Grace Fleming

Grace Fleming
Major/Job Title:
Recreation, Tourism & Nonprofit Leadership, BA
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Class Year:
Spring 2024

Grace Fleming

Why did you choose this degree -- and to pursue this degree at UNI?

I was drawn to this degree for its versatility and uniqueness. I knew that I could find a lot of positions that aligned with my values through this degree program and help make a real difference in the community.

What path did you take to achieve your degree?

When I chose UNI, I didn’t start out in this degree program, but a friend of mine encouraged me to pursue it after I decided I needed a change from my original program. I’m really thankful that she introduced me to RTNL and helped me find my career path at UNI! During my transition, I joined the Exploratory Program to make sure RTNL was the degree I wanted to pursue and a semester later, declared it!

Describe your internship experience and how it has prepared you for your career. 

I had an internship through the University of Toledo’s Rocket Kids program. Through this, I traveled abroad to the Netherlands to work as a child and youth services professional on a U.S. Army base. During this experience, I had opportunities to program activities, evaluate child progress and travel around Europe on the weekends. It was a wonderful opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone and apply youth work principles that I had learned in the classroom.

If you were part of the class whose high school graduation was impacted by the COVID-19 disruption, what are your thoughts? 

I am so excited to finally be able to walk across a stage with my classmates to celebrate our achievements over the past four years!  Not being able to do that for high school just makes this accomplishment that much more special.

What does completing your degree mean to you?

I am the first in my immediate family to complete a four-year degree. Going into college, that was a goal of mine and I am unbelievably proud of myself to have made it to this point. Looking back at the four years I’ve spent at UNI, I am so thankful for every experience that I’ve had.

What challenges did you face as you worked toward this degree – and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I faced while at UNI was changing majors in the middle of my sophomore year. It really made me question if I was cut out to do this and made me worried that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Learning how to let go and go with the flow has been such a challenge, but I’m so thankful for the support that I received during that transition.

How did UNI help you achieve your goals?

UNI consistently offered me opportunities for growth whether that was through community-based projects in classes, student employment on campus or student organizations, I was always challenged in the best ways to become the most prepared for my professional career. The staff was so supportive in all of my dreams and helped me make them come true.

We often say UNI is student focused; a place where professors care--and teach; a place where learning happens in and out of the classroom;  and is perfectly sized. How do any of these statements ring true for you?

I chose to go to UNI from the right-size fit that I felt during my tour of campus. The fact that I saw people I knew while I was there walking around was comforting to me and made me believe that I would be able to make genuine connections with both students and staff. This all rang true throughout my time at UNI. All of the professors in my major have been able to get to know me as a student over the past three years and have a genuine interest in my success.  I can’t go anywhere on campus without knowing someone, which makes the campus feel like home. It has been the perfect place to spend these last four years.

What’s your best memory of your time at UNI?

My favorite memory during my time at UNI has been being a part of Fraternity and Sorority Life. The community has supported me to become the best version of myself and I have met my best friends through my time in FSL.

What advice would you give to students considering UNI?

My best piece of advice is to get involved on campus. College is no fun if all you do is go to class. UNI has so many amazing student organizations that make this campus a better place. There’s always an event to go to and you can meet really amazing people!

Next steps? 

I am currently looking for a position within the tourism sector. I would love to work in an events capacity for a destination marketing organization (DMO).