When Marielle Rando ’14 graduates, she will become one of the first students to complete Randolph’s new sport and exercise studies program. The major will help her fulfill plans for a career in sports medicine, but Rando knows the liberal arts nature of the academic program will also open up many other occupations to her. The program was created to prepare students to pursue a number of related fields, such as sports management, exercise science, physical therapy, or dietetics.
“They did a good job of designing this major,” said Rando, who is also majoring in Spanish. “In similar programs at bigger schools you only get the training aspect of sports. Here, you get everything.”
Carolyn Sarson, who began her career at Randolph 22 years ago as an athletic trainer, spearheaded the creation of the new major. During her years as an athletic trainer, her main focus was to help student athletes avoid or recover from injuries, but she also found a home in the classroom. “I’ve always had a passion for mentoring students and seeing them develop academically,” Sarson said. “It’s gratifying to see students learn.”
Over the years, Sarson taught one class each semester in addition to her athletic training duties. Recently, she began the work necessary to design a major that would provide a liberal arts take on the study of sports and exercise.
The major requires students to take classes covering a variety of topics including nutrition, gender issues, dance, the psychology of sport, facilities management, and physiology. The breadth of coursework helps students develop a well-rounded understanding of how to work with athletes, help people who want to improve their health, and manage athletic facilities.
John Grundy ’14, who plans on becoming a personal trainer, said that the liberal arts background of the sport and exercise studies major is beneficial. “I appreciate the fact that the major has a wide range of classes because I can use all those different skills in my career,” Grundy said. “And if I change my interests later in life, I will be prepared to try something different.”
The major also requires students to complete an internship. Last summer, Grundy worked as a personal trainer at a local YMCA gym. The internship gave him real experience with clients and taught him how to adapt his training to meet a client’s needs. He was also able to see firsthand how his interest in sports fused with what he was learning in the classroom in his psychology minor and science classes.
“The students love the diversity of courses and the ability to focus in a particular area of interest with an internship experience and elective courses,” Sarson said. “It will be extremely exciting when our first majors receive degrees in 2014.”