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EIU Master of Science in Kinesiology and Sports Studies

Where Are They Now??

Exercise Science

Alissa Wagener, NSCA-CPT (M.S. 2015: Exercise Science) is the Director of Fitness at The Club at Mediterra


I am responsible for the organization, operation, and management of all wellness and fitness activities. Essential duties include recruiting and hiring talent, budget management, organization of group fitness schedules and the overall experience in the fitness center. Being able to adhere to the industry best practices, the research of new technology, creating safety procedures and policies and carrying out specific member policies. Additional tasks include communicating clear and concise duties and roles to fitness center staff, attending monthly Sports Committee meetings, planning and implementing exercise incentive programs, and management of the monthly calendar of events. The completion of my Master’s degree along with my Graduate Assistantship position at Eastern Illinois University demonstrated my dedication to health and wellness and added exactly what my resume needed to be considered for this position. The KSS staff and professors challenged, lead, encouraged, and awarded me throughout my Master’s program. The skills and qualities I developed at Eastern enhanced my knowledge and confidence as a leader as well as a fitness professional. I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today without the staff and students I met throughout my journey at EIU.

Tiffany Hilmes, NSCA-CPT (M.S. 2013: Exercise Science) is working at Bi-State Development Metro Transit


I work in the corporate wellness field as Manager of Wellness for Bi-State Development d.b.a. Metro Transit in downtown St. Louis. I oversee the Wellness Department, wellness program, and coordinate all wellness activities and initiatives. Our programs serve around 2,500 employees and their families, and cover all areas of health ranging from biometric screenings, health fairs, personal training, flu shots, nutritional counseling, and more. In the last year, our wellness program has won numerous awards, including Healthiest100 Employers in the Nation for the second consecutive year, and is a finalist for St. Louis’s Healthiest Employers of 2016 through the St. Louis Business Journal. I am very honored to be in a position that allows me to help so many people and utilize the extensive education that I received from Eastern Illinois University on a daily basis.

Dajana Jovanovic (M.S. 2015: Exercise Science) is currently an exercise physiologist/cardiovascular treadmill technician at  St. Vincent Heart Hospital


I perform cardiovascular exercise stress tests in an effort to detect ischemia, blockages and other cardiac complications. While monitoring a patient's EKG rhythm, I observe his/her cardiac response before, during, & after stimulating the heart with physical exercise on the treadmill or with stress inducing medication. I am fortunate to work for St. Vincent, Indiana's most prestigious heart hospital. Because of the world renowned care, patients of varying acuity seek treatment at St. Vincent. On any given day, I treat a patient with previously undiagnosed acute cardiac illness to an elite professional athlete. The clinical exercise science Masters degree program at EIU provided the fundamental knowledge necessary to clinically understand each patient's case. Ultimately, it was the KSS graduate program that allowed me to spend every day saving patients' lives; there is nothing more fulfilling than that. 

Bridget Sopeña (M.S. 2014: Exercise Science) is currently working at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute as a R&D Scientist


I am currently a Research and Development Scientist at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute in Barrington, IL. My specific roles within the GSSI team are split between two pillars; research and athlete service. As part of the research team, I assist in the development of scientific sports specific protocols, screen athletes, and collect and organize the data for our research which studies the effects that exercise, the environment and nutrition have on the human body. I also am a part of the athlete service team, where I evaluate elite-athletes in their field of play for real-time data to provide them with experiential learnings about their individual physiology, hydration and sports nutrition needs. Not everyone can say their graduate program prepared them for the real world, but I am proud to say EIU did! During my normal work week, I use content from every single course I took from Eastern’s Clinical Exercise Science Program.

