Edward Olack

Ted Olack


HPR Program of Study: BS in Recreation, Recreation Administration Emphasis
Graduation Year: May 2013
Current Employment: Aquarist at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and Part Time Aquarist at Bass Pro.


Edward was adamant his future career would involve an outdoor office, but he was unsure on how to realize this dream. Two majors, a college transfer, and a Career Services test later, he discovered Recreation Administration at the School of Human Performance and Recreation. For Edward, the wait was well worth it and after a few courses he “was in love” with the major.

After numerous semesters on the Dean’s List, in his final semester at Southern Miss Edward was included on the President’s list. He achieved this honor with a 4.0 GPA from a 19 credit hour semester, while enrolled in his most challenging classes – a feat he now considers one of his proudest academic accomplishments.

Edward was a part of the Recreation Club for three years, initially as a member, then serving as vice president and later as president. He served on the School of Human Performance and Recreation evaluation and improvement team with the department heads and a team of students to help constantly improve the therapeutic recreation and recreation administration programs. As a senior, Edward was nominated and elected to be a College of Health Ambassador.

Edward asserts his coursework prepared him for his future career. “The mixture of recreation administration along with a few therapeutic recreation classes gave me a rounded education with programming, teaching methods, and aspects of law to prepare me for varied situations within the work force.”

Edward credits Mrs. Megan Marlowe and Dr. Mary Aquadro for their continual support and guidance. He expressed, “without you two my experience and USM would not have been nearly as wonderful and educationally prosperous. Your teaching, words of encouragement and constant push to tackle more and succeed has helped me exponentially, and will stay with me forever through my years in the work force. “

Edward’s current goal is to continue S.C.U.B.A diving certification in order to attain Master Diver status. He aims to eventually work with dive operations and education at the Georgia Aquarium and to meet his “personal dream of diving with the Whale Shark.” While working with aquariums he hopes “to take people out on dive excursions to beautiful coral reefs and sunken ships around the globe.” He plans to work on his Master’s in Museum Studies with hopes of being an aquarium or natural science museum director.

Edward leaves the following words of advice for current HPR students: “Strive for excellence not for average. Today’s job market is not pleased with just a degree. Take your major by the horns and excel in everything you do.  Make it a personal challenge to better yourself and become the benchmark of your major.  Be that person that ruins the curve by making a 100 percent and be proud of yourself with your work, both academically and through student activities.”

Edward is passionate about experiencing the oceans and outdoors, mainly through S.C.U.B.A. and mountain biking. His pastimes include watching ‘90s cartoons, playing video games and going to the gym. He would like to conclude with, “SMTTT!”