As the Director of SUU’s Outdoor Engagement Center, Dr. Briget Eastep enjoys creating outdoor educational experiences for students interested in careers in public lands, outdoor education and tourism.
Dr. Eastep began her career in 1991 as a ranger in New Mexico. Since then her sense of adventure and passion for the great outdoors has led her across the country and to her current leadership position at SUU.
When Dr. Eastep started at SUU in 2006, she immediately created the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, which has since placed 1,368 paid interns into federal and state land agencies. Dr. Eastep partners with the parks and local communities broadening opportunities for service projects, additional internships and experiential education. She also teaches outdoor leadership, policy and planning, and Leave No Trace ethics in the outdoor recreation in parks and tourism program. Under her guidance students gain confidence, stewardship, and leadership skills.
Dr. Eastep earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Cornell College and her master’s degree in recreation and environmental education from the University of New Mexico. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Utah in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.
Industry Expertise (3)
Leisure / Recreation
Areas of Expertise (15)
Wilderness First Aid
Utah National Parks
Swift Water Rescue
Tourism in Utah
Recreation Program Planning
Outdoor Education; Higher Education
Leave No Trace
Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative
Communities of Practice
University of Utah: Ph. D., Natural Resource Recreation and Outdoor Education
The University of New Mexico: M. A., Recreation and Environmental Education
Cornell College: B. A., English and Environmental Studies
Distinguished Faculty Service Award (professional)
Southern Utah University, 2018
Leave No Trace Master Educator (professional)
Certified Leave No Trace Master Educator through the Center for Outdoor Ethics
Wilderness First Responder (professional)
Certified wilderness first responder by the Wilderness Medical Institute.
Swift Water Rescue Technician (professional)
Certified swift water rescue technician.
CPR/First Aid (professional)
Certified by the American Red Cross.
Director's Partnership Award, Director of National Park Service (professional)
- Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative
- Great Basin National Park Foundation
- Great Basin Observatory Outreach
- Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Education Leadership
- Cedar Breaks National Monument
- Association for Experiential Education
- National Society for Experiential Education
- National Recreation and Parks Association
- Utah Parks and Recreation Association
- Wilderness Education Association
- Utah Society for Environmental Education
- National Interpretation Association
Media Appearances (3)
SUU and Bryce Canyon Continue On-Location Learning Experience for Hundreds of Students
St. George News online
“The alliance has welcomed classes from across campus, hosted the Wilderness First Responder for ten years, and it has gotten students involved with research in a number of different projects, including geology, archeology and recreation visitor use,” Director of Outdoor Engagement Briget Eastep said, according to the news release. “Every five years we renew the alliance, and this year there was really a sense of partnership and hope for the future.”
Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, Paul Roelandt, and Dr. Briget Eastep
National Park Service online
The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, a consortium of 19 federal and state land agencies, the Paiute Tribe, and Southern Utah University, has worked with Cedar Breaks National Monument to place students into employment, internship, and volunteer positions. These positions expose students to public lands jobs and projects and link students to friends and mentors; leadership and job skills; and pathways to college, career fields, and to their public lands.
Utah Internship Program Gets National Parks Service Praise
Utah Public Radio radio
It has a long name, the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative or IIC. This month, the program received the National Parks Service Director’s Award for Partnerships. Paul Roelandt, the superintendent of Cedar Breaks National Park and Briget Eastep, from Southern Utah University, received the award from the National Parks Service.
Research Grants (5)
IIC Youth Development
Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit $851,620
2016 Funding for student internships in national, state and public lands.
US Fish and Wildlife Next Generation
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service $81,000
2016 Research on native fish and wildlife.
Recreation Impact Monitoring
Bureau of Land Management $24,000
2016 Recreation impact monitoring at Vermilion Cliffs.
Direct Hire Internships
Bureau of Land Management $100,000
2015 Funding for student internships with the Bureau of Land Management.
Field Office Trails
Bureau of Land Management $50,000
2014 Bureau of Land Management field office trails youth work project in Cedar City.
Information Sources and Planning Horizons for Southern Utah VisitorsAcademy of Marketing Studies Journal
Roberts, W. A Jr, Steed, E., Eastep, B.
2014 As part of a larger visitor profile study of southern Utah visitors during four seasons beginning summer 2010, data was collected regarding trip planning horizons, defined as the time that elapses between when trip planning begins and trip departure, and data regarding the influence of different sources of information, ranging from the Internet to past experience to guidebooks and brochures. There were significant differences in regard to planning horizons with regard to season of travel, education, age, and domicile, but not with regard to household income. With regard to source influence, past experience and the Internet were rated as the most influential, much more so than guidebooks, friends and relatives, and other sources. Results highlight the importance of hospitality businesses understanding their target groups through marketing research.
Seasonal Differences in Origin, Destinations, Activities and Expenditures of Central and Southern Utah VisitorsInternational Journal of Business, Marketing, & Decision Science
Steed, E., Roberts, W., Eastep, B.
2014 In 2010-2011, the Southern Utah University Hospitality Research Center joined with the Utah Office of Tourism to explore various characteristics of visitors to Central and Southern Utah. This study focuses on one of the study's research questions, which was the seasonal differences of visitor origin, destinations visited, activities selected and expenditures. Chi-square and ANOVA tests were conducted to determine differences. Many significant differences were detected, and many similarities were discovered.
Affinity for Nature in Outdoor Programming: Theoretical Foundations, Scale Development, and ImportanceJournal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership
Cachelin, A., Eastep, B.T., Sibthorp, J.
2011 The objectives of this study were to develop a youth Affinity for Nature Scale that can be used to document the outcomes of children participating in nature based programs; to review three relevant strains of literature informing the development of the scale; and to review the importance of this scale’s utility in terms of the current state of children’s relationship with the natural world.
ORPT 2000 Outdoor Skills Seminar
A special topics course designed to develop outdoor recreation and leadership skills. Topics will vary depending upon demand.
EDGE 3050 Outdoor Project Proposal & Planning
An online, eight week workshop that guides students through the process of creating and EDGE project proposal and plan tuned specifically to the Outdoor Engagement Center.
EDGE 4050 Outdoor Project Reporting & Reflection
An online eight week course that guides students through the process of verifying, reporting, and reflecting on their EDGE Project, which is tuned specifically to the Outdoor Engagement Center. Students will create a portfolio featuring their project.
ORPT 4600 Outdoor Recreation Policy & Planning
Course will cover foundations of natural resource recreation policy and planning: policy history, key agencies, wild land recreation policy, rec planning, management practices, & the NEPA process.
ORPT 4860 Outdoor Recreation Skills Practicum
This course is designed to give outdoor recreation majos and minor experience leading, teaching, and developing skills in the outdoor recreation field.
ORPT 4900 ORPT Senior Seminar
A capstone course: ORPT majors will complete a capstone project to investigate current trends, issues, research, and professional standards in the field. Students will also prepare for internships.