AHS Student Council.


George and Mary Lowrey Memorial Scholarship

head shot of Danielle Sauerland

Danielle Sauerland
Danielle hopes to manage a resort in a tropical setting after completing her degree in 2024. During the summer, she builds her experience in the hospitality industry by working as a server at a private country club. A member of the RST Student Advisory Council, she was president of the Service Club in high school.


George and Mary Lowrey Memorial Scholarship

head shot of Jaira Stanley

Jaira Stanley
Jaira will pursue her interests in behavioral economics and digital marketing after graduating in 2023. She led a diversity training workshop for Student Alumni Ambassadors and co-founded Black Business Network, a registered student organization. A James Scholar, Jaira helps students overcome public speaking fears as speech chair of the Illinois Speech and Debate Team.


Paragon Marketing Group Scholarship

head shot of Fredy Quevedo Jr.

Fredy Quevedo, Jr.
After graduating next year, Fredy hopes to work in the sports agency industry. He is a member of the Sports Business Association and the planning committee for the Black and Latino Men’s Summit. He is a sales specialist for a State Farm agency and serves on the planning committee for the nonprofit organization Mentor Eyes of Elgin.


Doris Strickland-Collins and Edward W. Collins Award

head shot of Payton Leverton

Payton Leverton
Payton hopes to work in a Big Ten athletic department after graduating next year. She manages softball tournaments at Louisville Slugger Sports Complex and volunteers at a local batting cage. She has been an assistant coach for two junior high schools, and volunteers in the summer as an assistant to a 12u softball team.


Triple S Scholarship

head shot of Brittany Prais

Brittany Prais
Brittany graduates in May. She is completing an internship as a family programs facilitator at YMCA of the Rockies. A Dean’s List honoree and James Scholar, she has done research on how recreation and leisure behaviors are impacted by disability, gender, and gender identity, and helped to plan the 2020 Sapora Symposium, which focused on social justice.



Graduate Awards

Charles K. Brightbill Memorial Scholarship

head shot of Jeongeun Park

Jeongeun Park
Jeongeun will complete her PhD in August. Her research examines how participating in cultural practices through tourism and leisure contributes to ethnic minority communities and people. She has investigated the economic, socio-political, and cultural impacts of sporting events, gambling, and rural tourism on communities, and the impact of maintaining transnational ties on ethnic and cultural identities.


Christine Ziebarth Howe Graduate Student Award

head shot of Iulia Fratila

Iulia Fratila
Iulia will complete her PhD next year. Her research focuses on deviant vs. normative and risky vs. beneficial leisure, and the relationship between leisure and identity. She has presented her research at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America and the Conference on Research and Teaching of The Academy of Leisure Sciences.


Mary and Duke Regnier Scholarship

head shot of Ryan Hancock

Ryan Hancock
After completing his master’s degree in May, Ryan plans to work as a seasonal park ranger within the National Park Service. He has been a campground ranger at Glacier National Park, and is currently employed there as a seasonal ranger. At Illinois, he is a research assistant in the Office of Recreation and Park Resources.


Mary and Duke Regnier Scholarship

head shot of Leslie Taylor

Leslie Taylor
Leslie hopes to work in academic services for college athletes after completing her master’s degree in August. She has worked for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics as an assistant in the Office of Sports Camps and Clinics, an academic tutor for student-athletes, and an academic coach within Illinois Athletics Academic Services.


Allen V. Sapora Research Award for Master’s Student Research

head shot of Kevin Huang

Kevin Huang
Kevin will complete his master’s degree in May. He hopes to work in data analytics with a specific focus on tennis. He completed a fellowship in the analytics department of the US Tennis Association, and is doing research on the attitudes tennis coaches have toward current analytic tools and the quality of the data they provide.


Allen V. Sapora Research Award for PhD Student Research

head shot of Guangzhou Chen

Guangzhou Chen
Guangzhou will complete his PhD next year. His research focuses on how sports can be leveraged for positive social outcomes and community development. His dissertation examines the effects of mega-events on population displacement. Last year, he assisted with planning the China-International Leisure Research Association Conference. He also is a graduate assistant for Global Education and Training.