College of Natural Resources online student Erika Hood is graduating from NC State Friday, Dec. 15 with a Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport Management.
As a Raleigh native, Hood was familiar with NC State. She went to high school at Cardinal Gibbons High School and had always thought about attending NC State at some point.
“Upon graduating from UNC Wilmington and discovering what an awesome online master’s program NC State offered, I knew it would be a great fit,” Hood said.
Living and working full time as a property manager at Sweyer Property Management in Hampstead, North Carolina, Hood enrolled in NC State’s online Master of Parks, Recreation Tourism and Sport Management program in January 2016.
“Taking courses online made it possible to work full time and go to school full time. I worked during the day and went to school in the evenings and on the weekends,” Hood explained.
She wanted to continue her education while gaining professional experience.
“I love to learn how to learn and NC State has made that possible,” Hood said. She adds that NC State also provided unique opportunities to impact her community.
While in the program, Hood said her favorite course was PRT 595: Special Topics in Recreation Resources. She said the course allowed her to deep-dive into topics of particular interest to her.
“The course was not a typical format where the professor teaches the students. We were encouraged to learn how to learn and think critically for ourselves,” Hood explained. “It was inspiring to take my passions and see what an influence they could have on our field for the future. Personally, I enjoy research and this course inspired me to continue my research after graduation.”
Hood believes earning the online Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport Management has broaden her knowledge in various areas that she previously was unfamiliar with, including geographic information systems, fiscal management and risk management.
She also spoke highly of the online faculty and her classmates, calling them a “blessing.”
“I have built relationships with my peers and professors that are priceless,” Hood said. She also explained that it was a large commitment and well worth it.
“The resources and people are available to walk you through every step. Erin Adair, our instructional technologist, was an amazing resource and made it all possible,” Hood said. “I highly recommend NC State Online and Distance Education programs as they have allowed me to reach my educational goals while still balancing my work and family life.”