University of Mount Olive RLS Students Pursue Summer Internships

University of Mount Olive RLS Students Pursue Summer Internships

MOUNT OLIVE- Eleven University of Mount Olive students are participating in summer internships as part of the recreation and leisure studies internship program (RLS 499). Dr. Jill Mills, professor of recreation and leisure, is supervising the students as they each complete a 480 hour internship over 12 weeks.

“RLS 499 is a professional experience in which the student works full-time in an approved recreation, park, or leisure service agency,” explained Mills. “The internship is completed after all course work is done, so it is a full-time experience during the last semester that they are enrolled at UMO.”

The internship is focused on giving students a hands-on experience. “Students can learn more during their 480 hour internship than they do in the classroom,” noted Mills. “It provides a learning experience through doing, which is a learning style that fits many of the active, health, and wellness minded students enrolled in recreation and leisure studies.”

After finding the perfect fit for their educational and professional needs, the seniors are now interning at a variety of locations and gaining invaluable exposure and experience that will benefit their futures.

Many of the students pursued sports-related internships. In particular, Stephany King, a sports management major and a business management minor from Abingdon, MD, and Stanley Roffe, a sports management major and coaching and business marketing minor from King’s Lynn, UK, are both interning in golf related settings. King is leading the academy and golf camps at The First Tee in Brunswick County, an international program that ensures no child is turned away.  Roffe is working with the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Charleston, SC.

“I chose to do my internship at The First Tee because I love watching kids learn about golf,” explained King, who participates in the Trojan women’s golf team. “The mission of this corporation is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. I hope my internship is successful as I would like to work for The First Tee in the future.”

For many of these students, the internship opportunity is opening doors for students to pursue their dream jobs. Hope Perry, a sports management major from Huntingtown, MD, is interning with the Chesapeake Bayhawks, a professional lacrosse team in Major League Lacrosse (MLL). “I chose to work with the Bayhawks because of the size of the corporation and the opportunity to learn so much in the professional sports realm,” explained Perry. “I am learning all of the responsibilities for all of the employees, and my supervisor is letting me handle many of their duties. I get hands on experience in a place where I dream of working in the future!”

Additionally, Ansia Dial, a RLS major from Wilson, is interning with Shaw University’s football team and is gaining valuable involvement with NCAA regulations and team management. Richard Giner, a sports management major from Newberry, SC, is working with the New Castle Parks and Recreation Department in New York, where he is coaching sports teams and preparing game fields. Tanner Tolston, a RLS major from Swansboro, is completing his internship at Crossfit Goldsboro.

“This internship is making me more comfortable in front of a class and helping broaden my knowledge of fitness,” said Tolston. “I am attending ECU in the fall to get my master’s degree in exercise science with a concentration in sport and exercise psychology, so my internship is preparing me to succeed in my graduate education.”

Students also chose to work with clubs and parks. Tiffany Hawley, a physical education major from Dunn, and Lauren Smith, an exercise science major from Clinton, are both interning with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).  Beth Overman, a sports management and leisure service management major from Elizabeth City, is completing her internship at the Parks and Recreation Department in Oxford, NC. Andrew Manning, a RLS major from La Grange, is working with a family readiness officer (FRO) at MCCS Camp Lejeune, where he oversees the recreation responsibilities of the department. Kat Nelson, a RLS major from New Bern, is working as a white water guide at RIGS Adventure Co. in Ridgway, CO.

“I picked to intern at the YMCA because my ultimate goal is to work in a children’s hospital and I like the hands on interaction,” said Smith. “I am getting experience with kids and also using knowledge I’ve learned from my courses at UMO.”

“The Parks and Recreation Department gives me great experience in multiple settings in the field in which I want to enter,” explained Overman. “I also picked this specific agency because the director is a very knowledgeable and experienced. She is willing to give me the hands on experience in which I need to be competitive in my future profession.”

Mills is excited to see that these 11 students are preparing for their futures through the RLS internship program while positively representing UMO.

“This opportunity helps the students gain valuable real life experience and tie practice to theory that they learned in the classroom,” said Mills. “They begin their lives as a leisure service professional before graduating! They are building their professional reputation and networking, while still in a safe learning environment. It’s a great way to step into a full-time career!”

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit

Kat Nelson recently certified as a Colorado White Water Rafting Guide, joins RIGS Outdoor Adventures Crew for an action packed summer on the water.

Elizabeth Overman (second from left) working a sports summer camp for ages 5-12 at the Oxford Parks and Recreation Department.  Overman was instructing drills and skills for volleyball.

Tanner Tolston at Goldsboro CrossFit works with UMO student Bailey Sutton

Ansia Dial is interning in the Shaw University football office

Having fun at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington Lauren Smith (top right) is pictured with some of the children and other counselors she works with at YMCA.

Tiffany Hawley (standing behind the kids with the hat on) working with kids from the YMCA

Stanley Roffe with his supervisor Lexie Crookshank at Kiawah Island golf Resort, SC.