The second time around is a charm for Marina Uher, who will earn her degree in recreation therapy and continue her education at the University of St. Francis in Joliet.

“I graduated eight years ago, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Marina said. “Coming back as an adult you have a different perspective, especially with participating in class. I was just going through the motions, but now with a goal in mind, I know what I need to accomplish.”

Marina, who was awarded scholarships from the Illinois Park and Recreation Association and the Illinois Recreation Therapy Association, hopes to work for a park district or a senior community. “This field is so amazing and unbelievably gratifying,” Uher said. “I’ve always been someone who wants to help others, so if I can help somebody become better, that’s what I want to do.”

Marina is completing an internship at Smith Village in Chicago, where she works in the Life Enrichment department assisting with the facilitation of programs and activities for senior residents. “It’s so nice to see residents who are down and then start to liven up when they hear music or participate in one of our activities. It’s amazing to see those changes take place in such a small period of time,” she said. Marina, who plans to transfer to the University of St. Francis in Joliet, also spends time at the Oak Lawn Park District assisting with special education programs, including Special Olympics swim.