Sadie Engelken

Academic Program: M.S. in Exercise Physiology—Clinical (MEXP)

Why exercise physiology?

I chose exercise physiology because I am passionate about exercise and helping people. Careers in this field allow me to do both! The process we go through as exercise physiologists from screening, to assessment, prescription, and finally intervention is fascinating to me. Each person you work through this process with is different, and creating the best program for them is like doing a puzzle. You need to consider all the information and build the most effective, safe intervention based on the information from screening and assessment as well as the client’s goals and motivation. I love that everyone I work with will be unique and no two programs will look the same. I believe this will lead to me always loving and never tiring of the work I do. I also like that I will have so many different options in terms of careers. Different populations, setting, specialties, and careers within the field allow for many opportunities for jobs and helping different people.

Why did you choose Carroll’s MEXP program? What has the MEXP program offered you that no other program could have?

I began looking at Carroll because of my previous connection to Dr. Brown and Dr. Shackelford, two of the faculty in the MEXP program at Carroll. As I further looked into the curriculum, I knew Carroll’s MEXP program was the place for me. This program does not make you choose a specialty prior to beginning your Master’s degree and actually prepares you to work with any population of your choosing. Carroll’s program also provides students with many hours of practical experience in the lab and with clients, which prepares students with the experience required for certification exams and applying for jobs. Carroll’s program is also very unique as it does not only train you to be a clinician, but also a researcher. The combination of both practical experience and research in one program is not commonly seen in this field.

What are the strengths of your professors and how have they personally helped you succeed or expand your vision of the field?

I really appreciate the openness of our professors. They are always willing to help and share their knowledge and experiences. I also enjoy the teaching styles of many of my teachers. They lecture in a way that helps us understand what is most important for our careers and explain concepts in a very practical manner. My professors have personally helped me succeed and expand my vision of the field. Before I met Dr. Brown and Dr. Shackelford, I was considering becoming a nurse to be able to go into cardiac rehabilitation. Where I’m from that is the career path to exercise physiology. But by working with them in cancer rehabilitation, I learned what this field really is and what it is capable of. They were great resources as I applied to Carroll, and now that I’m at Carroll, I believe they will back me up and assist me in my future endeavors. Both were also fantastic resources as I was searching and applying for “out of the box” internships. They encouraged me to see what else was out there other than the populations I have worked with, and I couldn’t be happier to go to Duke University to serve my internship in their Diet and Fitness Center.

What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your education at Carroll?

This year I really enjoyed the time we spent in the CURE clinic training a client. I am over a year out from undergrad and haven’t worked with a client one-on-one since my cancer rehabilitation internship in Summer 2017. I loved going through the entire process with my client from screening, assessment, prescription, and intervention. There is just something about helping people reach their goals in a safe, effective manner by using the knowledge and skills we have learned that excites me! Also, during our sessions, I was really able to get to know my client and found out we have many things in common. The relationships you are able to build with clients is something I cherish. I am a people person and I believe this is also part of the reason I chose this field because it allows me to really get to know the people I’m working with.

What would you say to someone considering MEXP?

If someone is on the fence about MEXP, I would recommend they shadow someone in the field. I realized this was the path for me because I had internships in cardiac and cancer rehabilitation. Through these experiences I learned this is where my passions lie. Through shadowing you can gain a view into what the day to day work will be like as well as get connected with someone you can ask questions. My next tip is to ask lots of questions to students, professors, and those working in the field. Let others be your resource and do some research. It is a new field, but there is still so much information out there about what you can do with exercise physiology. Lastly, if you love working with and helping people and have a passion for exercise, this is the field for you!

Learn more about Carroll University's Master of Science in Exercise Physiology program

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