Ashlee Shiffer (M.S. 2013: Exercise Science) is currently an Exercise Physiologist at Carle Foundation Hospital


I work in Cardiac Rehab Phases 1, 2, and 3 and Stress Testing at Carle Foundation Hospital. This involves assisting patients in recovery after open heart surgery and stent placement as well as performing stress tests in order to detect ischemia and other potential electrical issues within the heart. I am also a lead teacher in the 12 week phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation outpatient program. Carle hospital is well renowned Level 1 Trauma center and Stroke care center. It is the leading hospital in patient services and our cardiac rehabilitation program is ranked top 10% in the nation in patient satisfaction. While obtaining my Master’s degree in exercise science (clinical) at EIU, I commuted an hour each way and was vastly challenged by the curriculum and research projects. EIU not only provided the education and training necessary for me to perform the job, but left me well equipped with knowledge about the job search and interview process. I am so pleased I put in the work and am able to live out my dream of working in a field I am passionate about each day.

Sports Administration

Kyle Scherle (M.S. 2015: Sports Administration) is currently a Sales Associate with the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA
As a Sales Associate with the Milwaukee Bucks, I help local fans and businesses leverage our billion dollar new arena development in downtown Milwaukee through various ticket packages and one of a kind group experiences. I work with my various accounts to ensure they have a league leading fan experience as well as world class service throughout the season. What I took away most from my time at EIU with the KSS department was the relationships that I was able to build with various classmates, professors, and staff in the athletic program.  After countless post- class meetings with my professors talking over various job interview techniques, resume building tips, and general networking questions, I felt that I had a leg up on the competition when interviewing with professional sports organizations across the United States. I have to thank the EIU KSS department for the preparation and guidance they provided me to make an impact in the NBA and the sports industry.

Joe Kripp, CSCS, USAW (M.S. 2015: Sports Administration) is currently the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at University of Nebraska-Kearney

 joe kripp

My current job title is the director of sport performance at the Univeristy of Nebraska-Kearney. I enjoyed the hands on experiences I was able to receive while enrolled in my Master's degree at EIU. I was able to develop relationships with coaches and instructors that I continue to use. EIU offered me an opportunity to learn from active professionals in my field and develop mentorship relationships with these professionals. I truly believe my skills learned in and out of the classroom have been paramount to my success.

Kelly Kessler (M.S. 2014: Sports Administration) is currently the aquatic supervisor for the city of Plano, Texas Parks & Recreation


I develop, organize, and direct the aquatics department at the City of Plano, Texas Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center. One of my roles is to set and achieve standards of program delivery that assure the highest quality programs. In addition, I oversees regular maintenance, repair, and operations of the pool. I loved the EIU KSS department because it was a great environment to learn in and the professors were all very friendly, helpful and encouraging in my time I spent there.

Colin Yording (M.S. 2008: Sports Administration) is currently the general manager of Equinox Fitness Club in Lincoln Park, Illinois


I manage the club’s revenue and expense goals, administer the continued career development of the staff, and maintain Equinox’s high level of customer service. In addition, I oversee all program revenue and expense goals and implement and support company programs and promotions to help generate new sales leads for optimum new membership growth. Furthermore, I maximize member retention by ensuring high levels of customer service, cleanliness, a variety of innovative and educational programs, continual upgrades and responsiveness to member feedback.

Rachel Hansen (M.S. 2013: Sports Administration) is currently the assistant athletic director for marketing & promotions at Tulane University


I oversee all aspects of marketing and promotions for the Tulane University Athletics Department. I handle all media buys and placing of advertisements. I am responsible for all marketing collateral, including posters, schedule cards, ticket booklets, brochures, etc. My staff and I are responsible for all in game entertainment and promotions for all sports. I work hand in hand with the ticket office on promotional nights and themes.  I loved EIU and the KSS department because the professors had the ability to make classes more than just lectures and tests. They brought real world case studies and allowed us to come up with our own solutions. I am able to use what I learned in those classes in my job today. I also very much enjoyed my study abroad trip to England where I was able to study sport for two weeks. 

