The recreation, parks and tourism administration (RPTA) department was recently recognized for three major accomplishments — a graduate student receiving a “future scholars award,” a group of RPTA students winning a quiz bowl and a group comprised of faculty, staff and students creating a handbook.

“The achievements are very prestigious for the department,” graduate RPTA student Katherine Soule said. “We are constantly being compared to other colleges, so these accomplishments definitely look good.”

Soule, winner of the future scholars award, said she was the only person nominated from Cal Poly.

“I think I won the award due to all the assistance from my advisers and all of my previous publications,” she said.

She said she is lucky to have a department which places so much confidence in its students.

RPTA department head Bill Hendricks said Soule was very deserving of the award and she was nominated due to her outstanding writing skills and all of the work she completed as a research assistant for the department.

“There were 20 nominations, and only two students selected in all of North America,” Hendricks said. “One student was selected in Canada and then Katherine.”

Soule is not the only RPTA affiliate who recently made an achievement for the department. Last month the RPTA Quiz Bowl team consisting of Amber Black, Amy Lepp, Kristen McClay and Kelsey Paveo won the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Academic Quiz Bowl national championship.

Hendricks said this was Cal Poly’s first quiz bowl. “There were four teams all together that participated in this inaugural quiz bowl,” he said.

Hendricks said the quiz bowl team was chosen by faculty based on their academic performance, and the final team was chosen by the quiz bowl coach, Brian Greenwood.

“For winning the quiz bowl, we received a trophy to display in the department office, a perpetual plaque and full conference registration for each student to the 2011 NRPA conference in Atlanta,” Hendricks said.

The final achievement took several months to complete. It was the “Sustainable Tourism Marketing Handbook” created by faculty, staff and students in the RPTA department along with the California Travel & Tourism Commission, according to a press release.

Hendricks said the students chosen to work on this handbook (one of which was an undergraduate and the other a graduate) were interested in this topic.  “This was the first handbook we have ever created, but I think it was a success,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks said all of these achievements bring a lot of attention to the department, and based on what they are doing now, the possibilities are endless.

“These accomplishments add incredible visibility and stature (to the department) on a national scale,” he said. “Cal Poly is generating a significant amount of recognition and ‘buzz’ of our outstanding students and faculty.”

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