As the Manager of the Center for Healthy Living I oversee the hospital-based fitness center. Our unique program allows us to serve a wide variety of clients in all stages of wellness and recovery. I also manage the employee wellness, corporate wellness, and weight management programs. In this role, I have the opportunity to plan, coordinate and implement initiatives and programs aimed at improving the health and wellness of our company’s employees and our community. Working for Sarah Bush Lincoln has also opened doors to exciting community partnerships that allow me to collaborate with other like-minded professionals.
Working in this field is about much more than physical fitness. It requires organizational skills, excellent communication skills, management skills, creativity and passion. The EIU KSS Department gave me a great knowledge base with which to begin my career. The faculty and staff were, and still are, phenomenal mentors. Over ten years later, I still reach out to them for support. The KSS program provided a learning experience that fostered confidence and provided me with the background I needed to be prepared to work in the fitness industry.
I was hired to be the first ever Clinical Exercise Physiologist to work in Cardiac Rehabilitation at the Good Samaritan Hospital Dayson Heart Center in Vincennes, Indiana. I took the position with the vision of reconstructing the current cardiac rehab program and providing the department with the knowledge and skills I gained from my degree. During my time as an Exercise Specialist in Cardiac Rehabilitation, I have been working alongside the Cardiology Patient and Family Educator, Cardiologists, and department nurses to reconstruct the existing Phase 2 Program (acute cardiac event monitored patients) by adding an education component, adding a detailed exercise prescription according to the patients need, implementing a new Phase 3 Cardiac Rehab Program (risk reduction and non-acute cardiac patients) and constructing and implementing a pilot program to reduce hospital readmissions for patients diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. My goal is to continue to grow the Cardiac Rehabilitation program by adding more exercise classes for special populations (such as diabetes, weight loss, flexibility and stability) and to facilitate opportunities to raise awareness of heart health in the community.
I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from EIU in KSS with a concentration in Exercise Science in 2012 and graduated with my master’s degree in KSS with a concentration in Exercise Science in 2013. While I was a graduate student, I also held an Exercise Science Graduate Assistant position in which I taught undergraduate activity courses, supervised undergraduate students in the ATP Lab and also worked with the EIU Adult Fitness Program. The experience I gained while attending EIU has given me the confidence to excel and push to exceed boundaries set before me in the field of Exercise Science.
As the Director of Strength & Conditioning, my goals are to best prepare our student-athletes for the demands of their respective sports and to develop them as capable young adults. I accomplish these goals by assessing each athlete’s needs and designing a yearly training program to maximize their athletic potential. The details of this process are ever changing, never-ending, and constantly challenging which is exactly what makes my job so fun and rewarding. Additionally, I act as our department’s internship coordinator where we focus on training young coaches to prepare them to move on and make an impact in our field of work.
I am very proud to be an EIU Panther, and my five years in Charleston are no doubt instrumental in my success. EIU sets itself apart because of our incredible professors. Their willingness to constantly help me inside and out of the classroom gave me a huge advantage when entering my field. GO PANTHERS!
My specialty is in special populations, so my job duties are multifaceted. As a Fitness Coach my my responsibilities include personal training, leading group exercise classes, aiding in research studies, working with our clinical exercise programs, leading lectures for various wellness programs, fitness floor coverage, and performing member orientations and assessments. I am also a certified Rock Steady Boxing coach and plan to start the program at the Pavilion.
The Clinical Exercise Science Masters program allowed me to further develop my skills in the field of exercise science and continue to explore the different populations I was interested in working with once beginning my career. There were many opportunities for hands on experiences in classes, labs and outside experiences like the cardiac rehab and stress testing programs. I also really enjoyed building relationships with my professors and fellow grad students. I still use a lot of the skills and tools that I learned in my time at EIU to this day and I am very grateful to the program, faculty, and my fellow grad students.