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McLaughlin Postcard

Laurie McLaughlin's Stats


Program Director and Instructor


Shaver's Creek Environmental Center
Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management


McLaughlin Net

B.S. in Recreation and Parks; Environmental Interpretation, Penn State University
M.A. in Experiential Education, The University of Colorado


I am originally from the mid-west, having lived in Illinois and Michigan, and my family is from Iowa. As an adult, I have lived in 5 states, Pennsylvania the longest at 30+ years. So I guess my hometown is the small rural town of Petersburg, PA (Where the mail goes!) but I consider myself a resident of central Pennsylvania.

McLaughlin Snow
Area of Research, Teaching, and Service in RPTM

As an instructor within RPTM and a Program Director at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, I have several roles within the University. With RPTM, I teach team facilitation courses, a first year seminar within the College of HHD, and a maple sugaring course within the College of Ag. I also coordinate the SEED Semester (Students Engaging in Experiential Discovery - previously the Block Semester) at Shaver's Creek, a 12-credit immersive experience for students who want to learn experientially about themselves, the natural world, and how they can positively engage others in the outdoors. All of these classes and experiences have outreach components that support student learning and connecting course content to programs run at Shaver's Creek. As a Program Director at Shaver's Creek, I also direct our Maple Harvest Festival, a community spring festival, and work with our interns and students to support their learning.

McLaughlin Family
How did you find RPTM and your career path?

As a Girl Scout, I participated in a program called Wider Opportunities where I was lucky enough to spend many summers learning how to canoe and eventually teach canoeing and back country skills to other scouts. Inspired by learning and doing in the north woods of Canada, I knew that I wanted to teach others in an outdoor environment. When looking for schools, I found Penn State to have one of the top programs in the country for Outdoor Education and Environmental Education. I was lucky enough to have parents who took me to visit potential colleges of interest. A short visit with then director, Corky Potter, of Shaver's Creek sealed the deal. The promise of taking classes at Shaver's Creek and a club field hockey team were the final reasons to help lure me to central Pennsylvania.

McLaughlin Canoe
What is your favorite college memory?

So many memories. Sporting events--football and soccer games especially; traveling for Club hockey and the life long friends I met through that sport. Sleeping out on the steps of Shields building to switch my dorm room sophomore year (Not sure that's the best, but memorable). Most likely my own Block/SEED experience, as it was very formative in my learning. The instructors helped us to learn in new ways and motivated us to create our own powerful and magical experiences for others. Sleeping in a cave was pretty cool, too!

What do you like to do in your leisure time?

Bake pies, enjoy birds, canoe and bike with my family, cheer for the Chicago Cubs, travel to cool places--especially those spots where my boys now live--to visit and enjoy time with them.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

From my Grandpa Ted... "Never let your studies interfere with your education."