T 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 Policy—with the encouragement of her former adviser and mentor Lou Powell—to 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. “It’s our responsibility to advocate in your best interests,” she tells her students.

“She’s very open and easy to talk to, wants to know what we think about things,” notes senior Kate Bunn. “I like her—she’s really there for us.”

Junior Jamie Nancarrow observes, “She’s really in with the students and knows everyone. She’s awesome. She gets to know us and we get to know each other. I feel very prepared for my internship.”

For Aldrich-Noon, it’s exciting to see how the students change during their internships. “When they come back, they’re really different. They’re young, emerging professionals,” she notes with a smile. “Because of the internship, I have to know them beyond their ability to complete classroom assignments. It’s 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 she’d come back to the department to teach and coordinate the program’s internships, at first, Aldrich-Noon wasn’t 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

 

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School of Health and Human Services, Linda Aldrich-Noon

Linda Aldrich-Noon with student Jana Kersey at New Heights, Portsmouth

Linda Aldrich-Noon, assistant professor of recreation management and policy, School of Health and Human Services, with student Jana Kersey, New Heights, Portsmouth, N.H.

 

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