Meredith ESS Seniors Find Early Success

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Meredith’s Exercise and Sport Sciences (ESS) seniors who will graduate in May 2023 join the ranks of other highly successful ESS alumnae as they celebrate job offers and acceptances to professional and graduate school programs well before graduation.

Although many seniors in the program are understandably still working on post-graduation plans, a number are excited to take the next step in their careers, including

  • Sophie Cook, ’23 – accepted a position with Valencell, a medical research technology company
  • Megan George, ’23 – accepted into the East Carolina University Doctor of Physical Therapy program
  • Briana Oakley, ’23 – accepted into the Methodist University Doctor of Occupational Therapy program
  • Savannah West, ’23 – accepted into the Pitt Community College Nuclear Medicine Technology program
  • Fallon Wimberly, ’23 – accepted into the Campbell University Doctor of Physical Therapy program

In addition, December 2022 graduate Mackenzie Jackson was recently accepted into a radiology program.

According to Heather Sanderson, assistant professor of health, exercise and sport sciences, the ESS curriculum and concentrations focus on providing both knowledge and clinical experiences that prepare students for either post-graduate programs or careers.

“We integrate clinical practice, leadership, and research into our courses. Students learn how to administer blood pressure readings and conduct functional movement screens as well as VO2 max testing. They develop exercise programs for both healthy and special populations and teach and train their peers and the Meredith College community,” said Sanderson. “They learn how to assess injuries and apply sports medicine practices. We believe in the power of kinesthetic learning.”

Sanderson also noted that the ESS faculty understand the competitive nature of post-graduate programs so they talk one-on-one with their advisees and make a plan. 

“These discussions usually include researching programs, admission requirements, and how we can best prepare the students,” said Sanderson. “We integrate prerequisite courses that are not already within our major, required clinical observation hours, undergraduate research, and student leadership opportunities into the student’s plan. We believe this is why our students are so successful.”

For Fallon Wimberly, ’23, the faculty commitment to students was apparent even at her first visit to Meredith.

“ESS wasn’t my original plan, but after visiting their showcase during an open house for high schoolers, I knew that the ESS department was the place for me,” said Wimberly. “Dr. Sanderson helped me create a four-year plan that included all graduation requirements and DPT prerequisites and she made sure I was ready to apply once the time came. All of the professors offered help and support when needed. I have gained lots of curriculum knowledge and real-world knowledge.”

Exploring New Opportunities

In addition, Sanderson noted that faculty regularly encourage students to seek out new fields of study and opportunities. For example, Brenna Robertson, ’21, is working at Epic (electronic medical records) corporate headquarters in Madison, WI. 

“She wanted to work in health informatics. So we added a minor in web development to her plan, connected her with a hospital medical records internship, and she completed an undergraduate research project analyzing a large dataset of college student health behaviors,” said Sanderson.  

Internships also play an important role in student success. Students are required to either complete a final practicum or student teach during their senior year. Sanderson noted that clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and schools frequently share how impressed they are with the level of knowledge and abilities Meredith students bring to their internships. 

Sophie Cook, ’23, interned at Valencell, a medical technology research company, and helped conduct lab testing in their R&D program. She has now accepted a full-time position with Valencell.

And Wimberly worked as an office administrator at BYoung Physical Therapy for a year before taking on her internship role, which allowed her to learn the administrative and business side of physical therapy as well as insurance and customer service. 

“I completed my internship with the biomechanist. I learned how to operate 3D and force plate technology. We used this technology for rehabilitative, performance, and research purposes,” she said. “I was able to apply my knowledge from ESS courses to my internship; it was rewarding to put my Meredith education to work in the real world.”

Sanderson noted that the Class of 2023 did not have a typical college experience, but demonstrated resilience to achieve the success they are demonstrating.

“We are thrilled these seniors persevered throughout the pandemic and found their way,” she said.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330