CSUSB Advising Podcast

Ep. 34 - What is the Kinesiology major?

September 25, 2022 Matt Markin
CSUSB Advising Podcast
Ep. 34 - What is the Kinesiology major?
Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 34 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast, Matt Markin chats with Dr. Nicole Dabbs from the Kinesiology department! What is the Kinesiology major? What concentrations are offered? What career opportunities are there? What resources are there for students in Kinesiology? Find out in this episode!

For more information on the Kinesiology major, visit the Kinesiology website

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Hey Yoties. Welcome back to another episode of the CSUSB advising podcast. My name is Matt Markin academic advisor. And on today's episode, we're learning more about the Kinesiology major and who better to chat with and the kinesiology department chair, Dr. Nicole Dabbs. Dr. Dabbs welcome. Hi. Thanks for having me. And before we get into the actual major, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure, yeah. I am a Kinesiology Professor and Department Chair currently just started the department chair role. I've been at CSUSB for 10 years. So I have a lot of experience here and understanding our students, which is really I think, helpful. And seeing how our campus and our own program has grown over the years which has been which has been great. Personally, my, my bachelor's degree and master's degree in Kinesiology is from Cal State Fullerton. So I have a CSU background, which is nice, and I think relatable to students. And then I was formally trained in my kind of background discipline, which is biomechanics at the University of Mississippi. So I left California and went to Ole Miss, and I got a whole new experience in the college life in that type of SEC, university environment. And following my graduation, I came back to California and was really eager to be in the CSU system.

Yeah, so definitely came back home to the CSU. You know, can you tell us a little bit more about the Kinesiology major how you would describe it?

Yeah, usually, especially when I was in school, at least, that no one knew what kinesiology was. So it was kind of this unheard of thing. And so we I always had a standard answer. And so my standard answer is the study of human movement. That's kind of the at the simplest core. But to get a little bit more specific for students listening. In our field, we look at human movement in a variety of perspectives. And one of those is looking at mechanically how the body is moving. That's a little bit more what I study, and do research in. And then we also look at the physiological effects of movement. So how the body is physiologically moving and what systems are working throughout the body. During that process, we looked at chemically how the body is processing the food we eat, and how that helps us to move. We also look at human movement throughout a lifespan. So from infancy, it's throughout development through puberty, and then through the aging process as well. And so I think understanding having our students understand that is important because they might be working with different populations in their careers, we also have a little bit more of a clinical side of areas where we look at injury risk, maybe what's the athlete population, or how to recover from injury, how to rehab injuries, some of our students will go into those are interested in those areas a little bit more. And then we also are really interested in making sure our students understand how to adapt human movement with anyone with a disability. So if that's a cognitive disability, or physical disability, that is kind of where where our core curriculum, those all those areas are, where a core curriculum really lies. And then you get to kind of specialize then in one of our three concentrations, which then goes a little bit deeper into different areas.

With CSUSB, with the Kinesiology major, you know, you have different concentrations. Can you talk about each of those concentrations? Like what are the differences?

Yeah, of course. So the way our program set up is, again, we have these core set of courses, so all of our majors will take the same subset of courses. And then they get to choose which concentration they want to go be in. So that will be a little bit dictated, or we advise them to go into a concentration based on their career goals. And so that's some of some of the first conversations we have is what can you do with this degree and then within the concentration, where does that guide you to? And so one of our concentrations, our biggest concentration is our exercise science concentration. And so these students are typically interested in exercise, being an exercise physiologist, being an athletic trainer. Students are often interested in the fitness industry, so whether that's a personal trainer or owning their own business, within that area, some of those those are kind of where some of those students fall, sometimes strength conditioning, all those kind of falls in the exercise science area and there's some other ones. And then we also have allied health promotion, this is an impacted concentration, which means you can get into it as a freshman if you come here and you as a freshman with a certain criteria. If you don't meet that criteria, then you can come in as just a kinesiology major and then work towards getting into that concentration later. If you come in as a transfer student, then you can't transfer indirectly to that. So we often recommend for students to go into the exercise science concentration to start, and then we'll work towards those prereqs to get in. So some of those, those concentration areas are going to be focused on like the chem series physics series, really prepping our students to go into a graduate program within the clinical areas. So that's going to be areas like physical therapy, occupational therapy, PA, those are the main ones that our students focus on. And so once you meet that criteria, which we have posted on our website, you then can request to be added into that concentration. So a little more legwork, there is a GPA requirement, you have to have a 3.2 GPA to get into that impacted concentration. And that's really designed to make sure students really understand that GPA. And those courses are really, really important to get into those programs post graduation. And really, if you don't have that minimum GPA, you're it's going to be really difficult to get into there. So trying, if that's not what they're able to meet, then trying to rehab those conversations with students and refocus them in a different area that they're also interested in. And then our last concentration is physical education and adapted physical education. And this is an area where our students have a really clear and direct path of what they want to do, probably our most direct path. And this will prepare students to be physical education teachers in the K through 12, setting and adapted physical education teachers, so they take classes that prepare students to understand how to teach kids how to be physically active, and the importance of that throughout their life, in different forms, so whether that's related to just movement itself, or sometimes that involves sport movement, and then also how to adapt movement for individuals disability. So give those students get them get some really prepared to go into that credential program. So they can go right into a credential program, of course, at the apply and get in and all that stuff. But once they do that, then it's pretty a direct path to a career.

do you have any students that want to do allied health, but then they don't meet the impaction criteria, but they're like, I still want to go on to grad school, is there hope for that student?

