Prya Oliveira, Staff Writer
Saint Martin’s is expecting its newest major, exercise science, to debut in the Fall of 2019. Aaron Coby, Ph.D., may not be directly associated with the new major, but he was the mastermind behind the program’s creation. Coby combined his knowledge with that of Head Athletic Trainer Alice Loebsack and Professor Tim Healy to create this program. Next fall, Saint Martin’s will be offering both Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) exercise science programs for students who want to enter that field. This is an exciting addition, and as Professor Coby mentioned, there was an “obvious need” for this. He goes on to say, “we’ve had students majoring in biology with the intention of PT school, with particular courses that you need to take with a biology degree, but also requires that you take other classes that you aren’t interested in,” he continues, “but you need to take those requirements for the bio degree.”
To figure out the difference between the BA and BS program, Coby explains what fields of work that you could enter with the Exercise Science major. He says that the BS program is more geared towards physical therapy, which includes physical training, whereas the BA is directed towards students who may be interesting in coaching, athletic training, or management. The BA is a bit more flexible in terms of what your intended career may be. For example, if you wanted to major in biology and minor in exercise science, or vice versa, that would be advisable in preparing for PT school. Or, if you were interested in sports management, you could major in exercise science and minor in business. The opportunity to minor or major in exercise science opens many career opportunities.
Coby shared his thoughts on people switching over to this major, saying, “you could switch, the BA program will be easier. But if you haven’t taken any prerequisites, you should expect heavy loads in the summer, or an extra semester because if you haven’t started the program it would be difficult unless you were a biology major previously since you would have completed the lower division courses.” He says that the BS in exercise science has a bigger lower division requirement in order to enter graduate programs. Professor Coby does believe that this major will grow quickly; he says that “a lot of incoming students have checked the boxes for exercise science or pre-physical therapy. It’s a good time for it to start because the nursing program is starting, and they have similar course requirements like BIO 121.” There will even be two Kinesiology classes that Coby has been working towards creating. One will be intended for the BA in exercise science and the other one will be for the BS that will have a lab connected.
Coby expressed his hopes in this major’s future and was very passionate about the community connections, saying, “It’s the perfect major to establish connections with PT clinics, sports programs in the area, and physical training programs. All of them are good opportunities for Saint Martin’s to establish connections with the community and businesses because we are going to look for student internships.” But going back to the kinesiology class with a lab, Coby continues “as the program develops, we need a lab including technical equipment to do specialized testing. Nursing will be a huge push and exercise science will be there alongside.”
When asked about how the other faculty and staff reacted to the new major, Coby responded with a very strong and supportive attitude, saying “it went through the hoops very quickly and easily. The faculty are supportive, and the administration and students have been very excited. In the end, we will see the major growing with student numbers, then we will see more investment in the program.”
It is clear that having this new exercise science major is a huge success for Saint Martin’s. Many people are interested in taking these classes and going along this pathway, and many are also excited to see how well it does.