January 23, 2012 | 1:22 p.m.
By Samantha Allgood '12
This year, Bethel’s quickly-growing exercise science program is expanding to offer services to the approximately 360 students who take the required course Physical Wellness each semester. Through Bethel’s Exercise Medicine and Prevention Center (EMPC), exercise science majors conduct health assessments and risk stratifications, collect health histories, and perform biomechanical and physical assessments on their fellow students.
“We’ve tried to come up with unique offerings for students that other campuses don’t have, and the EMPC is one way of doing that,” says Jamie Dolieslager, assistant athletic trainer and associate professor of health and physical education.
As part of a requirement for both Physical Wellness students and exercise science seniors, students are scheduled to come in to the lab, and after preliminary assessments they may choose from one of six additional tests. Currently, the 22 senior exercise science majors are required to contribute a minimum of four hours a week, working to fulfill their necessary 600 clinical hours for board certification. “We want to give the students real-life scenarios,” explains Seth Paradis, associate professor of health and physical education and director of the exercise science program and the EMPC. “They take a lot of responsibility; it’s a lot of work, and they do it amazingly.”
Looking to the future, the department hopes to expand the lab not only to other students, staff, and faculty, but also to the non-Bethel community, offering a place where individuals can come in for guidance, support, and education about wellness. Both Dolieslager and Paradis speak to the need for developing whole and holy individuals, and promoting the expansion of current facilities to do so. “This program is awesome and unique to us because we have a lot of hands-on time,” comments senior exercise science major Kari Hultgren. “Other schools have a lot of lectures where they hear about it, but we actually get to do it.”