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Meet the Major: Kinesiology

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UMass student standing in front of wall with graffiti. Text: Meet the Major: Kinesiology

Mari Goldstein, a Brookline, Mass., native, came to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for its change of scenery. She loved the idea of being far enough away from home to experience life on her own, but close enough that she could come back if needed. Like many, finances were a driving factor in her college decision, and she is eligible for in-state tuition. Mari is now a third-year kinesiology student, planning on attending PA school after graduation.

Mari’s had a lifelong background in fitness and exercise, earning a world champion title in Kung Fu and being as a very active dancer. These experiences, paired with her interest in science, made kinesiology a good fit for her future career goals.

“The PA track is pretty much pre-med, but a little less intense,” she explained. PA school is a two-year program (instead of four-plus for the pre-med track), including one didactic year and one clinical year. Kinesiology is based more on anatomy and physiology than biology, which is more molecular. This will help her as she works to become a PA.

Mari admits that her classes are hard, but says they've gotten easier for her over time, as the topics begin to intersect and overlap. She said her hardest classes are her pre-requisites for the pre-PA track, which include organic chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, and psychology. While some of these spark her interest, she said her favorite class so far has been Kinesiology 245: Health and Fitness Management. This summer, she plans on earning an EMT license to help better her understanding of the medical industry, and get necessary hands-on experience.

Being a kinesthetic learner, Mari really likes her lab classes, because they help her better understandthe course content. “It’s a collaborative effort. In the real world you won’t work alone, so you need a more hands-on approach” she said. She feels as though UMass has well prepared her to work with others, and looks forward to her senior year.

There are endless job opportunities with a kinesiology degree. Common career paths can include healthcare practitioner such as a doctor, dentist, chiropractor or allied healthcare practitioner (physical therapist, occupational therapist, personal trainer, or physician's assistant) as well as other healthcare positions e.g. respiratory therapist, cardiac care monitor. Students can find employment in the health, wellness and fitness fields such as coaching, corporate wellness, exercise physiology, personal trainer, etc. Academic research paths in both Kinesiology and related STEM fields can be pursued. Industry research in areas related to biomechanics, technology, orthotics and neuromechanics are available to kinesiologists  An example Mari gave was working for the development sector for brands such as Nike, to study shoes designed for running.

Outside of her strenuous classes, Mari stays busy as a captain for the UMass Stage Crew Dance Team, where she choreographs the team’s hip hop numbers. She can also be found at the UMass Recreation Center, or exploring Amherst with her best friends.


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