Recreational Therapy Month Student Spotlight: Grace

Name: Grace Shelton
Degree & Graduation Year: BS in Recreational Therapy with minors in Psychology and Composite Natural Science, Class of 2023.

Tell us about your hobbies and involvement at ECU?
I love to spend time with friends and family, going shopping, traveling, and playing with my dogs. At ECU, I am the Vice President for the Pirates for Down Syndrome Awareness Club and a member of the Recreational Therapy Student Society. Through these clubs, I get to work with individuals with disabilities in Greenville, NC and the surrounding areas. I enjoy volunteering with these clubs in my free time to advocate the value, understanding, and inclusion of individuals with disabilities.

What brought you to ECU?
I came to ECU because I fell in love with the campus and the college town. Pirate pride radiates through Greenville and it made it feel like home. 

Why do you want to enter the field of recreational therapy?
I chose Recreational Therapy because of the positive impact I can have on others by assisting them in living a more fulfilling life. I am passionate about supporting people and enhancing their lives in fun ways.

Tell us about your upcoming internship or where you hope to intern?
I am currently interning at Central Regional Hospital in Butner, NC. I work on the Psychosocial Treatment team at CRH. The RT’s get to work alongside doctors, social workers, nurses, art therapists, and music therapists. It has been a rewarding experience thus far and I have been able to see the importance Recreational Therapy has on this population. 

What is your favorite aspect of recreational therapy?
My favorite aspect is getting to help others. I like how recreational therapists can help relieve the fear in patients battling an injury or illness that they will get better and will regain the skills to do the activities that they enjoy. It not only makes me smile to see a patient’s progress, but it is even better when they leave smiling. 

Tell us about your favorite rec.therapy course or professor(s)?
My favorite course was RCTX 4272 with Dr. Loy. I loved how interactive the course was and learning how to play different adapted sports with my classmates. One of my favorite professors is Mrs. Burnworth. She always goes above and beyond for her students and cares about our well being in and out of the classroom. 

What kind of setting or future job do you hope to have upon graduation?
I am interested in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. My desire to become a Recreational Therpaist rooted from working with individuals with intellectual disabilities in High School. However, I am also interested in working in oncology. I feel that recreational therapy being used in an oncology department would be very rewarding.

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your passion for recreational therapy?
My advice for those looking for internships is to be open minded. I was nervous about branching out and working with a population I had no experience with, however, I am glad I took an internship with a population not familiar to me. I have learned so much and love that everyday is different.