Aleah Gramling, Military Kid to MWR Internship
For Penn State Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management student, Aleah Gramling, it could be said that travel is in her blood.
Aleah grew up in the military and moved every three years. Her connection to Penn State came through her mother’s family, who lives just a few miles from the University Park campus. “Since we moved so much, my mom’s family was in PA so that was always kind of a home base. Both of my parents went to Penn State, and Penn State had so many different options, I decided to apply.”
In what some might call a full circle decision, Aleah is completing her internship this summer with the Army’s Morale Welfare and Recreation division at Fort Irwin, California. Fort Irwin is located mid-way between Las Vegas and Los Angeles in the High Mojave Desert.
“My internship has been great so far. In the 12-week internship, I will have the opportunity to spend time in different departments. So far, I’ve been in intramural sports, fitness, and aquatics. Eventually, I will get to spend time in special events and outdoor recreation.”
According to www.militaryonesource.mil, Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) provides quality of life programming for the military community. On each Army base or “post,” active-duty members and their families; members of the National Guard and their families; retired service members; honorably-discharged veterans with 100% service-connected disability; and Medal of Honor recipients are eligible to use MWR services. Programs include youth programming; classes in auto repair, woodworking, etc.; special programs for single service members ages 18-25 including trips, concerts, and tours; and many more options. Facilities on post can include pools, fitness centers, bowling lanes, and golf courses. Special events offer community-wide opportunities such as 5Ks, welcome receptions, etc. MWR also offers destination resorts and lodging for eligible users.
Outdoor recreation activities are a big part of MWR offerings. Equipment for outdoor pursuits is available for rent for activities like skiing and camping. MWR offers camping sites as well as tents, RVs, and other equipment for rent. Most of the employees in MWR are civilians or retired active-duty service members.
“I initially thought about applying to Fort Carson’s outdoor recreation internship,” said Aleah. “Last summer I went out to visit my parents at Ft. Irwin where my father is stationed as the Garrison Chaplain. I had the opportunity to meet with the Matt Livingston, the Community Recreation Division Chief. They had never had an intern. We had several conversations since then and were able to work it out. I am excited to have this opportunity.”
“When I met with an advisor in my first year, I was interested in travel and tourism as a career path. I took RPTM 120 as a Gen Ed, and because it met the US Cultures designation for graduation. I found that it was what I like. Working with MWR opens so many doors; there are so many options.”
While at Penn State, Aleah has been an active member of ACF (Alliance Christian Fellowship) which meets weekly for services, Bible studies, and get-togethers on campus.
After graduation in August, Aleah is looking at options. A career with MWR offers the opportunity to travel and to work in a variety of recreation settings. Aleah hopes to apply for the post-graduate internship with the Army’s Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany as a next step.
Growing up in the military means travel and new locations. A career with Morale Welfare and Recreation can also mean travel and new opportunities. For Aleah Gramling, soon-to-be RPTM Penn State graduate, it is coming around full circle.