RT Month Spotlight – Rhonda Godwin

Rhonda Godwin graduated from ECU in 1997 with a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies (now Recreation Sciences). Since graduating, she has been employed by Vidant Medical Center in the Behavioral Health Department. She began her career as a recreational therapist and now serves as the Behavioral Health Allied Health supervisor at Vidant, overseeing many recreational therapy initiatives and caregiving.

As a leader in the local health care community, Rhonda has had numerous notable accomplishments and certifications. Rhonda serves as the chair for the Fish Philosophy Committee, the Community Living Initiative, and the MI/ID Interdisciplinary Council. Additionally, Rhonda serves in active roles on committees including Patient Family Centered Care, Recreational Therapy Professional Practice Council, Intervention Advisory Committee, the Eastern AHEC IDD conference planning committee, and the Behavioral Health Restraint Advisory Task Force. Rhonda has also been nominated for the Brody Award and has presented at sessions at Vidant’s Mental Health Expos. Rhonda is a licensed recreational therapist and a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, and is certified in nonviolent crisis intervention.

Rhonda tells us that, “Being a student at ECU in the College of Health and Human Performance provided me the knowledge and foundation that helped me get to where I am today. I was not only able to learn the skills, modalities, and theories behind what I wanted to do with my career, but also had the hands-on practicum experiences to be able to use the tools I learned. My professors were always helpful, willing to listen, and offered encouragement when I needed it. If not for my experiences at ECU, I would have never realized my passion for working with and helping people who have mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities. I hope that I have been able to inspire other students that I have worked with through the years to find that same passion for the population that they wish to serve.”

Rhonda has three pieces of advice for students. “First, explore all of the opportunities that ECU has to offer. Now is the time to challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone, go on adventures, and meet new people. Those experiences will turn into memories that you will talk about for the rest of your life. Second, remind yourself that no matter how stressful or challenging your life or school becomes, don’t give up. You’ve got this! Finally, choose a career path that embraces your interests. If you love what you do, you will stay motivated and driven to do the best that you can do every day…not because you have to, but because you want to!”