September 8, 2017
Kinesiology senior Colleen Sands has been selected to join the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Council. The Council plays a key role in communicating the needs of the student body with Chancellor Subbaswamy, improving the student experience. Sands, a student-athlete for UMass Amherst Cross Country and Track, tells us she hopes to use this opportunity to “become a student leader of positive change on the campus. I aim to improve my leadership skills and act on areas that could use changes to improve the experiences of the student body.”
Sands takes on the council role as a member of the Commonwealth Honors College (CHC), which allowed her to complete an Honors Thesis by her junior year and motivated her to continue on to graduate school, where she plans to pursue either a PhD or DPT degree. “Inspired by my own very positive experiences, I would like to discuss improved methods of exposing all undergraduates to research opportunities. This is particularly important for non-CHC students who are not on a research-focused thesis track. Additionally, I would like to examine potential methods for creating more interdisciplinary opportunities,” says Sands.
“Furthermore, I would like to discuss ways to create more meaningful and quality interactions between students and our faculty. These mentoring relationships are valuable, but such opportunities are seemingly difficult to negotiate.” Sands speaks from experience, having formed a strong bond with Professor of Kinesiology Catrine Tudor-Locke, the SPHHS Associate Dean for Research.
Tudor-Locke nominated Sands for the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Council after having worked with her since the fall of 2016. “I took her 499E course to complete my Honors Thesis. In Spring 2017, I did an independent study in her lab and in summer 2017 I was hired as a part-time undergraduate research assistant.”
Adds Sands, “Dr. Tudor-Locke has been an outstanding mentor in developing my leadership, empowerment, and research skills. She is a strong role model, and continues to find ways to develop my academic and personal growth, such as through nominating me for the Advisory Council.”
Sand’s relationship with Tudor-Locke has inspired her to take on greater issues within her field of study. “My work in the Physical Activity and Health Lab has been a fantastic experience, but other than Dr. Tudor-Locke, it is a predominantly male environment. I would like to discuss creating support systems to encourage more young women to become involved in STEM majors.” Sands also plans to focus on student health, adding, “I’m interested in discussing mental health resources on campus. I have witnessed students in need of these resources who do not readily access them, and believe we need to find ways to bring the resources to the students.”
The Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Council is scheduled to hold its first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year on Monday, September 25.