Class of 2021 Spotlights: Recreation & Leisure Studies

Published May 26, 2021

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies prepares students to enhance the quality of life experiences. Students from the Class of 2021 volunteered at hospitals and worked in the field during the pandemic, all while grappling with their own personal challenges. 

Di Koob, Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Recreation Therapy, 21'

Di Koob

Di Koob is a future recreation therapist works at the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, serving people with disabilities to maintain or improve functional independence and life quality. She also presented at the 2020 BEACH Symposium on the use of improv as a therapeutic modality in Recreation Therapy, bringing aspects of her former profession into her new profession. She had the opportunity to implement some improv interventions when working with patients at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.

Di Koob: Foundational to the field of Recreation Therapy is the goal of improving quality of life, particularly for disabled and marginalized populations. In forging my path to becoming a Recreation Therapist, I have been able to create openings for fieldwork and internship opportunities for myself in areas of interest, both in practice and geographically. CSULB serves the whole of the greater Los Angeles area as well as Orange County and has great networks with lots of opportunities near the school. I'm up in the San Fernando Valley and wanted fieldwork closer to home (shorter commute = improved quality of life for me!). Having gotten my opportunities, it's really important to me that those doors stay open to the next wave of students needing exposure and experience. I have received help from those who have gone before me, and I want to reach back and give a hand to those who come after me.

Kyle Javer, B.S. Recreation & Leisure Studies: Outdoor Recreation, '21

Kyle Javer

During his time at CSULB, Kyle Javer volunteered at a children's hospital for the past 4 years, worked two seasons as a Knott's Scary Farm Monster, and studied abroad sailing the Caribbean. He also underwent surgery for brain cancer and returned to CSULB to graduate. 

Kyle: In 2015, I was 19 years old and I was in my third semester here at CSULB. During the first few weeks of Fall 2015 I started walking funny, having really bad headaches that were coupled with poor balance and neck pain. After going to multiple doctors I got a CT scan on October 22 and was diagnosed with grade 4 brain cancer. I had to leave CSULB in order to have brain surgery, full brain and spine radiation, and 8 rounds of chemotherapy. After two years of treatment I had to reapply to CSULB and after being re-accepted I was able to get to here, a month away from graduating. Without the help of the amazing Recreation Studies staff, DSS, my friends and family I would not be where I am today. Thank you to all of amazing people who helped me along the way, I couldn't have done it without you.

Kassandra Garcia, B.S. Recreation & Leisure Studies: Recreational Therapy, 21'

Kassandra Garcia

During her time at CSULB, Kassandra Garcia volunteered at Miller Children's Hospital Outpatient Pediatric rehabilitation department for about a year and later did an internship at College Hospital Costa Mesa.

Kassandra: During my last year at CSULB, my grandfather became very ill and unfortunately passed. It was one of the hardest things for me since my grandfather always had that dream of watching his grandchildren graduate college. With that in mind, it made me want to work harder and prove that I could do so much. I kept telling myself that he would always be proud of this amazing accomplishment to help me push through difficult times. Because of him and his supportive words, I will be the first in my family to graduate from a four-year university.