The Therapeutic Recreation Grant Staff is composed of graduate students from the University of Tennessee who have very witty senses of humor but take their jobs very seriously.
Kelsey is a native to Tennessee, growing up in Murfreesboro, For the past four years she has called Knoxville home while earning her undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation, which she received in August 2018. She is excited to continue her education at UT and obtain her master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Kelsey fell in love with Therapeutic Recreation and developed a passion for working with individuals with disabilities through Camp Koinonia, and she hopes to have a career continuing to work with developmental disabilities. You can find Kelsey jamming to the early 2000’s pop hits or binge watching One Tree Hill. Kelsey loves punny jokes, eating ridiculous amounts of wings, and enjoying anything outdoors.
Natalie made her way to Knoxville from Nashville, Tennessee as she began her undergraduate studies at the University of Tennessee. She graduated in the spring of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. After graduation, she spent a year traveling and working in Australia and New Zealand where she was able to explore the outdoors, make life-long friends, and cuddle koalas. Now, she is back at UT pursuing a master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Natalie fell in love with the TR world after being a counselor and activity staff member at Camp Koinonia during undergrad. She has also worked at a Nashville YMCA summer camp for people with and without disabilities for six summers. She enjoys working with individuals who have disabilities and hopes to make a career working with the TBI (traumatic brain injury) and SCI (spinal cord injury) population. Natalie enjoys everything outdoors (hiking, camping, playing with her pup), binging her favorite TV shows (the Bachelor, Gossip Girl- XOXO), baking yummy treats, and celebrating birthdays! At the top of her bucket list is traveling to Thailand to visit an elephant sanctuary (she love elephants!).
Kelsey grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee but has been calling Knoxville her home since she arrived in 2014. She graduated from UT’s undergraduate Therapeutic Recreation program in 2018, after getting hooked on it at Koinonia Retreat. She loves working with individuals with disabilities and hopes to combine this passion with her love for playing sports and being outdoors as a career. When not studying or sleeping (which she doesn’t do enough), you can find Kelsey enjoying several cups of coffee, ignoring her *suggested* gluten-free diet, loading up on cheese dip at Oscar’s Taco Shop, or heading to the mountains!
Darrien is from a small town named Monticello, Arkansas. He graduated from Langston University with a bachelor’s degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation in 2017. His goal is to get his doctorate and become a researcher in the field of Kinesiology and become a professor. In 2016, he worked at a camp for children with special needs called Camp Ramapo in Rhinebeck, NY. This is where his passion came for research and working with children with special needs. In his spare time, Darrien likes to play his PS4 and watch movies. His interests include comic books (big Batman fan), football, basketball (Lake Show), and music.