Jessica Burch started at Texas A&M as a Business major with a minor in RPTS. However, after one semester in which she took all RPTS classes, everything changed. She found that her RPTS professors truly cared about her and wanted her to learn. They quickly learned her name and were eager to invest in her education. She also found that she loved the experiences RPTS had to offer and the future career options more closely aligned with what she wanted to do. When she transferred to RPTS, she felt as though she had found her home. She now has an emphasis in Community Recreation and Park Administration and is also pursuing her Event Management Certificate.
Although it was a difficult decision, Jessica asserted that her favorite class was RPTS 320, Event Management and Operations. Through this class, she was able to gain hands on experience planning an actual event for a real client. She enjoyed getting to collaborate with fellow students and professionals, utilizing her creativity, presenting the material to the class and her client, and overall gaining hands on experience that had valuable “real world” application.
Jessica said that the best advice she had received during college was to “Take in as much information as you can from every source and apply it to your life.” She has learned that you can never take information for granted. She explained that there is an abundance of people around us that we can learn from, and although not everything will be relevant, we must glean the lessons that are applicable to make the most of our education and experiences.
What piece of advice would you give to future RPTS students?
Jessica recommended that future students “get involved, get experience, and talk to professors.” She stated that college is such a unique time to develop your education and gain experience. College offers a wealth of resources that should not be taken for granted. She also emphasized that professors are especially important. They want to help you and invest in you to help you be successful in your future career. She encouraged all students to get to know their professors and take advantage of the unique resources surrounding them at college.
Through her classes, Jessica explained that she has been able to “learn by doing.” She has gotten hands on experience in planning programs, implementing events, and working with professionals. Through the RPTS Department, she has been able to attend several conferences in which she has been able to interact with professionals and see how class concepts look in the real world. She has also been able to implement program plans created within her classes at the city recreation center in her hometown.
What experience have you gained in the RPTS field?
Jessica has been able to acquire a wide range of experience during her time as a student. She is about to begin her fifth summer as the Special Events Supervisor for the waterpark in her hometown. She has also completed a six-month internship with Disney where she worked with their waterpark, Typhoon Lagoon. Through this internship she learned many valuable skills such as customer service and event management. During her time in Florida, Jessica was also able to take classes at Disney University. In addition to her experience with waterparks, she has also worked with the city recreation center in her hometown. At the recreation center, she has helped run the afterschool program, refereed sports, and coached some of the city leagues. In her spare time, she enjoys helping the city manage their city-wide events.
Jessica would like to work with an event management company in the future. She enjoys planning events for corporations and would like to pursue this path. She has been considering working for Capital One, an American bank which sponsors many national events and competitions in addition to hosting conferences and sales rallies. She hopes to either work with Capital One or a corporation that offers similar experiences when she graduates.