hink about a time when someone took an interest in you. Remember how he or she asked questions about your ideas for a project or solicited your thoughts on how something should be done? Remember that college adviser who believed in you enough to sign the independent study form or recommend you for a job? Perhaps you stayed in touch over the years and that adviser, that professor, became your mentor.
Linda Aldrich-Noon treasured her rich experience of being
mentored at UNH so fondly that she returned to the Department of Recreation
Management and Policywith the encouragement of her former adviser
and mentor Lou Powellto serve as project coordinator for a federally
funded grant program training therapeutic recreation students to work
in public school systems and to teach as an assistant professor.
When I did my internship at Maine Medical Center,
Lou was always very accessible and interested in what I did. Even after
graduation, she remained interested, calling me about jobs, says
Aldrich-Noon. I try to do that for my students.
In the classroom, Aldrich-Noon rarely sits still for long.
As she moves around the class, she encourages students as they prepare
for their 14-week summer internships. She reminds them to create challenging
learning opportunities for themselves and to keep up the paperwork and
reports for professional certification.
Work on your learning edge . . . push yourself,
she exhorts the group getting ready to go out into the real world.
Looking over her wire-rimmed glasses, she listens intently
to their questions and is quick to give a ready smile. She fires off answers
at highway speed, packed with just the information the student requested.
She exudes a sense of competence. Its our responsibility to
advocate in your best interests, she tells her students.
Shes very open and easy to talk to, wants
to know what we think about things, notes senior Kate Bunn. I
like hershes really there for us.
Junior Jamie Nancarrow observes, Shes really
in with the students and knows everyone. Shes awesome. She gets
to know us and we get to know each other. I feel very prepared for my
For Aldrich-Noon, its exciting to see how the students
change during their internships. When they come back, theyre
really different. Theyre young, emerging professionals, she
notes with a smile. Because of the internship, I have to know them
beyond their ability to complete classroom assignments. Its my favorite
part of my job.
Growing up at the Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire,
Aldrich-Noon took full advantage of the wide-ranging recreation program
there and knew early on that she would always stay in the recreation profession.
Skiing, swimming, and anything related to boats became her passions. For
five years, she worked at Stratton Mountain as a ski instructor and developed
a new program there to introduce skiing to people with disabilities.
I loved it, she says.
When Aldrich-Noon came to UNH, the Department of Recreation
Management and Policy was just starting up under the direction of Powell.
After she graduated, Aldrich-Noon continued to work in hospital rehabilitation,
using recreation methodologies to help people with cognitive, mental,
and physical disabilities realize their full potential. While working
in her field, she completed graduate studies at Boston University and
began teaching part-time in higher education.
When Powell called and asked if shed come back to
the department to teach and coordinate the programs internships,
at first, Aldrich-Noon wasnt sure. The change would mean a substantial
salary cut and a move from the Boston area she enjoyed. But, as Powell
talked with her about the rewards of working with students, she began
to think it was time to give back.
I like the balance in my life now, reflects
Aldrich-Noon, and I still look up to Professor Powell.
Denise Hart, Office of Sustainability Programs