Academy of Leisure Sciences (ALS) Future Scholars Program

The purpose of the Future Scholars Program is to provide master’s degree students who are interested (in the next few years) in pursuing a doctorate in an area related to recreation and leisure studies the opportunity to meet some of the outstanding researchers and scholars in the field. Selected applicants will be invited to attend the NRPA Annual Congress as guests of the ALS and the NRPA Education Network. The Future Scholars will receive $1,000 to cover transportation, lodging, and meal expenses. Future Scholars are expected to register for the NRPA conference at the student rate.

Future Scholars Program

Thank you for your interest in the Academy of Leisure Sciences (ALS) Future Scholars Program sponsored by the ALS with support from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Education Network. This packet includes information that you will need to complete your application.

This year’s conference will be held from October 14 to 16, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the conference, Future Scholars will be paired with a mentor and have an opportunity to interact with scholars in the field. In addition, Future Scholars will attend meetings hosted by the Academy of Leisure Sciences, the Leisure Research Symposium, and the NRPA Education Network; go to NRPA educational sessions; and participate in social functions. This will be an excellent opportunity for Future Scholars to ask questions about the field and inquire about doctoral program opportunities.

Applications should be submitted to Dr. Deb Kerstetter ( as an email attachment (.docx or .pdf formatted) by midnight April 18, 2014.

Best wishes and thank you for your interest in the Future Scholars program!

The 2014 ALS Future Scholars Program Committee Members


The purpose of the ALS Future Scholars Program is to provide graduate students who are interested in pursuing a doctorate in an area related to recreation and leisure studies the opportunity to meet some of the outstanding scholars in the field by attending the NRPA National Congress.


Individuals who meet all of the following criteria are eligible to apply:

             currently enrolled in, or have completed a master’s degree in the leisure field;

             have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) during both undergraduate and graduate studies;

             Is not committed to, nor enrolled in, doctoral study at a particular university at the time of application and conference attendance;

             has plans to initiate doctoral studies within the next three years;

             is interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in recreation and parks, leisure studies, tourism, or related discipline;

             has the written support of a faculty sponsor; and

             can attend the 2014 NRPA National Congress.


Members of the 2014 ALS Future Scholars Program Committee will review all applicants using the following criteria:

             academic ability (based on GPA and Faculty Sponsor letter);

             indications of scholarly potential in the field (based on publications, presentations, research experience, applicant’s cover letter, and/or Faculty Sponsor letter);

             strength of intention to pursue doctoral studies in a leisure-related subject (based on applicant’s cover letter and Faculty Sponsor letter); and

             general level of professionalism (based on format and depth of application materials, presentation of written materials, and professional involvement).

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American Academy for Parks & Recreation Administration (AAPRA) Best Paper Award


One (1) student will receive a Best Student Paper Award of $500 plus expenses of up to $250 for the author to travel to the Academy’s Annual Meeting to receive the award and present the paper; the paper will be published in Parks & Recreation Magazine.

Certificate of Merit awards will be given to the two (2) next best student papers submitted


A student paper refers to either a master’s thesis or a major professional paper written in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master’s degree; or to a senior undergraduate thesis written in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a baccalaureate degree or similar qualification.

The paper must have been completed in the previous two (2) calendar years.

The paper should make a contribution to scholarly literature and have clear implications for the improved practice of park and recreation administration.

Papers written by students who were pursuing a doctoral degree at the time the paper was written are not eligible.

The writer of the winning paper must personally attend the Academy’s annual meeting during the National Recreation and Park Association’s Annual Congress and present a five (5) minute synopsis of his or her paper.


An electronic copy of an executive summary of the paper, not exceeding 1000 words should be submitted to the Chair of the Academy’s Best Paper Award Committee. Summaries exceeding this word limit will not be considered. This is due April 15, 2013.


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Call for Contributing Columnists & Student Research Article Submissions

Call for Contributing Columnists & Student Research Article Submissions

The Young Professional is a quarterly publication aimed at providing information specifically for young professionals and students in the parks, recreation, and leisure field. Articles may be testimonials, interviews, opinion, research, best practices highlights or simply informational in nature. The Young Professional will be distributed digitally to all young professionals and students in NRPA’s Young Professional Network, through NRPA Connect, as well as through other social media platforms.

The Young Professional Network seeks students (undergraduate and graduate) to contribute professional columns and research briefs for publication in The Young Professional. Columns may be diverse in style and content, but must be beneficial for young professionals and students in the parks and recreation field. Research briefs are usually slightly longer than columns and are overviews of the research. Research briefs must be beneficial for young professionals and students in the parks and recreation field.

Potential contributors are encouraged to send inquiries to Michael J. Bradley (michael.bradley).

Michael J. Bradley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Department of Recreation & Park Administration
College of Health Sciences
Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Avenue, Begley 403
Richmond, Kentucky 40475
T: 859.622.1834
E: michael.bradley

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