Therapeutic recreation student Alex Dolgner was named the Illinois Recreation Therapy Association (ILRTA) student representative. ILRTA is a membership-based state organization that represents recreational therapists throughout the state of Illinois.

As a student representative, Dolgner will be a voice for entire population of Illinois therapeutic recreation (TR) students, providing input on a variety of issues like conference topics, student engagement, and outreach activities.

He will share responsibilities as a co-representative, working alongside another student from Aurora College. Dolgner will also work closely with Illinois State TR faculty member Rachel Smith and Aurora College TR faculty member Kris Johnson.

“I’m looking forward to working with both of the faculty members, especially since they know so much about working in the field and teaching students. I look forward to hearing all of their valuable input, but also know my voice representing the student population will be heard,” said Dolgner.

Although he didn’t originally major in TR at the start of his college career, Dolgner became interested in the program at Illinois State while working as a program aide at a special recreation association. He worked there for nearly two years, working with participants, coaching Special Olympic sports, and aiding lead staff on various social programs.

“I was eventually promoted to a lead position, which was exciting. It was also one of the things that pushed me to pursue TR. Most of my supervisors had majored in TR and encouraged me, and I really enjoyed working with people…it seemed like a good fit,” he said. 

Dolgner’s favorite part about studying and working in TR is the focus on interacting with different groups of individuals and instilling some energy and enthusiasm into their lives through various activities and programs. 

The focus on people is also what he is excited about the most when it comes to serving as the student representative.

“I love talking to people and building connections, which is what this role is all about. When I think about how big Illinois is and all the SRA’s, clinical agencies, and schools that exist, I’m excited to consider all the new connections I’ll be able to make. This opportunity opens a lot of doors for my future, building my connections and using them to benefit not only myself but TR students throughout the state.”

Want to learn more about therapeutic recreation at Illinois State? Visit the School of Kinesiology and Recreation’s website for more information?