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Student Perspective: Kinesiology Embodies Learn by Doing

By Samantha Holder, Kinesiology 2018

Hello Fellow Mustangs!  My name is Samantha Holder and I graduated from Cal Poly in the Fall of 2018 with my bachelor's in Kinesiology.  During my time at Cal Poly, I was fortunate to be selected as a Frost Undergraduate research award recipient, where I was able to work hands-on with Dr. Maurice on a research project investigating injured NCAA D1 athletes' expectations and experiences with coach provided social support.  This opportunity has given me the practical experience of conducting interviews, analyzing qualitative data, writing a manuscript, and presenting the findings at research conferences, including the annual Association for Applied Sport Psychology conference.  Furthermore, my involvement in research ignited my passion for research and the field of sport psychology.  I decided to pursue sport psychology as a career and am excited to be attending Georgia Southern University to earn my master's degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport and exercise psychology.  It is my hope to pursue a doctoral degree in sport and exercise psychology to become a professor in the field.  

I truly believe Cal Poly has well prepared me for my graduate education.  The motto of "learn by doing" is a unique and special asset to Cal Poly.  I loved that many of the professors conduct research in their specialty and allow undergraduates to gain this practical experience.  In addition, the professors within the Department of Kinesiology and Public Health have a vast array of specialization from sport psychology, to biomechanics, to epidemiology, to exercise physiology and more. Thus, students take a diverse range of classes optimizing exposure to an assortment of sub-fields within Kinesiology and Public Health.  My best advice to undergraduates would be to experiment with different career paths within Kinesiology and Public Health, and then don't stop chasing that dream!


By Sierra Sheeper, Kinesiology 2018

My experience with the Cal Poly Department of Kinesiology and Public Health exceeded my expectations for my undergraduate education thanks to the dedicated professors and staff, hands-on learning experiences, and a variety of extra-curricular opportunities. I clearly remember my WOW tour of the Kinesiology and Public Health building because I was ecstatic about all of the different clubs, research projects, and equipment at my disposal. During the next four years, my experiences lived up to my excitement. I immediately became involved with the PolyFit club, first as a member, and then as a leader. PolyFit introduced me to the skills necessary for many health professions, such as measuring blood pressure manually, as well as teaching me how to interact respectfully and confidently with patients from the community.

I continued to purse all opportunities to become more involved with Kinesiology. I enrolled in KINE 290, an elective class, that allowed me to explore my interest in nutrition by visiting local schools and community events to teach basic nutrition classes and healthy cooking demonstrations. As well, a majority of upper division kinesiology classes have labs incorporated, which seemed overwhelming at first. However, the hands-on experiences were easily my favorite components of the Kinesiology degree, whether it be the Adapted Paddling experience, the exercise physiology and exercise prescription labs, or the exercise instruction classes. I also pursued a research position through the FROST summer research program and I enjoyed it so much that I continued the research with Dr. Ventura for a year-long senior research project. During this time, I even had the opportunity to attend a research conference in Washington D.C., which was fully funded by the department. As a recent graduate, I have the incredible privilege to say that I am a published author on several research articles thanks to the mentorship and instruction of Dr. Ventura and other faculty members.

Through the specialized curriculums, I was able to chose the Health Science/Health Promotion route and expand my skills in developing health promotion programming for specific companies or populations, in conducting motivational interviewing, and in evaluating and applying research to make change. As a current graduate student at UC Davis pursing my Master's of Science in Nursing, I constantly draw upon my knowledge from my Kinesiology courses, which prepared me incredibly well for the rigorous program I am attending. I strongly recommend attending office hours and making the effort to connect with professors, as they are the ones who will support you in pursing your goals during undergrad and after graduation. Cal Poly's Kinesiology and Public Health program offers a plethora of opportunities, so join clubs, get involved with research, connect with professors, collaborate with fellow students, and be an advocate for yourself as a student learner so that you can make the most of your time as an undergraduate student.


By Jenna Vacca, Kinesiology 2017

For any student considering Cal Poly's Kinesiology and Public Health programs, I pose the following questions: Are you looking for a quality education? Do you wish to gain the knowledge and skillset necessary to enter into the health/medical field? Do you find value in living a physically active lifestyle, and are you interested in helping others to do so as well? If so, this program is the right fit for you.

Of all the majors offered at Cal Poly, the Kinesiology and Public Health program is one of the most well-suited to match its Learn by Doing motto. Every undergraduate class offered involves some level of hands-on activity. For example, I learned how to perform EKGs, conduct ground reaction force assessments in the Biomechanics lab, and going into the community to assist with adaptive sports clinics. For those who are interested in research, the departmental professors are always looking for motivated students to assist with their latest research projects. Additionally, there are also opportunities for internships. As part of my senior project, my professor helped me get an internship shadowing an Occupational Therapist, so that I could se the "real world" application of the practices we learned in class. This is a great example of how the professors in the department really make the effort to get to know their students and help them succeed in their academic and future career pursuits Their diverse educational backgrounds and life experiences make them adept educators and impactful mentors.

Since graduating in 2017 with a B.S. in Kinesiology, I can attest that the skills I learned at Cal Poly have directly impacted the quality of my patient care and interaction at work, as well as enabled me to use my knowledge to be a leader for others. Now that I am pursing a Master's Degree in Orthotics and Prosthetics, I see just how fortunate I was to build such a good foundation in this program, and I know that the Department of Kinesiology and Public Health will continue to provide such quality education to any of its future students.

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