The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) at Illinois State University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This series, CAST 50×50, is designed to highlight 50 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and organizations within CAST that make the college special. These notable people will tell you that every day in CAST is a great day to be a Redbird!

Today #CAST50 returns to the School of Kinesiology and Recreation where we find Associate Professor Mike Mulvaney.

What is your position within CAST?

I have the pleasure of serving as an associate professor within the School of Kinesiology and Recreation (KNR).

Can you tell us what led you to where you are today? Your career path?

It really started during my undergraduate experiences. Conversations with some great mentors really introduced me to the possibility of a career in higher education. The opportunity to work with students, engage in applied research projects, and provide outreach and service to the profession appealed to me as I thought about my career and future endeavors. It was at that point that I attempted to map out a multi-year plan that included acquiring professional experience in the parks and recreation field followed by graduate school and employment in higher education. I knew that I wanted to find an institution that would allow me to work with students (both undergraduate and graduate) as well as support my research of management issues within public parks and recreation.

Most exciting aspect about teaching in KNR?

The students and colleagues!

Dream vacation and why?

I am not sure if it is a dream vacation or not, but I have often thought it would be cool to visit each of the Major League Baseball parks in one season. To not only enjoy a game at each ballpark, but also to explore and learn about each city. A close second would probably involve visiting each of the 58 national parks in the U.S.

What do you enjoy most about your job? Favorite part of your job?

It may sound a bit cliché to reference the University’s motto (“Gladly we learn and teach”), but I really do enjoy being a lifelong learner and teaching/working with others. Higher education provides these opportunities. During my time as an undergraduate student, a mentor of mine shared something that really connected with me. In particular, my mentor said, “As an undergraduate student, think about it—where else OR when else in your life will you be surrounded by this many resources that, at their core, are all driven to help you grow and develop academically, personally, and socially?” To have a job that allows you to be a part of this exciting and powerful experience for students is amazing!

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