There is I mean, there you can, as long as you meet, like, every grad school has the these requirements to get in. So as long as you take those courses to get in you, you can do, you can still apply, the GPA is big, right? Your your GPA does dictate a lot with these programs. And so that's why we have that there is so we also don't want to, you know, prepare students prepare for an area when they're not, they're not really academically ready. And so if they can't keep up the that GPA here, they're probably going to struggle then in a graduate program, because they're so rigorous. And so it's really preparing them to make sure they have the discipline and in what they need to do. Now, of course, there it happens. And it happens a lot that students specially transfer students, they take so many credits at a community college and they transfer it and they that and they didn't do so well, those first years, but then they're really refocused and driven. And so that sometimes can drive down their GPA. And so that does factor in a little bit for us. But where that does factor in is they could take the classes that they need for grad school as an extra science concentration. Or sometimes students take it after they graduate at a community college and still apply. So there's not that there's no hope. But there's, you know, obviously, we're restricted a little bit on how much we can require here. For for the abandonment of units they can take, but some of our students also will dual concentrate, so they'll concentrate in exercise science and allied health. And that will kind of prepare them for maybe both areas, depending on what they end up doing. So that kind of gives them a little bit more options and, and give them a little more of the heavier content and in the in the Kinesiology related areas, too.

Yeah, and I guess this leads into the next question is like, let's say, students, they're very interesting kinesiology, they they like, let's say, listen to this. They like what you've said on it, or they researched it. And they really liked the area, but they're kind of unsure what concentration they may want to try to pursue. Do you have any suggestions for that student?

Yeah, we have, we have an advisor, a faculty that kind of leads our advising internally, which is still limited, because all of our advising is going to central, but we still have, we like to have someone in house that kind of helps our students when they need it internally, because obviously we know the most about our area. And specifically with career advisement, which I think is more what you're talking about is is something that all of our faculty should be able to help students with. So if a student is trying to figure out what to do, I would suggest finding a faculty member in our department, we have, you know, 15 of them around you, um, at least from our full time and then we have another 20 to 30 of part time and they they're always more than willing to meet with students and talk to them about what they want to do. Do their future careers, and then guide them what what area might look best if they're coming as a freshman of gives them a little more time and leeway to because they can get some GEs done as they're trying to figure that out that first year or so. But we do want to get them pretty early because of the prerequisites that we have with all of our courses, it can lead into delaying graduation if we don't start taking anatomy and phys pretty soon in our program. So yeah, I would say the first step is finding an instructor. If you're taking a class instructor, go to them, if you're not in our taking any of our classes yet, then have the courage to go after the students have the courage to go to a faculty member. I know that's overwhelming sometimes, and sometimes intimidating. But our faculty are more than happy to be with you and chat with you. And sometimes going to our student clubs, that's where our students live, and they breathe, and they do all this stuff together. And so you can always go to a we have a student club and our Kinesiology Student Association. And that's a great way to talk to your peers. They can talk to their peers about their major and what they're doing. And that gives them some different a different perspective and insight because I think that is really valuable, too.

Yeah, absolutely. And you're mentioning with any of the concentrations are still going to be like core classes that the student has to do. Not that you have to go through all of them. But generally speaking, what are students learning maybe in some of those core classes?

Yeah, our students, first kind of the base foundation is going to be taken anatomy and phys and those that's from a biology, and that really lays the foundation of understanding the body and how it works. And then once they have that foundation, then there's other classes they can take following that that kind of carries forward into more specific to our discipline. And then our classes are kind of introducing the discipline of what careers you can do. So we have our Kinesiology 2100, which is a really good class to take early, early on, either in your first year here as transfer student or your first year here as a freshman because it's going to introduce you to all the area's within our field and that will that class itself could really help and guide you guide the student through the you know, the process of trying to figure out what what concentration probably would be best for them based on their interests. And then we have exercise physiology, we have movement anatomy, principles of human movement, which is, you know, taking what you learned anatomy and phys and applying it to the movement aspect. So kind of connecting those dots. From that foundational classes. We have a statistics class related to our disciplines to six in kinesiology, there's motor development, so we have adapted physical activity, so learning how to adapt physical activity to different individuals with different variety of different disabilities. We also have students learn about just physical activity. In general, we require students that take two physical activity classes. They can choose whatever ones that we offer, but that also gives a really good understanding of you know, how their own body works. And that will help them understand other people's bodies to if they start to make sure they're they're moving in their understanding different exercise modalities or sports depending on what they choose. So they have a wide, wide range of activity classes that students can choose from.

