WIU’s Taylor Brooks presents research to Illinois PRA

By DYLAN SMITHReporter

MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) – Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) graduate student Taylor Brooks is completing her final semester at Western Illinois University and has also completed research related to black residents and how their leisure choices are impacted by living in a rural community like Macomb. 

“For our participants, we found that being black in a rural community did not determine the leisure activities that they did, but it did influence how they navigated those,” Brooks said. 

Brooks has conducted research through interviews. She said the motivation for such research did not come until she was a senior as an undergraduate, when she enrolled in a race and ethnicities course. After one year, Brooks had completed the research and presented her findings to the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Brooks’ presentation was pre-recorded for the IPRA.

“Our participants found rural communities to have pretty unique characteristics,” Brooks said. 

“Some found them to have a greater sense of community than urban areas, and some associated them with a brand of Christianity with more conservative views. In terms of leisure, one of the bigger things there was that they all found that leisure was not as available in rural spaces, but older participants thought it was more accessible in those rural areas.” 

Before Brooks graduates in May, she must defend her research to a faculty committee and hopes to do so in March.