Katie Kubis (’21), Big Energy for the Big Apple
When talking with Katherine “Katie” Kubis, 2021 Penn State graduate, the term “energy” comes to mind. A graduate of the Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management program, Katie is now sharing her energy with the New York City Parks department, just as she shared it with the University Park community.
Katie is the first in her family to attend Penn State. Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Katie said it was school spirit that helped her make the decision to apply. “I was on a tour of the campus with my family and we were walking around. I heard the ‘We Are’ chant and it made me feel so welcomed. The atmosphere felt inclusive.”
With a goal to build a resume and launch a career as an event planner, Katie heard about RPTM at New Student Orientation (NSO). “The RPTM representative at orientation explained how event planning is a big part of RPTM.”
As a student, Katie got involved. She was a member of Phi Gamma Nu, a business fraternity. She joined Penn State’s Lyrical Line Dance Company. With a personal focus on giving back to the community, Katie launched the Penn State chapter of the non-profit Soles4Souls which provides shoes and other clothing items for people in need. She participated in THON. She participated in the Carnival Cruise practicum (RPTM 345). In addition to her degree in RPTM, Katie earned a B.S. in Spanish, a minor in Global and International Studies, as well as RPTM’s Meeting and Event Management Certificate. Katie was a member of the Schreyer’s Honor College and a Paterno Fellow.
While dedicating her time to superior academics and a robust extra-curricular schedule, Katie built her resume. She spent a summer as a counselor at Camp Tockwogh in Worton, Maryland. She was an event planning intern with the City of Suwanee, Georgia (outside of Atlanta). She interned with the City of Lancaster in their marketing department with a focus on events to encourage visitors to Lancaster. Her 12-credit internship to meet the RPTM degree requirements was with the Riverside Park Conservancy focusing on community-based free programming and events.
Energy. Defined by one online dictionary as, “the strength and vitality required for sustained physical and/or mental activity.”
After graduation, Katie accepted a position with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Special Projects and Events which included planning and delivery of special events, culturally-focused programs, conferences, and all of the private events held at Gracie Mansion for Mayor Eric Adams. “We put on over 40 events in one year. The city is so diverse and the events we planned were often directed toward our diverse community.”
The energy and diversity of the Big Apple suits Katie. “I love the excitement and diversity of the city. Just learning public transportation was something. I commute on the subway every day. New York City is like a giant menu with just page after page of things to do. I have a long bucket list of all of things I want to try.”
Earlier this year, Katie accepted a position as Public Programs Special Projects Coordinator at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. “New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is a huge entity with many divisions. Public Programs is one division that has four units: Aquatics, Media Eduation, Recreation, and Education & Wildlife. Community-based events and programs is a perfect fit for me… I eventually see myself as in manager or chief role within a parks system or as a city manager,” said Katie. “The non-profit world is really where I want to be.”
When asked if her degree at Penn State prepared her for her career, Katie was emphatic. “Absolutely. I think back to the courses and what I learned and how I apply it on the job. Recently, there has been some conversations about a need to expand our adaptive and inclusive recreation programs and I shared that I learned about that – I had a class in that at Penn State. I hope to be involved in helping figure out the path to include more people in our programs.”
Katie Kubis has the energy to make that happen.