Why exercise physiology?
Pursuing a career in exercise physiology allows me, personally, to specialize in the population of interest more easily than other fields. While additional accreditations are always respected, it will allow me to work with neuromuscular rehabilitation, as that is where I will receive my training through an internship. I knew I wanted to work in rehabilitation ever since high school, and for a number of reasons, decided not to pursue the obvious physical therapy track. I was far more interested in working with chronically diseased populations to attenuate their decrements associated with their pathological disease process, with exercise. I fundamentally believe in the benefits of exercise and the positive effect it can have on all ability levels. Exercise physiologists look at the human body with a pathophysiological lens as oppose to an anatomical lens, which I found far more interesting.
Why did you choose Carroll’s MEXP program? What has the MEXP program offered you that no other program could have?
I chose Carroll’s program over others primarily for its diverse education in chronic disease populations. Most other programs specialize in one avenue of this field, such as cardiac rehabilitation. Going into my Master’s studies, I was not entirely such which population I would prefer to work with. Choosing Carroll’s program ensured that I would be well equipped to work with a multitude of populations upon graduation. Secondly, Carroll had more advanced technologies than other programs I applied to. This is vital to my education as the older technologies are not as valid or widely used in clinical settings. I loved the fact that the program was designed to give students experience in research, working under our professor’s studies as opposed to being required to write our own thesis to complete in two years. I don’t think I would have as quality of a didactic and clinical experience if I had to write a thesis to complete on top of everything. Finally, the cost of a graduate-level education is not outrageous compared to other programs I applied to. I came from a large undergraduate university with over 400 people in my general education courses. Pursuing my graduate education at Carroll has given me a more quality education, in my opinion, because the class sizes are small. I never understood the benefit of a small class size until I was physically in one. The individualized attention I am receiving from my professors as well as the connection I am making with my peers is extraordinary. I have also had the privilege of receiving a scholarship. I do not believe I would have had the same chances of being accepted if I attended a larger school.
What are the strengths of your professors and how have they personally helped you succeed or expand your vision of the field?
I have not met two people who are more passionate about this field. They are always willing to listen to constructive criticism and even ask it of their students. I can tell they are always striving to make this program better and are amenable to changes when necessary. It’s refreshing to see flexibility, respect, and enthusiasm come from graduate level programming. To put it simply, my professors are my faculty as well as my scholarship mentors. I see them every day, sometimes multiple times a day. They take the time to check in with the students every week to see how things are going in their classes, other classes they do not teach, as well as how we are balancing life. My favorite times have been spent with my professors after class, picking their brain about something we either learned in class or about the development of the field as a whole.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your education at Carroll?
This avenue in the field of rehabilitation has allowed me to pursue my dream internship, at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (former Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). This research hospital is at the forefront of rehabilitation sciences and I have always dreamt of working there in some capacity. Coming off my first year, I will be able to lead group exercise classes and work with a multitude of clients one-on-one while assisting with research studies. I look forward to the internship and all the clinical experiences I will gain from it.
What would you say to someone considering MEXP?
I would advise them to do their research. I highly suggest visiting the schools and sit down with the faculty to see where their clinical or research interests lie. It is important to see where past students have pursued internships, or landed jobs upon graduating. Look at the time frame and the course schedule of the program and see how those classes could drive your clinical path in conjunction with your clinical interests.
Learn more about Carroll University's Master of Science in Exercise Physiology program.