In the First Person:
Just six years ago I did not know where my career would lead me. When I got my shot to come to Baylor as a graduate student, I was fortunate enough to be given an assistantship to teach some activity classes that would ultimately be the answer to my prayers. I realized after the first semester that I loved being in the classroom and teaching. I also was learning so much in my HHPR classes that I began to get excited about my field. Through many prayers and conversations with my professors and family I made the decision that I would pursue a PhD and start my career as a university faculty member.
Just as I decided to pursue a terminal degree, I learned of the plans to start a new PhD program in our department. I was ecstatic at the possibilities. Of course I had to be accepted, but the idea of staying at Baylor a few more years was very exciting. I would soon become a member of Baylor’s inaugural class of PhD students in exercise nutrition and preventive health.
Once I got close to graduation I knew where I wanted to go. I wanted to go back to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) and teach at the school where I had graduated in 2001. What were the chances that UMHB would have an exercise science job open at the same time that I graduated? My wife thought the chances where good, but I told her it was one in a million. I guess her faith was stronger than mine, because in May 2006, three months before I graduated, my dream came true and I was hired at UMHB.
Since arriving at UMHB I reflect almost daily on the impact my professors at Baylor had on my life and my career. In five years at Baylor I had personal relationships with almost all of my faculty members. I try to take that same approach now at UMHB. My door is always open, and I am never too busy to talk with a student. This is how my mentors made me feel, and I hope now my students feel the same about me. Accepting the position at UMHB I knew that my primary responsibility was teaching. However, I had no idea how soon I would be able to use the research skills I acquired at Baylor and how rewarding those experiences would be for my students. The doctoral program at Baylor prepared me to do significant research and to open up new opportunities at UMHB. I am now directing a graduate program and research lab that are growing exponentially and providing students and faculty opportunities that did not previously exist.
There are not enough words to describe the impact that my professors at Baylor had on my life. I can only say that I am proud to be a Baylor Bear and that I am living a dream teaching at UMHB. Sic’em Bears!