We caught up with Reilly Fox ’20 to find out about her post-Longwood plans. She’ll be working with patients with brain injuries and spinal cord injuries as a certified therapeutic recreation specialist at the new Sheltering Arms Institute in Richmond.

Reilly Fox ’20
Hometown: Chesterfield, Virginia
Major: Therapeutic recreation; minors in outdoor education and psychology

Now that you have graduated from Longwood, what’s your next step?

I will be a certified therapeutic recreation specialist at the new Sheltering Arms Institute in Richmond. I will be working with people with brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. I hope to help these individuals increase their functional abilities through recreational activities and increase their awareness that what they do in their leisure time will improve their overall outcomes.

Longwood is the perfect size school where you can become involved and have an impact on campus. I was able to form meaningful relationships with my peers and professors due to the small class sizes.

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How did you decide to pursue this career?

I always knew I wanted to work with people with disabilities because of my experience tutoring and mentoring students in special education classes in middle school and high school. I first learned about Longwood’s therapeutic recreation program while touring the university as a high-school senior. I decided then that’s what I wanted to do. Additional tours and open houses at Longwood confirmed therapeutic recreation was the right path for me. 

Tell us about one professor and one class that helped you grow while at Longwood.

Dr. Rena Koesler retired after my sophomore year and moved to Colorado, but luckily, we have been able to keep in touch. Dr. Koesler was invested in her students’ lives and genuinely cared about each and every one of us. She pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me many valuable lessons about outdoor education and about life.

I will always remember making a memory box for a patient at Centra PACE in Farmville as one of the most fun and rewarding assignments I completed in college. It was for my Leisure and Aging class taught by Dr. Ann Bailey, who went above and beyond to arrange hands-on experiences for us. I was able to interview and learn all about a patient and then present them with a memory box containing items representing their life.

I will miss all of the traditions like Color Wars, Lip Sync, Late Night Breakfast, Oozeball, the CHI burning, and everything in between. These traditions are what make Longwood extra special and help to foster the sense of community that Longwood offers.

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How did Longwood help to prepare you for your new job?

Through Longwood’s therapeutic recreation program I was immersed in hands-on experiences—beginning in my first few weeks of classes freshman year. These experiences included field work hours and internships that exposed me to various different people and work settings. My first internship was at Westminster Canterbury, where I gained valuable experience working with older adults with dementia. More recently, I interned at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, where I worked with veterans with brain injuries. Through these experiences, I learned that I am most passionate about working in physical rehabilitation. 

Aside from preparing me to begin my professional career, I also learned about leadership and working with other people while at Longwood. I was able to join various organizations and learn so much about myself. Longwood is the perfect size school where you can become involved and have an impact on campus. I was able to form meaningful relationships with my peers and professors due to the small class sizes. I am so thankful for Longwood and all of the opportunities I worked for and was given during my time here.

What will you miss the most about Longwood?

I will miss all of the traditions like Color Wars, Lip Sync, Late Night Breakfast, Oozeball, the CHI burning, and everything in between. These traditions are what make Longwood extra special and help to foster the sense of community that Longwood offers. I will miss living within walking distance from all of my best friends and being able to meet them in Upchurch or D-hall all of the time. Longwood has become my second home over the past four years, and I can’t wait to come back in October for our Commencement ceremony.

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