UNC MPA Research Team: Parks & Recreation

Posted on February 1, 2019


Each spring, ELGL submits project ideas to the first-year students in Leisha Dehart-Davis’ class in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s MPA Program, and we wait with our fingers crossed to see if the students will select our program ideas and join the ranks of prior year project teams that studied HR trends, kickstarted the Diversity Dashboard project, and researched paid family leave.

This year, we’re hosting two project teams – one focused on topics and trends in parks and recreation, and one focused on updating the Diversity Dashboard with North Carolina data for 2019. We’ll periodically showcase these teams and their research this semester.

Research Project: 

Topics & Trends in Parks & Recreation

Project Overview:

A most beloved local government service is parks and recreation. And like most local government services, the world of parks and recreation is changing to reflect community interests, technology, data driven decision making, and politics. This project will look at the topics and trends in parks and recreation departments in North Carolina.

The final project should explore these topics and trends, identifying pressing and important issues that relate to provision of parks and recreation services in other local governments. Note: this topic to coincide with ELGL’s February/March bracket challenge nationwide of best parks and recreation facilities – #ELGLKnope.


Project Team:

HalleeHallee Haygood

LinkedIn | Twitter

  • What’s your MPA/degree focus? I am currently a dual degree student working to obtain a Master’s in Public Administration and a Master’s in City & Regional Planning. My focus in the MPA is Local Government, and for the MCRP my focus is community development.
  • Why did you go to graduate school at UNC? When I was applying for graduate school I knew that I needed to look for a program that had a dual degree option with Public Administration and City Planning. After looking at each dual degree program UNC consistently stood out to me as an ideal option. Once I toured the campus and meeting with each program I knew that it would be the best location for me to gain the knowledge I need for a career in local government.
  • Why did you select this for your HR project? I have been interested in ELGL for the last two years since I started listening to GovLove. Additionally, as someone who loves local government services, Parks & Recreation holds a special place in my heart. Thus, when I saw that we could study Topics and Trends in Parks & Recreation with ELGL, it seemed like the perfect fit.
  • What’s your favorite park? My favorite park is in Iowa City, IA. It is a recreation area a bit off of the University of Iowa’s campus with a beautiful lake and great trails for a run or hike. It was the perfect place to take a break during long study days during my undergraduate career.
  • When you were a kid, what was your favorite park toy/amenity? I always loved the swings when I was younger.They were my go-to once I got to any park.

CatesbyCatesby Denison

LinkedIn | Twitter

  • What’s your MPA/degree focus? Community and Economic Development
  • Why did you go to graduate school at UNC? I had been a client of the School of Government for several years while working as a rural County Planner. 
  • Why did you select this for your HR project? My bachelor’s degree is in PRTM from NC State. So I have a natural interest in all things parks. My first job after graduating from NCSU was working for the City of Danville Parks & Recreation Department. I also assisted Caswell County with the development of it Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
  • What’s your favorite park? Around the Triangle… Occoneechee or Carolina North
  • When you were a kid, what was your favorite park toy/amenity? Probably the roundabout/merry-go-round

SydneySydney Lawrence

Twitter

  • What’s your MPA/degree focus? BA in Environmental Studies & Minor in Public Policy from UNC-Chapel Hill. Pursuing career in environmental policy.
  • Why did you go to graduate school at UNC? Dual-Degree program with the Environment & Ecology undergraduate program at UNC.
  • Why did you select this for your HR project? I am very interested in nature and environmental topics so I thought I would enjoy participating in this project.
  • What’s your favorite park? Wellington Dog Park in Wellington, Florida
  • When you were a kid, what was your favorite park toy/amenity?  Hugh Macrae Park in Wilmington, NC. I am originally from Wilmington, NC and when I was a child I used to compete in horse shows at the riding ring at Hugh Macrae Park.

MaddisonMaddison Powers

LinkedIn

  • What’s your MPA/degree focus? My MPA focus is in local government.
  • Why did you go to graduate school at UNC? I chose to go to graduate school at UNC because of the local government connections the SOG has to municipalities around the state.
  • Why did you select this for your HR project? I chose this as a research project because I want to see how different parks can be used and the value they can contribute to a community.
  • What’s your favorite park? My favorite park is Papago in the City of Phoenix.
  • When you were a kid, what was your favorite park toy/amenity? As a kid, my favorite park activity was the rope jungle gym.
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