A photo of the Recreational Therapy faculty from SRU.

Opportunities After Graduation

Opportunities After Graduation

Upon graduating from the Recreational Therapy Program at SRU, numerous opportunities open up for our students, paving the way for a rewarding career in a myriad of settings. Our alumni have successfully integrated their unique skill sets and comprehensive knowledge in various domains of recreational therapy, such as rehabilitation, geriatrics, behavioral health, and neurorehabilitation.

The Recreational Therapy Program at SRU equips its students with not only the academic and practical skills required for a successful career but also offers an established network of alumni and professionals within the field, providing valuable mentorship and job opportunities post-graduation. Whether you aspire to work directly with patients, lead innovative research, or influence policy and standards at a national level, an SRU Recreational Therapy degree is the stepping stone to your future success.

Gabrielle Dillner, Verland Institute, Sewickley, PA

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Here at Verland’s main campus in Sewickley, we are an intermediate care facility (ICF) working with those who have moderate to profound IDD. As the Rec therapist in this setting, I assess our resident’s physical function, emotional state, leisure rec/ involvement, and cognitive abilities. The goal in this population is to improve our residents’ overall quality of life. This can look different for each person!

Most goals revolve around physical endurance, fine and gross motor skills, regulating sensory needs, reducing stress/anxiety, increasing community involvement, and improving social behavior skills. Sessions take place both in a 1:1 setting and or in a small group setting depending on the resident’s goal. Rec therapy is a highly valued therapy here at Verland and is included as part of the interdisciplinary team working closely with PT & OT in collaboration for common goals. Rec therapy adds in a holistic approach throughout the treatment process making sure to advocate for the person’s preferences & interests!

I also have the opportunity to treat our ORC (other related conditions) residents who are located in Natrona Heights! I travel here once a week and work with 4 individuals who I have assessed & deemed appropriate for Rec therapy. In this setting, these individuals only have physical impairments. With my residents here, we work on job searching/research, community involvement, providing leisure resources and opportunities, as well as giving them the guidance, resources, and confidence to achieve goals they have set for themselves.

Courtney Pier Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center

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My name is Courtney Pier and I am a Recreation Therapist at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. My position in the Cares Towers serves veterans with dementia and other memory deficits that are receiving physical rehabilitation or awaiting long term care placement. Our team treats the therapeutic and leisure needs of our veterans through goal-based interventions including leisure education, physical activity, yoga, music, reminiscence, art, cognitive activities, virtual reality, and sensory integration.

Frailey Schaife Center for Individuals with Physical Disabilities Tulsa, Oklahoma

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My name is Frailey Scaife and I am currently the Program Therapist at The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges in Tulsa, OK. The Center offers individuals with physical limitations opportunities to enhance their quality of life through adaptive and accessible programming and services. The Center offers the following to their members; numerous different adapted sports(wheelchair softball, wheelchair tennis, power soccer, etc), paralympic training programs(powerlifting), yoga, multiple different fitness related classes(aerobics,, horticulture, multiple different art classes(sculpture, stained glass, etc.), aquatic therapy, aquatic classes, and a state of the art fitness center that is fully accessible in every shape and form. The Center also offers individualized services such as transition services which is a one-on-one recreational therapy session that works with the individuals personal needs and goals, as well as aquatic therapy. My role as the program therapist is to help the members/clients fulfill their goals and needs every day here at The Center. My main focus areas are coaching the adaptive sports and helping with programming with the youth of The Center. Everyday looks a little different, but every day I am here doing what I love the most.

Amanda Shiflet SRU Physical Therapy Student

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My name is Amanda Shiflet and I graduated from SRU’s Recreational Therapy program in 2021. I loved RT but I always knew I wanted to go to PT school after I graduated. I am now in SRU’s Physical Therapy program as a second year student. I really valued having my RT background throughout the first and second year. I felt more prepared in certain areas due to my RT background like diagnosing different conditions, and adapting treatment plans to fit each individual. I also felt better in terms of comfortability in working with a variety of patients, given all the clinical experiences provided to me in undergrad. Overall, I feel like RT provided me with a great foundation to build on throughout my PT education, and into the future.

Josie Skibinski SRU Occupational Therapy Student

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Recreational therapy has prepared me extremely well for occupational therapy. Both professions are client-centered, holistic, and aim to help people accomplish their life goals and what they find to be meaningful. Specifically, Recreational therapy helped me excel in conducting assessments, intervention planning, and goal writing which are all essential components of both professions. Recreational therapy provided me with opportunities to interact with people who have disabilities, which has helped build people skills that I wouldn’t have learned by reading a textbook. I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to eventually be an occupational therapist to choose recreational therapy as an undergraduate major. The professional overlap has been very helpful.

AJ Sumser Shepard Center Aquatics and Rehabilitation, Atlanta, GA

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My name is A.J. and I graduated in the spring of 2022 with a BS in RT and minors in APA and aquatics. After completing my internship in adapted outdoor recreation at the National Ability Center in Park City, UT, I accepted a job at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA! Shepherd Center is a family owned and operated neuro-rehab facility specializing in spinal cord injury, acquired brain injury, and multiple sclerosis. In my job as the Aquatics Specialist, I work with individuals with spinal cord injuries in an aquatic therapy pool-based setting to address leisure and physical functioning goals. A large portion of my job is educating patients on safety in and around water while also providing one-on-one in-water aquatic therapy sessions. Using the benefits of water such as buoyancy and natural resistance, I assist patients in areas including comfort and relaxation, stretching, strengthening, swim stroke development, and gait progression. In addition to the pool-based programs I oversee, I also get to assist in running recreational aquatics programs such as waterskiing, kayaking, and SCUBA diving including both local and international programs. I am very fortunate to have found a position that combines my interests for RT and Aquatics and enjoy being in the water every day!