Life After Gonzaga:
Following her Human Physiology degree, Michelle went on to earn a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology at San Diego State University in 2014. She holds a PhD in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Exercise Physiology at Michigan State University in 2018. Michelle currently works as an Assistant Professor in the Exercise and Sports Science program at Western Colorado University.
What made the greatest impression on you during your time at Gonzaga?
Because the Human Physiology (HPHY) program was small, I had the same peers and professors for most of my classes. This created a close-knit group and made classes more fun. The HPHY professors also seemed genuinely interested in teaching which helped me as a student buy into the importance of the material. The relationships made and my interest in my classes played a large role in why I decided to become a college professor.
What skills or knowledge gained during the program did you find most immediately useful after you graduated?
I had more laboratory experience than many of my peers in my master’s because I took multiple laboratory focused classes as part of the HPHY curriculum. A professor in my master’s noticed I knew how to use the equipment and offered me a teaching assistant position in my first semester. I also had to complete group data collection research projects and manuscript write ups as part of the HPHY program which helped make my transition into master level projects easier.
Finally, I hate to admit it but having to take research statistics in undergrad was ultimately very useful for my future schooling and I now teach research statistics to college students. Overall, the HPHY program was challenging but the skills I learned and time I put in made me more successful in my future career.
What skills and abilities do you think future HPHY graduates will need to have to be successful?
A “go get ‘em” attitude! Do not sit and wait for others to offer you opportunities because they likely will not just show up. You need to search out the chances and show professors and potential employers that you are a hard worker that they want on their team. If you are not the best student academically but are really interested in a HPHY related career, show your enthusiasm by volunteering for research projects, speak up in class, talk to your professors, show that you are willing to do the extra work outside of the classroom, and have a good attitude. Also, research the many possible careers you could pursue. Try not to hyper focus on one career until you have explored a variety; who knows what you could become interested in!