Students taking the SPSC 341 course are looking for individuals to conduct exercise, health and fitness assessments. The results are used to create training programs for these people.
The project is called a customer project because the students recruit other people on campus to participate as customers. Students learn medical history and perform health screening to assess and identify the risk of a cardiovascular event during exercise. Fitness assessments are then conducted to inform health status and allow students to create a customized exercise program for their clients.
Katie Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Health Education. She also serves as the Director of Honors Education and teaches SPSC 341 practice tests and recipes. Smith said this project has been around longer than her seven-year stint at Simpson.
“It gives students a chance to collaborate with someone and apply the skills they’re learning in the lab and in class,” Smith said. “The implementation outside of the classroom will be similar to what they will experience when they do their internships and jobs.”
Recruiting students to conduct these assessments was a challenge. In the past, an email was sent to Simpson students discussing the project and they had a waiting list within hours.
Smith said changes in campus communications have made it difficult to get the word out.
“This problem could be solved by allowing students to bring a friend, but part of what we want students to learn is that if they’re uncomfortable, they’re comfortable,” she said. “To work closely and do health and fitness assessments, you need to measure closely with the person.”
Students also practice processing the results of the assessments and communicating them to the customer in a way they can understand. Motivating and encouraging clients to make changes to lead a healthy lifestyle are skills they will use every day in their profession. Smith said most students will take a subsequent course on special populations.
“Our May Term course involves working with people who have already been diagnosed suffer from a medical condition or are at a certain stage in the life cycle that requires an adjustment in their exercise program,” she said.
Students can choose from a variety of cardiovascular fitness tests based on their client’s health history. Some tests such as flexibility, muscle strength and muscular endurance are performed by all customers. Smith said students will study the various tests until at least spring break.
“We want to support you in this process and hope you find it helpful too,” she said. “The second thing I would say is don’t be intimidated. We’re not looking for highly qualified people to come in and do these tests.”
Interested students have until February 15 to contact Katie Smith. This is a free service, and customers receive a customized training program after the reviews.
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