Tori Belkin '13 wouldn't trade the 14 summers she spent as a camper and then counselor at YMCA Camp Huckins.
"Getting to see girls just be girls together and not have to worry about pressure from the outside world ... it's the whole camp culture — I just love it," says Belkin.
So when she transferred to UNH for her sophomore year and was still figuring out what she wanted to do for a career, the recreation management and policy major caught her eye.
And shortly after graduating with her bachelor's degree in 2013, the North Conway, N.H., native found a way to combine her academic knowledge and skills and her love of the leisure/recreational world to land the all-important first paying job out of college.
Belkin is the social operations and growth manager for ZOG Sports, based in New York City. The business provides young urban professionals the opportunity to sign up for intramural sports — either as a way to meet other young professionals, as a social event with their friends or just to stay active.
She says it was her UNH experience that helped her land the gig.
"About 300 people applied for this position; they told me my degree really stuck out from the others," Belkin says. "Most people had a sports management degree but because mine was in recreation management and policy, it was the exact right fit for the job."
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Professors helped her find her path in the RMP major, providing tough love and guidance when it was needed, Belkin says — especially advisor Boyd Hegarty.
"He made me think about the decision I was making. He treated me like an adult; it was the first time I ever felt like a professor was pushing me to be a better person," Belkin recalls. "I had such a great experience at UNH that I would not trade for anything."
It's because of her great experience in classes and with friends at UNH that Belkin gives back to the university — "I want other students to have the same if not better experience than I had," she says.
She was first inspired to give back when she realized that tuition pays for only a part of a student's UNH education. "That is something that really stuck with me: Tuition isn't enough; this university runs because people give back. If you graduated, it's a pay-it-forward type thing. Someone donated for your education, now you have a degree, you're doing great things, so it's your time to give back," says Belkin.
"That's how UNH stays great and gets greater."