Kelsey Lindberg will graduate with a master's degree in kinesiology Saturday and start her dream job June 1

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Kelsey Lindberg will graduate with a master's degree in kinesiology Saturday and start her dream job June 1

After blazing through an intense four-year program of study – including three summers – Kelsey Lindberg collected a dual degree: nursing and physical education, exercise science and wellness.

Then, while all her nursing school buddies were going off to well-paid work in clinical settings, Lindberg set about advancing her academic credentials with a two-year master's program.

"I kept my focus," said Lindberg, a Blaine, Minn., native, who took several college classes and played varsity volleyball in high school.

Lindberg walks the stage Saturday (May 11) to get her masters of science degree in kinesiology, a program of the UND Department of Physical Education, Exercise Science and Wellness, part of the College of Education and Human Development.

Her initial inspiration to come to UND: an older brother who was studying business here invited Lindberg to tour the campus.

"I absolutely loved it," said Lindberg. "I came in as an undecided and started taking intro courses. I took my first physiology course from Dr. James Haselton and his graduate teaching assistant Raul Torres – what an amazing experience! I found something where I could not shut the book. I was also inspired by Dr. Joshua Guggenheimer's exercise physiology class."

Lindberg, who has done many volunteer activities including Special Olympics, found a career path long before she graduated.

"I knew I wanted to know more about a subject that I love, so that's why I applied for the graduate program in kinesiology," said Lindberg.

In this program, students study the scientific foundations of kinesiology as well as several of its professional applications. The kinesiology program individually caters to students who are interested in a variety of related areas, such as exercise physiology, sport and exercise psychology, fitness/wellness, sports coaching and teacher education.

Designing a class

Lindberg put that program into action with a specially designed exercise class for women.

"It started as an independent study in beginning women's fitness and conditioning," said Lindberg, who was encouraged to put it together to help young women deal with media images of what women "should" look like. "I had 13 college women in the class, two days a week for one hour and 15 minutes. The feedback I got was amazing; the group cohesion was wonderful."

Her fitness class was considered a basic instructional program course (BIP).

The Physical Education, Exercise Science and Wellness department's BIP consists of a variety of class offerings including individual sports such as swimming, boxing, and diving; dual sports like tennis and badminton; team sports including basketball and volleyball; and physical activity classes such as strength training, physical conditioning and fitness walking.

In addition to providing physical activity opportunities, the BIP is also designed to help University students gain the skills, knowledge and attitudes that favor lifelong physical activity.

The Duke connection

Lindberg's master's degree program included an internship last summer at the Duke University Health & Fitness center, doing a broad range of physical fitness activities, including work with arthritis patients and folks recovering from cardiovascular ailments, among others.

"I also got to do a neuromuscular class with persons with Parkinson's, which I absolutely loved," said Lindberg, who was inspired by that activity to run in the Chicago Marathon last year as part of a Parkinson's Disease Foundation benefit. "You can read about Parkinson's but there's nothing like actually working with people who are affected by it."

Marathon? She's run several, including most recently the Fargo Marathon.

"Well, I didn't have a car when I first came to school, so I ran everywhere!" said Lindberg, who lived on campus for a couple of years. "It's a great way to learn where everything is."

The basic skill she learned to use effectively in college: ask a lot of questions. The follow-up to that skill is to use the many resources available for students.

College transformation

"College is a transformative experience," she said, especially if you connect with faculty who take the time to answer questions, provide guidance and inspire you to do your best.

"It's not just faculty, either," said Lindberg. "I went to career services my first year to do a resume – I met Michelle Trostad there who helped me put together an (outstanding) resume, which helped me land exactly the kind of job I was aiming for."

During her internship at Duke, Lindberg cruised to the nearby coastal community of Wilmington, N.C., where she found an ambience she really enjoyed.

"It was beautiful like Minnesota, but without the winters," Lindberg said. "So I looked around for companies in my field of interest and found a corporate wellness company. I emailed the owner and got an interview. I told them I wasn't graduating for a year, but I was persistent, kept in touch and I start there June 1.

The job is a corporate wellness consultant, which includes helping companies with tobacco reduction and cessation, cardiovascular risk programs and organizing events such as company races.

"It's all about getting people active and raising corporate spirit," she said. "I got a job doing exactly what I want to do."

Juan Miguel Pedraza

University and Public Affairs writer

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