#PrepareAtPeace: New WPU Major, Exercise and Sport Science, Wraps Up Exciting First Semester
Successful sports teams require more than just skilled athletes. Everyone, from players to coaches and trainers alike, must work together for the common goal. Every player, on or off the field, court, or ice, requires knowledgeable coaches and staff who are dedicated to supporting them. Most importantly, the team’s staff members need to be educated on the best methods of support. Enter WPU’s new major, Exercise and Sport Science (ESS).
“The students here have great opportunities for making professional connections through immersive learning, internships and field trips.”
Sports is just one of the many components ESS students study at WPU. The program prepares them for a wide variety of careers, like athletic training, health and wellness coaching, physical therapy and other related fields. No matter the field an ESS student chooses to pursue when they graduate, the program’s focus is the study of health and wellness and how exercise plays an integral role in creating healthy lifestyles.
“Exercise and Sport Science is an important academic discipline in today’s society. Its knowledge and career areas promote one’s holistic health, including regular physical activity, emotional wellness, prevention and rehabilitation of injury and disease, proper nutrition, and overall quality of life,” said Dr. Lizzie Lange, Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Science. “Here at WPU specifically, students have great opportunities for making professional connections through immersive learning, internships and field trips.”
The ESS major leads to a wide variety of career paths and each course of the program incorporates hands-on learning methods for students to discover which direction best suits them. That also means ESS students are never in one place for too long.
Some days ESS students are in the lab testing body mass index for nutrition or learning how to check one another’s blood pressure. Other days they’re in the classroom crafting their resumes and cover letters before venturing out into the Raleigh area to learn from professionals in the field. This practical component is pivotal for future career development, as it helps WPU students find their particular passions and internships.
Students within the major have already been extremely active in their inaugural semester, especially when delving into the immersive learning opportunities in the Raleigh community. For example, students within the Sport Management class toured various professional athletics facilities and met with team officials, including the Carolina Hurricanes, NC Football Club, USA Baseball, the Durham Bulls, and NC State Campus Recreation.
“I decided to go on the field trip because I wanted to see the facilities but I ended up leaving with internship opportunities as a dream job.”
“The goal of each field trip is to expose the students to professionals in the field, so ‘a day in the life’,” Lange said. “Most staff in the sports industry, particularly in professional sports, work over 50-70 hours per week and the jobs are very difficult to get. This gives WPU students an opportunity to be seen and to meet staff at all of these local organizations.”
“The Durham Bulls field trip was an awesome experience,” said Charles Slate ’21. “I decided to go on the field trip because I wanted to see the facilities but I ended up leaving with internship opportunities as a dream job. Something I never expected, but I ended up leaving with a possible career opportunity.”
Outside of networking, the field trips have helped students see these local organizations and facilities behind the scenes and get a hands-on perspective of the many positions that are involved with running a professional or university sports organization.
WPU students have also volunteered with the Helping Hands Mission in Downtown Raleigh, cooking and serving healthy food for the mission’s clients. This opportunity allows WPU students to apply what they have learned about nutrition from the holistic and practical perspective while giving back to the local community.
“I find the guest lectures that we have in class are extremely helpful and interesting,” said Aerieal Vineyard ’20. “It shows how many options are out there for individuals with a degree in this major. I think that is an amazing opportunity because not only does it give an insight on different jobs, but it also helps get our foot in the door in the careers that we might be interested in.”
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