Clemson PRTM Recognizes Exceptional Students with Awards in Their Area of Study

April 30, 2020

Several Clemson University Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management undergraduate  students have been recognized with department awards for academic and other achievements in their chosen concentration.

Interim Department Chair Jeffrey Hallo says that he’s impressed with the caliber of this year’s student award winners.

“To be considered for an award, students need to demonstrate academic achievement, leadership and engagement in both the department and the field,” Hallo says. “These students demonstrated that and more. I’m proud of their accomplishments and look forward to seeing where their careers take them in the future.”

The department’s 2020 award recipients by area of study include:

Award for Excellence in Community Recreation, Sport and Camp Management – Ryan King

This award is presented to an outstanding senior in Community Recreation, Sport and Camp Management on the basis of academic achievement, leadership and professional involvement in a CRSCM related field.

Ryan King is a Senior Undergraduate student from Greenville, South Carolina who is expecting to graduate in August of 2020. After graduation, he plans to work in public parks and recreation with a focus in outdoor recreation. He wants to work a few years to get an understanding of the field and see what he may want to study in graduate school. In his free time, he enjoys hiking with his chocolate Lab (Colt) and mountain biking. One interesting thing about Ryan is that he took a 14-day road trip out west and visited a variety of national parks, including Arches, Death Valley and Yosemite.

Ryan also received a certificate of recognition for academic excellence and was recognized as an Honors Graduate.

Award for Excellence in PGA Golf Management – Wright Garrett

This award is presented to an outstanding senior in PGA Golf Management on the basis of academic achievement, leadership and professional involvement in golf management.

Wright Garrett-Award for Excellence in Professional Golf ManagementWright Garrett is a Junior from Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He is honored to receive the Award for Excellence in Professional Golf Management because he is very passionate about the sport of golf and what it has taught him and what it has done for so many others. As an aspiring PGA professional, Wright hopes to continue to inspire others through the game that has helped shape him into the person he is today.


Award for Excellence in Recreational Therapy – Rachel Knauer

This award is presented to a student who displays high academic standards while achieving excellence in Recreational Therapy through service to special populations and achievement in professional activities.

Clemson PRTM senior Rachel Knauer.Rachel Knauer is a junior from Sumter, South Carolina. She found out about Recreational Therapy from a friend, fell in love with the mission and ended up transferring to Clemson University in order to get involved in the Department of PRTM. Because of her experience in EDGE, Rachel became an EDGE Mentor, which enriched her education through leadership training and professional development.

Working alongside Julianne Keehan as a Lead EDGE Mentor this spring, Rachel has used her skills to further facilitate a culture of encouragement, support and confidence for students in PRTM. Moving forward, Rachel dreams of bringing the impact of Recreational Therapy to the geriatric population as an advocate and helper to any older adult within her reach. She is excited and passionate about the field of Recreational Therapy as a whole and cannot wait to pursue an internship and future career in geriatric RT.

Rachel was also recognized for academic achievement at the senior level.

Award for Excellence in Travel and Tourism – Aysia Cooper

This award recognizes an outstanding student in Travel and Tourism based on academic achievement and demonstrated interest and dedication to the Travel and Tourism field.

Clemson PRTM senior Aysia Cooper.Aysia is a senior PRTM major with an emphasis in Travel and Tourism from Greer, South Carolina. Aysia’s active spirit and mind has manifested itself into a love for running, traveling and hiking. This Summer she will serve as the City of Greenville Special Events intern, and upon completion will graduate in August. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career in community development.

Aysia was also recognized for Academic Achievement at the Senior Level.

Park and Conservation Area Management Founders and Leaders’ Award – Ryan Piller and Bryson Smith

This award is presented to a junior or senior in Park and Conservation Area Management who exemplifies the values, work, leadership and spirit of the founders and leaders of our public lands.

Ryan Piller is from Greenville, South Carolina. She is a PRTM major with a concentration in Parks and Conservation Area Management and a minor in History. She’s currently a junior, but is a senior in academic standing. She is a founding member and current secretary for the club, Young Women for America at Clemson, a place for women to discuss politics and religion freely.

Ryan enjoys being outside, playing piano, guitar and ukulele, singing, dancing, writing, reading, being with friends and working with kids. She hopes to work at an historical site, monument or battlefield where she can combine her love for parks and history.

Ryan was also recognized for Academic Achievement at the Senior Level.

Bryson Smith-Park and Conservation Area Management Founders and LeadersBryson Smith grew up playing on his grandfather’s land in Pauline, South Carolina. There he found his passion for the outdoors, spending every free moment out in the woods or on the pond. A love of nature led him to Clemson University and a major in PRTM with a concentration in Parks and Conservation Area Management. He plans on making a career out of preserving the outdoors so that others can enjoy it like he has.




The parks, recreation and tourism management department at Clemson University is one of the largest and most well-recognized programs of its type in the nation. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in  community recreation, sport and camp management, park and conservation area management, PGA golf management, public administration, recreational therapy, travel and tourism, and youth development leadership.