Now question we get, especially as first year advisors from students is that one of the GE requirements is the foundation seminar. And there's a wide list of classes a student can take, but and they only need one and one of them that they could choose from is kinesiology 2050. So sometimes we get should I do that class? If I'm going to be a kinesiology major? What would be your answer to that?

Well, I do think it gives a good general foundation into some of the aspects that we go into with within Kinesiology. So my, my direct answer would be yes, because I do think it gives that view. And then if you take that class, or like, Oh, this is I'm not if you're like not interested in that class, then I would say you probably should change your major. That's step. But I do think it's broad enough where it it relates to anyone on campus. So that's, of course, why it's a G class and a foundation class because it touches areas where students can really focus on mental health and physical health, and overall well being. And so I think that's really important for any student on our campus. And so I think that's why students are drawn to that class a lot, because it gives us holistic approach. And then also introduces them to those resources on campus, which is important and within those areas. So it kind of ties really nicely into introducing a student, a new student to campus and the areas that they can utilize on campus along with learning the kind of the foundation of how to implement that in your own lives with learning how to manage it, manage your stress, manage sleep, all those things that are there's a lot of new scheduling happening during that first semester, especially right now. out this these freshmen in the 2050 class are really you know, they're they're probably overwhelmed with their new schedule and then this class ideally would help them try to manage those skills and figure out ways to cope with that. So yeah, I think for for someone that's a kinesiology major, I would take it because then it would introduces that area and then early on, if that is something that you're not interested in, I would say, it might be good it might be good to relook at what your interests are.

And do you find that there's any misconceptions that one might have about the about kinesiology or the Kinesiology major?

Well, I think probably historically, the misconceptions always been like kinesiology majors or like the jocks, or something. They're always only like the athletes, which of course, we do have athletes that are interested because they're interested in movement in sports medicine, but we do have a pretty hard science foundation. And so we do, our students have a rigorous science foundation. And so I think that's something to make sure that it's not just about playing outside and being and just exercising all the time, right, we're learning about why our body's responding in certain ways. And, and so I think there's a lot of back into that, and making sure that, that we understand the science scientific foundation within within our discipline. So I guess that was probably the biggest one. I don't know if if students have other ones, maybe I'm out of the loop. But but that's probably the one at least when I was going to school as a student, that was probably the biggest one that that stood out.

And then you've already talked about some of the resources that your department offers. Um, is there anything that you anything else that you think might be great for students to know about Kinesiology?

Yeah, I mean, we have is the Kinesiology Student Association, that club is really active. And they they do a lot of events with faculty to network with faculty, and also their own events, they bring in speakers, for different different careers, a lot of time alumni, which is really, we encourage them to do, because it really connects, I think, to the students, they are all there just in our seats, you know, taking our classes, and now they're in their careers. And so I think it gives them hope that there's that they have a vision, someday. And then other resources is going to be you know, our faculty just individually, depending on their interests, we encourage our students to get involved with faculty, whether that's that, you know, doing research with them in a laboratory setting, or that could be going to community service events, our faculty are this next month, they're going to be going to elementary school, and they have a Health Week, and we're going to be you know, our students are going to go with some faculty to do a bike day and they get to, you know, kind of work with them and talk to them about why it's important to move and be physically active. And so we like to involve our students in all those activities. We often bring students to campus from from K through 12. And they get to to our labs and do all the fun stuff that we have in our labs. And so I think that's, those are really good opportunities to connect with our community and show. You know, what our major is about our website is really resourceful that it's going to that's something that you should be able to find a lot of information. Specifically, if you're talking about advising our classes. We have if you just Google CSUSB kinesiology advising, it will go to our advising page, those have roadmaps, they have our advising sheets that are laid out pretty nicely that you could then you know, create your own myCAPs with, there's links to Dr. Ng's appointment calendar to meet with him if you want to get specific advising within our own department, which is limited, but they're there for students. And then we also have an Instagram that you can find we update things on there and announce things there. So that's that the handle is @CSUSBKines CSUSBKines. So a lot of times students will find information there, we'll post pictures or events that we're having to, you know, advertise that or to show what our students are doing. If they're presenting at conferences across the country, our students are so great. They do so many great things. We had students in New Orleans and San Diego presenting research as undergrads to you know, audiences from international audiences. So, our students are doing really cool stuff. And so it's really great to highlight all this stuff that they do. Yeah.

100%. So it seems like contact wise a lot of informations on the website. They want to get a hold of a faculty member or possibly schedule an appointment, or even going into social media seeing a lot of the events that are going on. But Dr. Dabbs thank you so much for being on the podcast, a lot of useful information.

Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having me.

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