RPTM Advisory Board

Kent State University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management (RPTM).  RPTM program values the input of various stakeholders including alumni, recreation, park, and tourism leaders from across Northeast Ohio and beyond, and faculty, in the ongoing development and promotion of the program

The RPTM advisory board plays an instrumental role in strategically positioning the program to address current and emerging needs in the field locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Mission of the RPTM Advisory Board and Responsibilities of Program Advisory Board Members

The RPTM Advisory Board provides meaningful, ongoing consultation with leaders related to the practice of recreation, park, and tourism management. Board members will focus on areas of strategic importance to the RPTM program at Kent State University:

  • Share developments in the field of recreation, park, and tourism and advise on trends and innovation.
  • Serve as an ambassador and advocate for the RPTM program, providing an ongoing exchange of information and ideas with other leaders/practitioners in the field.
  • Assess the labor market demand for program graduates and advise the program faculty to ensure graduates are prepared with the knowledge and skills needed to meet current and future employment demands in the field.
  • Provide feedback and guidance on the relevancy of our curriculum and professional practice requirements and opportunities to ensure the program is delivering current, relevant content that meets the needs of students, practitioners, and the profession.
  • Advise and assist with program marketing and promotion.

Advisory Board Members

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Nathan D. Eppink, Director, Medina County Park District, OH

Nate Eppink is the Director of Medina County Park District in Ohio. What began as a summer internship with Cleveland Metroparks eventually turned into a nearly 20-year career in park management, community engagement, and marketing. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications from Cleveland State University. Currently, Nate leads the “small, but mighty” Medina County Park District, a role he has had since October 2018. As he describes it, he has the best job in Northeast Ohio by making lives better, protecting natural resources and establishing new areas for recreation. A certified parks and recreation professional, Nate serves on the board of the Ohio Park and Recreation Association and is a member of the Ohio Public Works Commission’s District 9 Natural Resources Assistance Council. He lives in Medina County with his wife and three young children.

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Demetrius Lambert-Falconer, Chief of Community Engagement, Summit Metro Parks 

Demetrius Lambert-Falconer is the Chief of Community Engagement with Summit Metro Parks, OH. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science Education with a minor in History. She completed her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instructions from Cleveland State University in 2002. Demetrius has more than 26 years of experience in creating outreach and park programs for special populations in urban communities. Demetrius’ work primarily revolves around natural and cultural history experiences for early learners, active seniors, and non-user groups. Demetrius has consistently presented workshops and conference sessions throughout her career to professional organizations like National Association for Interpretation, National Recreation and Park Association, Ohio Parks and Recreation Association and Environmental Education Council of Ohio. Demetrius’s free time is often spent with her four children and husband wandering around soccer fields, hiking trails and museums.

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Andrea Griffin, Superintendent of Recreation, Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA), IL

Andrea Griffin is the Superintendent of Recreation at Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) in Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Aurora University.  Andrea has been with NWSRA for 15 years and has held positions as a Recreation Specialist, Inclusion Coordinator, and the Manager of Inclusion Services.  Andrea’s work primarily revolves around managing and supporting NWSRA’s Inclusion Department, Collaborative Department, Therapeutic Program Department and the thirteen full time staff that work within these departments.  Andrea Griffin is involved in professional organizations through the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) and the Therapeutic Recreation Section.  Within each of these sections she has taken on a leadership role.  Griffin sits on the board as for the Chicago Chapter of Woman in Leisure Services (WILS) and has sat on the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) board for her local school district.  She is a past Rotarian and currently a member of Mount Prospect Jr. Woman’s Club and the City of Rolling Meadows Community Events Foundation.  Andrea is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS), a Certified Park and Recreational Professional (CPRP) and Certified Play Expert (CPE).  In her free time Andrea likes to be outside with her husband and three kids, walk the dog and read.

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Jesús Sánchez, Outdoor Recreation Specialist, Cleveland Metroparks

Jesús Sánchez is the Outdoor Recreation Specialist with Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland, Ohio. Born in Carolína, Puerto Rico, Jesús Sánchez grew up in Lorain, Ohio. He studied Biology at the University of Findlay earning a Bachelor of Science, and later a Master’s of Science degree from John Carroll University. From 2006 to 2013, he worked in various capacities with the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Green Corps program where he worked with high school age youth in Cleveland using urban agriculture as a catalyst to develop 21st century skills in youth. Jesús became Director of Programs at Esperanza Inc. in 2013, where he directed program staff as well as six outreach and educational support programs within the Cleveland Hispanic and Latino community. Passionate about experiential learning, Jesús’ move to Education Director for the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center was a natural fit. Here, he collaborated extensively with the National Park System developing curriculum, providing teacher professional development, and working towards an institutional culture that embraces diversity, inclusion, and equity. Additionally, Jesús is a Case Western Reserve University Treu-Mart Fellow as well as a National Institute for Latino School Leaders fellow advocating for equitable opportunities for underrepresented youth. Currently, Jesús is an Outdoor Recreation specialist with Cleveland Metroparks Youth Outdoors program and provides training as well as professional development for environmental as well as outdoor focused organizations through his Change In Nature Consulting LLC.

Derek Schroeder, Community Services Director, City of Beachwood

Derek Schroeder is the Community Services Director at City of Beachwood.  Derek Schroeder completed a Bachelor of Science Degree at Bowling Green State University in Biology.  Derek Schroeder completed a Master of Science Degree at the University of Akron in Marine Sciences.  Derek has 20 years of full-time experience in Parks and Recreation Management.  Derek’s work primarily revolves around Staff Management, Event Planning, and Customer Service.  Derek has been a member of OPRA, NRPA, IFEA (International Festival and Events Association), and ILEA (International Live Events Association). In his free time Derek likes to play volleyball, travel, drink coffee, and spend time with his family.

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Meagan Shaheen, Executive Director at Meyers Lake YMCA with the YMCA of Central Stark County

Meagan completed her undergraduate degree from Kent State University with a degree in Recreation and Sport Management. Meagan has 9 years of full-time experience with the Y and 17 years of total service. Meagan’s work primarily revolves around management of facility, budgeting, and fundraising. Meagan is a past President of her local Rotary Club, serves as a board member for Aultman College and holds a Multi-Branch Leadership Certification with YMCA of the USA. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, in the outdoors, with friends, and playing basketball.

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John Trevelline, Park and Watercraft Manager, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

John Trevelline is a Park and Watercraft Manager with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Watercraft. He manages 3 Parks in Northeast Ohio: West Branch, Lake Milton, and Nelson Kennedy Ledges. John’s undergraduate studies were at the University of Dayton where he focused on education and psychology. He continued his academic career at Youngstown State University’s graduate school where he studied community counseling and business. John joined ODNR in 2017 following a career in healthcare administration. His present responsibilities revolve around park operations including to management of campgrounds, trails, day use facilities, boat ramps, lakes, bridle facilities, public beaches, marinas, and a state owned and operated dam. John is a graduate of America’s State Park Leadership Academy (NC State University). He also holds an Ohio Certified Public Manager certificate (Cleveland State). In his free time, John enjoys kayaking and spending time with his 12-year-old daughter.