Gena Vargas headshot

Gena Bell Vargas

Assistant Professor of Instruction
Recreational Therapy Graduate Program Coordinator
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Gena Bell Vargas, CTRS, CA is an assistant professor of instruction within the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in the recreational therapy program. Her clinical background includes an urban acute psychiatric inpatient setting working with people experiencing symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, some dually diagnosed with substance abuse. She has also worked in inpatient physical rehabilitation with persons that have experienced strokes, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations. Dr. Vargas has spent a considerable amount of time running around in the woods leading children and adults with and without disabilities in various team building activities and ropes courses. Her interest areas include: the safe implementation of aromatherapy in recreational therapy settings, efficacy research on recreation therapy practice, educating recreational therapy students on addressing all areas of wellness, interprofessional education, and exploring the use of motivational theory in increasing continued participation for all.


  • PhD, Therapeutic Recreation, Clemson University
  • MS, Recreational Therapy Administration, East Carolina University
  • BS, Recreational Therapy, East Carolina University