Gena Bell Vargas

Assistant Professor of Instruction
Graduate Program Director
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
1700 North Broad St


Dr. Gena Bell Vargas is an assistant professor of Rehabilitation Science in the Therapeutic Recreation Program. Her clinical background includes work in 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, sometimes using the modality of aquatic therapy, 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 efficacy research on therapeutic recreation practice, with a focus on 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

Curriculum Vitae 

Courses Taught




RCTH 2205

Adventure Challenge/Programming


RCTH 4102

Research and Evaluation in Recreational Therapy


RCTH 4185

Internship II in Recreational Therapy


RCTH 5102

Recreational Therapy: Now and Then


RCTH 5302

Evidence Based Practice in Recreational Therapy II


RCTH 5787

Recreational Therapy Practicum


HRPR 3197

Understanding and Applying Research in Health Professions


Selected Publications

  • Snethen, G., PhD, CTRS, Vargas, G.B., PhD, & CTRS (2017). Pilot outcomes of an online physical activity intervention for individuals with serious mental illnesses. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 16(1), p. 17. doi: 10.5055/ajrt.2017.0123