Watching their older sister, Marla (Terranova) Vickers, ’08, go through CMU’s recreation, parks and leisure services administration program, Alex Terranova, ’09, and Eaton Rapids senior Mallory Kunkel were sold.
Interested in the business side of the industry, Marla looked to commercial recreation for the best of both worlds. She was offered a full-time position with the Montgomery Biscuits minor league baseball team in Alabama as she was close to completing CMU’s program. Marla took advantage of the opportunity, but says accepting the position while finishing her degree would not have been possible without the support of her professors.
“In some disciplines, they find the course work is more valuable than the real-world experience, but the professors in that program thought the real-world experience is just as valuable as the course work,” Marla said. “They agreed the point of getting the education is to help you in your career. They were great at helping me find independent studies to allow me to continue to work while I was a full-time student.”
Though her transition into a full-time job was toward the end of the program, Marla says the professors help students from the very beginning. She was pushed out of her comfort zone during the introduction to recreation class with the assignment to conduct an informational interview with a professional in the field. After a phone call with the general manager of the Lansing Lugnuts, Marla was offered an internship which she later helped Alex and Mallory earn as well.
Working for the minor league baseball team during his summers, Alex knew he wanted to stay active in the sports industry. Marla’s insight on what to expect from the courses, career options after graduation and the department’s tight-knit community influenced him to follow her footsteps. Looking back on his own experience, he says there is no question why families consistently choose CMU’s recreation program.
“It takes a certain type of person to want to go into this industry,” Alex said. “I can truly say I don’t have a job. I do, but I don’t. I have a blast at work. I think when other people see that within your family, they want to follow that.”
Mallory, the youngest of the three, is grateful for Alex and Marla’s guidance throughout her experience in the program. Now finishing her degree and starting her own career, she says their relationship has shifted and grown in the best way possible.
“I go to them for advice all the time,” Mallory said. “They have a lot of professional insight I don’t have. Now that I’m older, not only do we have the traditional sibling relationship, but we also have a professional relationship where we can talk about professional experiences.”