Tasha Buchmiller (M.S. 2014: Sports Administration) is currently an academic advisor at Indiana University


I provide support through academic advising and leadership life skills programming. I assist in developing a comprehensive individualized and career oriented academic plans in compliance with University/NCAA/Conference rules and benchmarks in mind. I foster development of each student-athlete in a holistic approach by providing multiple opportunities in our Leadership and Life skills department, but also act as a liaison with campus resources as well. From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was greeted with warmth and support. With small class sizes, I was able to develop strong mentorship relationships with my professors, and it was through these relationships that I was able to obtain such a variety of individualized professional experience. I was supported and empowered to reach all my goals academically and professionally. I am happy to be a panther, and I would not have had such a great experience had it not been for the staff in the KSS department. 

Andre Allen (M.S. 2014: Sports Administration) is currently an academic advisor at Illinois State University


I was awarded a graduate assistantship as an academic advisor within the Gateway Program at EIU, which allowed me the opportunity to pursue a Master’s of Science degree in Sports Administration. This position grants me the autonomy to assist student’s transition to the university. My caseload ranges from 300-350 students per academic year primarily made up of freshman, continuing, and transfer students. My goal is to help students select a major and/or minor that will translate to their desired career path. I enjoyed my time as a graduate student within the Kinesiology and Sports Studies program at EIU. It allowed me to grow both academically and professionally. I was able to complete two internships within the EIU athletic department during my time in the program. The faculty was very supportive of my goals and allowed me to thrive as a person. I am still connected with many people from my cohort as well as the faculty. These are relationships that I will have for a lifetime. I owe this program a lot as it has given me the transferable skills and education to be successful in life. ALWAYS BLEED BLUE!!!

Ben Turner (M.S. 2010: Sports Administration) is currently the associate sports information director at Purdue University



The EIU KSS graduate program proved to be the perfect fit for my postgrad education while I was serving as a graduate assistant with EIU athletics. The faculty was always very kind and helpful, providing insight and a lot of different viewpoints in the classroom interactions. There was an understanding that we were all working in some capacity at the same time and didn’t overburden students with busy work. Eastern Illinois University treated me very well in many aspects during my undergraduate and postgrad experiences. Kinesiology and Sports Studies was a big part of that.

Dale Kolnity (M.S. 2015: Sports Administration) is currently the assistant director for intramural sports at Binghamton University


I am currently serving as the Assistant Director for Intramural Sports at Binghamton University. I was fortunate enough to spend two years with the EIU KSS Department while gaining experience as a graduate assistant within the campus recreation center. I greatly appreciated the willingness of the KSS faculty to engage students and challenge them to become better within their own fields. Inside the classroom they fostered an environment of learning, collaboration and open communication. While outside the classroom students were completing internships all over the country and in different segment of the sport industry. The faculty and entire EIU community did an excellent job preparing me for my professional future in campus recreation.


Lynde (Dobson) Pavich (M.S. 2006: Sports Administration) is currently the Area Director for Special Olympics Illinois Area 17



I am currently the Area Director for Special Olympics, IL Area 17 serving athletes in Sangamon, Menard Morgan and Macoupin Counties. We serve 600 plus athletes by offering many different sporting opportunities throughout the year.  I am currently in charge of all Area 17 sporting events, fundraising, athlete outreach and volunteer requirement for our area.  During my time at EIU as KSS grad student, I was able to work as a Graduate Assistant with the Campus Recreation Department.  The education offered coupled with the work experience that I obtained while at EIU has opened many doors and created endless opportunities to apply my knowledge and fulfill my passion for sports.   


Kate Stake (M.S. 2007: Sports Administration) is currently the head softball coach at Valparaiso University (Indiana)



I am currently the head softball coach at Valparaiso University (Indiana).  I led the Crusaders to the NCAA tournament during my second season in 2016.  I studied sports administration for one academic year while serving as a softball graduate assistant during the 2007 season. Following graduation in the summer of 2007, I served as a full-time assistant coach for the EIU Softball program during the 2008 and 2009 seasons before moving on to serve as an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.



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Contact Information

Dr. Scott Ronspies, Graduate Coordinator

2504 - Lantz Arena
Fax: 217-581-7973

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