Four University of Wisconsin-Platteville health and human performance students recently planned and led the second annual “Health and Human Performance Pre-Professional Conference” for more than 140 students in the university’s Williams Fieldhouse.
The goal of the clinic, sponsored by the university’s Department of Health and Human Performance, was two-fold. First, it provided HHP majors with a professional development opportunity. Second, it provided the students who led the event with an opportunity to develop skills in planning, organizing, implementing and hosting an event.
Students who planned the event are enrolled in the Seminar in Health Promotion course, taught by Lisa Emendorfer, senior lecturer of health and human performance at UW-Platteville. They include Wesley Williams, a senior from Fennimore, Wisconsin; Laini Taylor, a senior from Verona, Wisconsin; Abigail Doyle, a senior from Wellston, Ohio; and Lauren Swanson, a senior from Shannon, Illinois. All four students have an emphasis in exercise science.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to gain experience in a real-world situation with a bit of a safety net, it allows powerful learning to occur,” said Emendorfer. “One of the focuses of this course is developing the 10 skills employers say they want: teamwork, decision making/problem solving, planning, organizing, prioritizing, communication inside and outside of the organization, technical knowledge related to the job and an ability to create reports, sell and influence others. This type of event allows students to experience and grow in these areas, as they put most, if not all, of these skills to work to make their event a success.”
The students who planned the event learned the components of event planning, including setting an objective for an event, creating a timeline of duties, delegating workload, practical event considerations, booking, permission, budgeting and publicity. They also learned how to troubleshoot a pre-event and on-the-day event plan, design and conduct a post- event survey and create an event summary, which was presented to a mock board of directors.
“The thing I enjoyed most about hosting the conference was getting in contact with professionals in the health and human performance field,” said Swanson. “We had a variety of speakers at the event and it was interesting to learn about their career paths. The event helped me improve my organizational skills and my interpersonal communication skills, both of which I will use daily in my future career as an occupational therapist.”
Taylor agreed, adding, “I enjoyed the level of communication and planning necessary amongst the four of us to ensure the event went smoothly. It was a great experience having to plan for every aspect and possible problem so we could prepare accordingly.”
Williams said he enjoyed communicating with a wide variety of professionals in his field, which allowed him to improve his communication skills. “I found this experience to be extremely valuable allowing me to learn more about careers outside of my interest of strength and conditioning,” he said. “This experience also provided me with an internship opportunity this summer at Sports AdvantEdge with Brian Bott.”
Doyle said the conference was a wonderful learning experience, especially because it was her first time putting an entire event together without the help of a professor. “I believe that the skills I learned from planning this – reaching out to new people, budgeting, advertising, etc. – will help me in my future profession of either athletic training or strength and conditioning coaching. I loved the genuine connections I made with the people within our field.”
Students who attended the event had an opportunity to hear from, and ask questions of, professionals in the HHP field. This aided upper level students in making connections and younger students in deciding which career path they might want to pursue.
“Attending the Orange Shoe Fitness portion helped me to see how stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things help to build confidence and to become a successful health and wellness professional,” said Meagan Jacobson, a senior HHP major with an emphasis in health promotion at UW-Platteville from Darlington, Wisconsin.
Emendorfer stressed the fact that providing opportunities for students to get real-life experience, from start to finish, is invaluable to their education.
“In our Health and Human Performance Department, we strive to not only provide opportunities to enhance the students’ experience, but to also allow our students to gain hands-on experience in a variety of professional settings that aid them in being a quality applicant for positions in the health and wellness field.”
Health and human performance professionals who spoke included:
- Kelly McClyman, health and fitness specialist, Lands’ End, Dodgeville, Wisconsin
- Katie Michel, chief executive officer, managing partner, Orange Shoe Personal Training, Madison, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois areas
- Darien Reese, manager, Anytime Fitness, Platteville
Exercise science professionals who spoke included:
- Dr. Alecia Theile, PT, DPT, MSEd, ATC, LAT, DCE, associate professor and director of Clinical Education at Clarke University, Dubuque, Iowa
- Brian Bott, CSCS, owner of Sports AdvantEdge and Edge Baseball, Verona, Wisconsin
- Dr. Chase Dreesens, D.C. UW-Platteville alumnus, Chiropractic Associates of Platteville
- Dr. Lisa Millin, Doctor of Chiropractic, Chiropractic Associates of Platteville
Physical education professionals who spoke included:
- Danielle Swenson, special education teacher, Mineral Point Elementary School, Mineral Point, Wisconsin
- Sarah Williams, UW-Platteville alumna, physical education teacher, at Winskill Elementary, Lancaster, Wisconsin
- Silas Coleman, UW-Platteville alumnus, physical education teacher, Richland Center High School, Richland Center, Wisconsin
HHP students are currently in the process of planning three future events, including:
April 20: “PAC Night,” Pioneer Activity Center, UW-Platteville
- 4-6 p.m.: Learn how to use all the fitness equipment
- 6-7p.m.: Participate in a group fitness class
- Free to UW-Platteville students, faculty and staff (with appropriate ID)
April 25: “Bags Tournament,” new turf field, UW-Platteville
- Time: to be announced
May 2: “Run for the Rescues 5K Run/Walk,” Memorial Park, UW-Platteville
- Proceeds to be shared with the Grant County Humane Society