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EIU Department of Recreation Administration


Emma Dvorak

Emma Dvorak, SeniorFIT Program Specialist

Major: Therapeutic Recreation

"The summer after my graduation from EIU, I completed my Therapeutic Recreation Internship with the Rockford Park District. I worked with kids andyoung adults with disabilities in a community setting, creating programs and helping them with summer camp. I completed the internship in August of 2017. I absolutely LOVED this job, however my heart has always been with the elderly population. In September of 2017 I accepted the job with Symbria. I work in a few different retirement communities and am in charge of all the exercise related programs. We complete assessments, put on events, and work closely with the residents to help best fit their needs. In November of 2017 I sat for my CTRS exam, and passed! I'm currently still working in SeniorFIT and putting all of my EIU knowledge to good use." 

"My degree from Eastern has helped me in so many ways. Not only was I prepared enough to pass my certification exam on the first time, I felt like I really knew the information. EIU taught me everything I needed to know about Therapeutic Recreation, and my professors were a huge part of that as well."



Shannon Harback, Recreation Supervisor Shannon Harback

Major: Recreation Administration

"As Recreation Supervisor at the Pontiac Parks and Recreation Department, my job varies on a day-to-day basis. Some of my job duties include creating and overseeing recreation programs, developing marketing materials for programs, supervising the recreation center, managing the department website and social media accounts, coordinating community special events, and helping coach Special Olympics athletes. Since I am someone who gets bored with routine, I am grateful that each work day contains new tasks and challenges.." 

"I am forever grateful for the Recreation Administration program at EIU because it helped expose me to the many aspects of parks and recreation - including outdoor recreation, programming, budgeting, strategic planning, adaptive recreation, and much more. In almost every recreation course I took at EIU, I had the chance to get hands-on experience in the field through projects, activities, and group work. The faculty create genuine relationships with you, help you find your path, and encourage you to succeed not only in your classes but also in the field. I am proud to be an alum of the Recreation Administration program within the KSR Department at EIU!"


Gabrielle Diagostino, Program Coordinator

Major: Therapeutic Recreation

"Since graduation I have officially moved to Champaign, Illinois and have started an amazing job with Larkins Place at the Stephens Family YMCA as the program coordinator. I am leading a fitness program for teens/adults with disabilities and am helping run our Friday Fun events where we program plan activities each month for our participants."

"I am so thankful for the amazing professors I had the opportunity of working with during my time at Eastern Illinois University. I was provided with many learning opportunities that helped stimulate me and let me grow as a student. I have always been passionate about working with individuals with disabilities and that passion was matched by my professors which was incredible to see. I always felt supported and encouraged by the staff and my fellow classmates. Eastern has forever changed my life and has brought amazing opportunities that I would have never imagined. I still keep in touch with the staff and I don’t see that ever changing!"


Nicole Kapala, Marketing & Communications  Manager

Major: Therapeutic Recreation 

ksr alum nicole kapala

"Since graduating I have been all over the Parks & Rec field and then left for a bit and then came back! Shortly after graduation, I started part time at the Wheaton Park
District as their Marketing & Special Events coordinator. After 6 months on the job, I became full-time and ended up there for about 3.5 years. I loved it as I worked a lot on special events, marketing for recreation and athletic programming and sponsorship. I wanted a change and to see what else was out there, so really switched gears and worked at Jack Morton Worldwide where I would work on event marketing for General Motors. I wasn't the biggest fan so after a year and a half, I was happy to be back in the Parks & Rec field where I am currently at: The Marketing & Communications Manager at the Lombard Park District. I have been here for just about two years and I absolutely love it!"

"My experience at Eastern was amazing! I started out my freshman year as an education major and ended my college career as a Recreation Administration major and Marketing minor. It was the best decision I made and have made lifelong friends through the program. My teachers at the time were a huge part of my success and their drive to help all students during and after graduation!"


Nathan Kinsinger, Finance Supervisor

Major: Recreation Administration

"I started my professional career at the Lombard Park District as an Athletic Manager. I remained in the position for almost five years before I became the Finance Supervisor also for the Lombard Park District. I have been working in this role for nearly two years and it was a great decision for me. I am still able to work with recreation, but I am also able to work with my other professional passion of finance and accounting."


Jake Pawlak, Program Manager

Major: Recreation Administration

"I started as a part time employee at Downers Grove Park District overseeing the Miniature Golf Course, and four concession stands, along with assisting with recreation sports classes and leagues. From there I was hired a Recreation Supervisor with the Butterfield Park District. While at the Butterfield Park District I oversaw all athletics, senior activities/trips, teen activities/trips, both teen and youth summer camps, facility rentals, pool staff, and payroll. I stayed at the BPD for one year and was then hired at the Lombard Park District as a Program Manager – Athletics. At the LPD I now currently oversee in-house spring/fall soccer league (700+ people), as well as contractual martial arts, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer camps and classes. In addition to our Mutt Strut 5k and Turkey Shoot special events."

"My degree from EIU has allowed me to get my foot in the door at multiple park districts. From there I was able to network and meet new people in the field."


Allison Sheehan, Program Director

Major: Recreation Administration

"After Graduation, I worked at Camp Manito-wish YMCA as a Staff Recruitment Coordinator for two winters and worked on the leadership team during the summer. After those two winters, I interviewed and became the Summer Camp Program Director which I have been for the past five years. I live in Northern Wisconsin on the camp property. I live on the lake with my Cat and am enjoying all of the silent sports activities that Northern Wisconsin has to offer."

"I loved my experiences in the Recreation Department. The Rec department was such a close knit, small community of Outdoor Professionals! The professors were amazing and were always helpful. I am in contact with classmates and professors from when I was there and appreciated the time at EIU!"

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James Barkley

1106 McAfee

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