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May 2, 2013
Maggie Robinson lives by the belief that fulfilling experiences are what make a happy and successful lifetime. She’s demonstrated that with an unmatched enthusiasm throughout her four years at Northwest Missouri State University and no doubt will continue to do so as she embarks on her professional career.
Robinson, of Atlantic, Iowa, is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation and park management. This summer she will return to upstate New York to work her fourth consecutive summer at Point O’Pines as the wilderness adventure discovery director. Then, she will return to New Zealand to work as an outdoor recreation instructor for Bigfoot Adventures Limited. She got her foot in the door at Bigfoot Adventures this spring while studying abroad and working an internship there.
“Northwest has prepared me by providing opportunities to be professionally above my peers,” Robinson said. “It isn't a bachelor's degree that sets you apart anymore; it's your experiences. It shows on paper and in real-life situations. Northwest, in and out of the classroom, has continuously offered that to me. With the help of amazing professors and lifelong friends, I always had continuous support to get out of my comfort zone.”
Robinson chose Northwest because of its proximity to her hometown as well as its smaller size and strong traditions. She quickly involved herself in the University’s intramural programming, in addition to working at the Student Rec Center and as an intramural supervisor.
Along the way, recreation faculty members like Dr. Jeff Ferguson and Dr. Sue Myllykangas were significant influences on her academic success.
“The faculty members in the recreation department have been amazing,” Robinson said. “Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Myllykangas have been a part of my success for some time. Both of them have always given me a positive attitude and their professional opinion. Their doors are always open throughout the day for questions or for just a quick hello.”
This spring, Robinson deepened her understanding of recreation management and laid the groundwork for the next phase of her life after landing her internship at Bigfoot Adventures, an outdoor recreation education company.
“Since I started attending school at Northwest I knew I wanted to study abroad, and I slowly kept running out of time,” Robinson said. “New Zealand always seemed like the oasis for any outdoor rec major.
“I knew the spring trimester would be my last chance, so I went for it and it may have been the best decision so far in my life.”
She gained hands-on experience assisting with the logistics of recreation operations in addition to traveling throughout the country to camps and schools. As she was leading a bike camp with children, Robinson even had an encounter with John Key, New Zealand’s prime minister.
“I walked up and introduced myself, explained where I was from and what I was doing in his beautiful country,” Robinson said. “It’s amazing how life can take you to places you never thought possible.”
Robinson says her experiences at Northwest and in her internships helped her appreciate and overcome challenges. As she graduates from Northwest and embarks on her career, Robinson wants to help customers achieve the same fulfillment she finds in recreational activities.
“My goal in the end is to make sure they remember that experience and find out something about themselves they never knew possible,” Robinson said.
Northwest did that for Robinson with the many opportunities the University offers.
“Each time you do something uncomfortable, the next time around it gets easier,” Robinson said. “And you start to know you are much more capable of amazing things.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468