Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to head back to the old stomping grounds at Ball State University. Through a coordinated effort among several Professors, Program Directors, and Group Leaders, Ball State and their School of Kinesiology hosted several Alumni throughout the day in various capacities. After the announcement last Summer about the formation of the College of Health, I was energized with the thought that my alma mater was revolutionizing the way we thought about health and wellness. There was so much more to health and wellness than just exercise and nutrition, and Ball State was leading the way, both in collaboration and innovation.
The College of Health is comprised of six different academic programs –
- Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling
- School of Kinesiology
- School of Nursing
- Nutrition and Health Science
- Social Work
- Speech Pathology and Audiology
When you really think about it, each one of these academic programs incorporates ideas or entire concepts from another. A perfect example is me, a Personal Trainer, coming from the School of Kinesiology, but incorporating concepts from Social Psychology on adherence to nutrition (there goes another, Nutrition and Health Science) and exercise protocols. In that example alone, you get three out of six academic programs being utilized in just one aspect of one career choice!
The fact that the leaders at Ball State had the foresight to create a college in which all of these disciplines intertwined was in my eyes, freaking brilliant! That’s really what brought me back in the first place.
Hitting the Books
In my time there up in Funcie, Indiana, I first was given the opportunity to present to two separate classes about my real world experience in the field of Personal Training. Let me take this time to acknowledge Professor Nicole Koontz for allowing me to present to her ExSci 402 Advanced Fitness Assessment classes. Both groups of students were very engaging and there were even two part-time personal trainers in one of them! Being able to converse with fresh minds about fresh ideas was very enlightening. It gave me some insight as to where my own field might be headed in the future, as well as affirming my belief that the future of health and wellness was in the midst of a big change for the better.
Full disclosure, I was also presenting in hopes to snag one of these bright minds for an internship in the near future. Why any business out there wouldn’t try their best to bring on a young mind with great energy and potential innovation is beyond me.
Leaders at the Ball State College of Health
After the morning session, I was lucky enough to be treated to lunch at my favorite place to eat in Muncie, Scotty’s Brewhouse (founded by Ball State Alum, Scott Wise). Associate Dean of the College of Health, and organizer of my entire day, Denise Seabert was a wonderful host and full of energy. I could tell just from being around her that the new College of Health was going to be headed in the right direction with her and Dean Mitchell Whaley acting as the compass. As an added bonus, I was even able to see my boss/mentor during college, Phil Wills, who now is the GM at Scotty’s!
After lunch, I stopped by another old friend’s office, Coordinator of Coaching Minor and Instructor of Kinesiology, Bill Zenisek . He was the graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Ball State football team during a few of my years there. Bill, along with head strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman (now with the New York Giants) and Mark Naylor (now with the University of Michigan)) all contributed to my excitement towards movement, the human body, and its awesome potential. Bill was kind enough to not only spot me a cup of coffee (which at that point, I desperately needed) but inform me of an awesome online concept that he and a colleague were working on, called the University of Strength .
Here they were basically giving people new to the exercise world the most detailed, helpful, and video accompanied manual and programming that I’ve ever seen! After leaving a copy of my book for Bill, I dropped into talk with one of my favorite college professors, Dr. Nagelkirk. I was telling students all day about the fact that I received a “D” in his ExSci 420 class back in 2008, leading to me taking the class again in 2009!
I was an immature junior who thought since his football team went 12-0 that things would just “be alright”. Reality check, nobody really cares which channel you’re playing football on this weekend, just pass your dang classes! Big thanks to him for forgiving my ignorance and helping me out the second time around.
The Future of Health and Wellness is Bright
To finish the day off, I attended an Etiquette Dinner at Cardinal Hall (coincidentally where Coach
Hoke held our team dinners before home games in College) and spoke at a Professional Development lecture hosted by the Exercise Science Club. The PD lecture was definitely the
highlight of my day, given that I was getting to speak to a group of students not only interested in the field of Exercise Science, but that may some day be colleagues of mine.
“Sam was very personable and energetic! Anyone can tell he enjoys his job and wants to do the best for his clients. He is very informative about personal training and is very interested in helping others move forward, whether that includes his clients or prospective students in the field!” – Patia Hunt
After attending one of their meetings in the fall, I knew the ExSci Club was a fun bunch of students, especially their President, Ball State Swimmer, Mitch Prather. Everyone was very engaging and gladly spoke up with numerous questions and thoughts. I was even able to give away a foam rolling package to a student who correctly answered a question about my presentation! Vice President, Lauren Siler, was bummed I wasn’t opening the giveaway to ExSci club board members, but I made sure she walked away with her own foam roller. I was hoping to light a fire for Personal Training in a few students, and I’m optimistic, as per usual.
Overall, the day’s experiences went above and beyond my expectations. All the people I had the opportunity to meet or see again were so engaging and all about education. Hopefully, many more collaborations with the College of Health are in store for the future. I’m excited for the faculty members that are helping to shape it and for the students that get to experience it in its infancy. Ball State University and its constituents are transforming the health and wellness landscape, and I’m thrilled to call it my Alma Mater, especially today.
Yours in Wellness,
Prevention over Treatment