RT Student Spotlight: Heather Mauzy

Name: Heather Mauzy
Degree & Graduation Year: B.S. Recreational Therapy, class of 2022
Tell us about your hobbies and involvement at ECU: 
I am one of the founders of the Edible Landscape Initiative on campus. We are a group of Honors College students who wanted to get students more involved in the environment. Last year we planted an orchard on ECU’s campus (on Stratford Arms) and are excited to involve student volunteers this year! I am super passionate about the environment, and ECU has a lot of opportunities to expand on that love of nature! I am also Resident Advisor for Cotten Hall. This position has been a great opportunity to be more involved on campus and get to know the incoming students at ECU.
What brought you to ECU?
My decision to attend ECU was based on two factors, the Recreational Therapy program and the Honors College. When deciding which college I was going to attend, I knew I wanted to go to a school that valued students and truly allowed them to get hands-on learning that I believe is essential to true learning. After seeing the dedication of the Recreational Therapy and Honors faculty I knew that I would be given many opportunities for hands-on learning at ECU. Furthermore, upon seeing the Recreational Therapy program accomplishments, I just knew that ECU was going to be the best school to get my Recreational Therapy degree.
Why do you want to enter the field of recreational therapy?
Even when I was a child, I knew I wanted to be in a helping profession, even before I knew what a helping profession was. When I got into high school I was researching different medical fields and therapies, and stumbled across a hospital page outlining the Recreational Therapy services at their institution. Now this hospital was in Maryland, but reading the description I knew this field was exactly what I had been looking for my entire life. I had always been an active child, participating in many different kinds of sports and creative endeavors. This was an important part of my development and personality, and finding a career that would allow me to incorporate this in my life, and into the lives of others seemed (and still does) to be the best way for me to embark on a career in a helping profession.
Tell us about your upcoming internship or where you hope to intern?
I am planning on interning during the Summer of 2022, and hoping to intern in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro area. I have not finalized my internship, but I hope to intern in a more clinical setting in order to gain a better understanding of a variety of populations and interventions utilized by Recreational Therapists.
What is your favorite aspect of recreational therapy?
Recreational Therapy encompasses the entire person, which is (in my opinion) the most essential way to help individuals rehabilitate and live their lives in a way that is fulfilling to them. I really appreciate and enjoy learning an approach to therapy that truly takes in what the patient thinks, and also what will help them live a fulfilling life. I have found in therapies and the medical field, it is sometimes easy to focus on physical or mental health separately, but not together or in relation to what will be fulfilling for the patient. I enjoy the approach that Recreational Therapists take, where they approach rehabilitation by determining what will be the most effective in getting the patient on board and excited about interventions.
Tell us about your favorite Rec Therapy course or professor(s)?
My favorite course thus far has been Dr. Eldridge’s course on Physical & Movement Interventions in Recreational Therapy (RCTX 4272). This was the first class where I really felt like I was learning what becoming a Recreational Therapist would mean. Learning interventions and getting practice putting fundamental skills together to create protocols helped me gain confidence in my abilities. Dr. Eldridge’s experience and first-hand stories helped me learn more about what Recreational Therapy can look like in all its different specialty areas. I really enjoyed this class and gained the necessary confidence to help me throughout my future course, practicum, and internship.
What kind of setting or future job do you hope to have upon graduation? 
I am hoping to work with older adults after I have graduated. I spent last summer helping my neighbor take care of his aging father who has Alzheimer’s, and this experience really made me fall in love with this population. There is so much need for compassion and improvement in quality of life, and I hope to be working to make changes in these areas. I am also particularly drawn to more clinical settings, while I am still gaining experience, so I am hoping to work in a more clinical setting upon graduation.
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your passion for Rec Therapy?
Many people don’t come into college knowing what Recreational Therapy is or want to use it as a stepping stone to future careers, but I truly believe that Recreational Therapy helps remind patients of the important activities in their lives and provides the support to find fulfillment and enjoyment for their futures.