Outdoor Insider Fall 2015 - Page 24

Bridget Nemeth Director of Recreation and Wellness, Old Dominion University Summit Series Session: From the Director’s Lens Bridget began her campus recreation career as a student trip leader and outdoor rental center attendant at the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed her bachelor’s in Secondary Education and continued her passion for education and the outdoors as she completed her master’s in Recreation Administration at Texas State University. She served as the Graduate Assistant for Outdoor Recreation at Texas State and received the Student Affairs Graduate Research Assistant of the Year award and the AORE Bill March Student Achievement Award. Other career roles including campus activities and corporate meeting and event planning shaped her professional skills and led to her original passion of education and outdoor recreation by serving as the Coordinator of the Outdoor Adventure Program at ODU. She started a new outdoor program there, including a rental center with an extensive equipment inventory, a 24-foot climbing wall, a domestic and international trip program, a university bike shop, and a bike share program. Bridget has also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies Department at ODU, teaching Outdoor Leadership and Environmental Education for the last four years. rebranding the department to support “Live Well, Learn Well.” She loves spending time on her bike, at the beach, and with her husband and son. “Aha” career moment: I was standing at the edge of the Florida Everglades overlooking the Florida Bay, co-leading a multi-day sea kayaking trip during my junior year of undergrad, and said to myself, “Why won’t I want to do this for the rest of my life?” Formative outdoor experience: My uncle took me white-water kayaking the summer before my freshman year of college. This was the first “big” outdoor recreation experience I’d had up to this point, and it set a path I never would have imagined. Recent high point: We just held the pre-construction meeting for a challenge course that has been a dream for over five years, and it’s now going to happen! Favorite place on Earth: Wakra Pukara, Peru, a beautiful, ancient Inca site thought to be used for astronomical observations and agricultural rituals. It is located above the Apurimac River valley, which is the headwaters of the Amazon River and is towered by a large rock outcrop, creating an impressive landscape. Its awe is heightened with the visit of a condor, if you’re lucky! Favorite indoor place: sitting by my wood-burning stove, surrounded by my family and three dogs Best book read recently: Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, by Robert D. Putnam Since becoming director, she has had the opportunity to lead initiatives such as the planning and construction of a low-ropes challenge course, collaborative academic programs, entrepreneurial initiatives, and 24 AORE Outdoor Insider | Fall 2015