MCKEESPORT, PA. – On April 21, Penn State Greater Allegheny hosted a virtual career panel discussion on Recreation, Park and Tourism Management (RPTM) across campuses. Marijke Hecht, Assistant Professor for RPTM at Greater Allegheny, moderated the discussion.

Panelist Chastity Bey, Community Nature Educator at Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy; Chris Phillips, president of B Entertainment; Justin Haug, Chief of Staff in Siuslaw National Park; Kathryn Vargas, assistant director of citiparks for recreation in the city of Pittsburgh; and Marcus Shoffner, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Venture Outdoor; talked about each of their experiences with recreational fields.

With summer just around the corner, outdoor recreation is becoming a popular option for community members. Kathryn Vargas encourages individuals to “go to their local Rec and see what programs are on offer to engage young people”.

“In order for young people to enjoy these recreational activities and parks, they should see what is going on around them,” said Chastity Bey. “Some programs can take you outside that you may not have thought of.”

One such outdoor area next to the Greater Allegheny campus is Renziehausen (Renzie) Park. The 205-acre park has recently renovated walking trails, tennis courts, sports fields, a small lake, an award-winning rose garden, and a spray park. Park facilities are funded by the Allegheny Regional Asset District in collaboration with the City of McKeesport.

RPTM is the latest degree program to be added to Greater Allegheny’s academic portfolio and offers students extensive career opportunities. Hecht describes RPTM as “anything from environmental education, outdoor recreation or urban programming”.

Current students interested in the program should contact their academic advisor for more information. Prospective Nittany Lions can learn more about the RPTM program at

Troy Ferguson, Greater Allegheny’s senior communications major and strategic planning and communications intern, contributed to this story.