Clemson PRTM Recognizes Alumni and Clemson Staff Member for Outstanding Contributions to the Parks and Recreation Field

May 5, 2020

The Clemson University Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management department recently recognized two of its former students for their impressive contributions to the parks and recreational field throughout their careers to date. A Clemson University staff member was also recognized for her contributions to the department.

Kyle M. Woosnam, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management within the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia, was recognized for his achievements in academia. Melinda Chappell, Director of the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic & Fitness Center, was recognized as an outstanding practitioner. Casey Kornegay won the department’s Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes a member of the Clemson community who has made outstanding contributions to the PRTM Department.

Interim Department Chair Jeffrey Hallo says that all three winners have focused their careers on building opportunities for other people.

“Kyle’s research track record is extensive and impressive, but he is also widely regarded as an excellent personal and professional mentor to his students,” Hallo said. “Melinda has also focused her career on serving others, with a particular focus on creating sports and recreation opportunities for persons with disabilities. Casey’s work has made a significant impact on our department and our students.”

About Kyle Woosnam

Kyle Woosnam, Ph.D., recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Academic Alumnus Award.

Kyle Woosnam, Ph.D., recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Academic Alumnus Award.

Woosnam completed his Ph.D. in 2008 and focuses his research on sustainable tourism planning and management within rural communities, both with the U.S. and abroad. He has conducted research in 27 countries, secured more than $1.25 million in grants and contracts to support his research, published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered more than 130 conference presentations throughout the globe. He has also received eight teaching awards and two research awards throughout his 11 years serving as a professor, and has graduated 28 Masters students (17 chaired committees) and 16 Ph.D. students (four chaired committees).

He serves as Senior Research Fellow within the University of Surrey’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management and the University of Johannesburg’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, where he teaches courses in community tourism, cultural heritage tourism, social impacts of tourism, research methods, and protected areas management. He sits on seven editorial boards, including the Journal of Travel Research, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, and Sustainability.

About Melinda Chappell

Melinda Chappell, recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Practitioner Alumnae Award.

Melinda Chappell, recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Practitioner Alumnae Award.

Chappell holds a BS degree in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Clemson University, and a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of South Carolina. A certified recreation therapist, Melinda has spent most of her career serving persons with disabilities. She co-founded Limitless Sports, Columbia S.C. and Coastal Adaptive Sports, and is a long-time member of the Southeastern Regional Wheelchair Sports Association, as well as the meet director for their annual event, the Southeastern Regional Wheelchair Games (SEWSA). She helped bring these games to Clemson University.

Originally from Irmo, South Carolina, Chappell moved to North Myrtle Beach in 2001 to work for the city, and is currently the Director of the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic & Fitness Center, a 64,000 square foot, membership-based facility that she helped build. She also teaches a course about recreation for persons with disabilities as an Adjunct Professor at Coastal Carolina University.

About Casey Kornegay

Casey Kornegay, recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Service Award.

Casey Kornegay, recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Service Award.

As the Senior Academic Compliance Manager in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Casey Kornegay leads and maintains Clemson’s authorization for out-of-state educational activities and learning placements, compliance with university policy and processes, and with federal, state, NC-SARA, and SACSCOC accreditation requirements. In this role, Casey enjoys working with a variety of academic programs across campus to ensure they are meeting compliance requirements and assist them with processes to enhance their efficiencies.

Casey holds an Instructional Design and Technology from Western Illinois University. Before her career in higher education, she worked for corporations in a variety of roles from project management, event planning, training management, acquisition team lead, instructional designer, technical writer and marketing management.


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.