Sarah Murphy, a senior double major in Recreation Management and Outdoor Recreation & Education, attended, volunteered, and won a networking contest at this year’s Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) Conference and Trade Show.
The conference and trade show took place February 2-5 in Sandusky, Ohio, and housed 196 exhibitors’ booths. College student attendees were encouraged to network and collect a business card from working professionals, and Murphy collected over 100 cards.
“I wanted to connect with as many people as I could to increase my chances of landing a job this time next year,” said Murphy. “It’s also a delight, and a major reason I went—to hear the stories of the professionals, how they got to where they are, their tips and tricks, what they've learned, and what they’d do differently if they were my age again.”
Marcquis Parham, assistant director of Career and Leadership Development for Hospitality, Retail Merchandising, and Recreation Sport Pedagogy, attended the conference and noticed Murphy’s dedication to her field.
“This student did such a great job of representing herself and our university at OPRA that I wanted to nominate her for the Student Spotlight,” said Parham. “She won [the networking contest] with flying colors and was consistently going above and beyond her level of volunteering.”
In addition to her double major, Murphy is pursuing a minor in Geography and a certificate in Environmental Studies.
Murphy’s choice to pursue Outdoor Recreation came easily to her when she entered college.
“I have always been outside, since I was a kid my parents had my outside. Various hikes, creek stomping, you name it, I spent my childhood outside. So, when it came time to pick a major my grandfather suggested Outdoor Recreation,” said Murphy.
After starting college, Murphy found that her career goals also lined up with The Patton College of Education’s Recreation Management major.
“I want to help people, and I think recreation is how I'll do that,” said Murphy.
The Ansonia, Ohio, native, served as the Vice President of Programming for the Residents’ Action Council at Ohio University for the 2019-2020 school year. In that role, she allocated a $13,000 budget and planned campus-wide programs and events.
Murphy sees event planning as a future career possibility, but she is open to other roles. And having acquired over 100 business cards from this year’s OPRA conference, her options are plentiful.
“Really, I’m willing to try just about anything once,” said Murphy. “I'll go where God and the wind lead.”