Internship Leads to Job for Exercise and Sport Science Alum and Disabled Vet
Miguel Mercado-Bentancourt BS, certified personal trainer and disabled veteran works full-time for one of the fastest growing fitness companies in the world, Onnit. Mercado-Bentacourt first earned an internship in the Austin, TX site while completing his degree requirements for Exercise and Sport Science. The company embraces "Total Human Optimization," a concept fitting of Mercado-Bentancourt, who spent six years in active duty under the Department of Defense as part of a maritime anti-terrorism force protection unit serving the Marines and Navy. Mercado-Bentancourt says he “carried a big gun in a tiny little boat." The vegan family man was drawn to Exercise and Sport Science after his service as he reflected on how so many illnesses could be prevented through lifestyle changes. He attended a personal training institute in Winter Park, FL just months into civilian life in 2013. An instructor there encouraged Mercado-Bentancourt to get a degree in Exercise and Sport Science. Mercado-Bentancourt chose Nova Southeastern University and forged a relationship with Corey Peacock PhD CSCS CISSN CPT and Tobin Silver PhD CSCS, the professors who facilitated the Onnit internship that led to a job. As Mercado-Bentancourt puts it, “not bad for a 41-year-old, disabled vet with learning disabilities!”
Students Assess Professional Hockey Hopefuls at Panthers' D-Camp
For the third year in a row, Tommy Powers, CSCS, PES, CES, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Florida Panthers, invited members of the Exercise and Sport Science program to assist him and his staff at development camp. Following the camp, students were then presented with the opportunity to assist the veteran players. Tommy and NSU professors, Corey Peacock, PhD, CSCS and Tobin Silver, PhD, CSCS forged a professional relationship three years ago when Tommy began his position with the Panthers. The professors quickly volunteered students to assist Tommy and his staff in performing fitness assessments such as: Functional Movement Assessment (Overhead Squat, Single Leg Squat, Active Knee Extension Hamstring Flexibility Test, and Kneeling Rotation), Body Fat, Single Leg Vertical Jump, Vertical Jump, Functional Push Up, Functional Pull Up, and Front & Side Bridge (Plank). The goals were to identify injury risk and areas of improvement. Samuel Castillo, a recent graduate in Athletic Training with a minor in Exercise and Sport Science said, "It was definitely a great experience. [It] helped me get repetitions under my belt for functional testing as well as my evaluation and goniometer skills." As the program's Practicum Director, Dr. Silver especially likes working alongside Dr. Peacock and the students as he sees the benefits of the students not only getting hands-on experience with what they've learned in class, but the opportunity to network with the Panther's coaching staff.
Allison Siegel Shares Her Fight To Success
Pursuing a degree in Exercise and Sports Science has opened many doors for me and given me the knowledge and confidence to pursue my career in the fitness industry. I came into NSU undecided on my path, but after taking a course with Dr. Monique Mokha during my first semester, I declared my major. I felt an immediate connection to the subject matter and knew this was the right direction for me. I became a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine after my first year. As I continued through my courses in this program, I was fortunate enough to meet a guest speaker in one of my classes. Chris Mignocchi, 2014 NSU graduate and owner of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Gym franchises, spoke to us about his business and gave me the opportunity to interview for a job with him. I was hired on as a Membership Specialist and when it came time for my senior year internship and practicum, I was lucky enough to be able to learn personal fitness techniques from UFC Gym certified coaches, as well as complete a management internship, preparing me for my future career. My faculty advisor, Dr. Tobin Silver, stayed in close contact with me and monitored my progress along the way. Upon completion of my internship, I was promoted to Assistant General Manager of UFC Gym Marina Mile. I now graduate, knowing that I am fully prepared to take my place in this industry, thanks to the education I received at NSU. Each of my professors took a personal interest in my success and guided me through my journey. I will be forever grateful for the knowledge I gained while earning my degree.
Allison graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Science May, 2016.
Students Assist in Pre-season Screenings at St. Louis Cardinals' Training Camp
Four Exercise and Sport Science students and two Athletic Training students put theory into practice at 5:15 AM on Day 1 of the St. Louis Cardinals' (professional baseball) training camp in Jupiter, FL. They assisted Rob Butler, Ph.D., PT, the Cardinals' Director of Sport Performance and his staff with performance testing of the players. Students helped assess movement patterns using the Functional Movement Screen, grip strength using hand dynamometers, body composition using the Bod Pod, and lower quarter function using the Y-balance test. This group of students was selected based on their interest in the science and medicine of professional baseball, and their proficiency with administering the previously mentioned tests. NSU's Exercise and Sport Science laboratory houses this same equipment, and students have learned these skills in their courses. Dustin Gatens, MS, ATC from NSU Athletic Training assisted as well and was the NSU staff representative with the students.
2016 Outstanding Student Award
The 2016 Senior Outstanding Student Award is Brittany Calaluca! She was nominated by the Exercise and Sport Science faculty, then the Program Directors of the seven College of Health Care Science undergraduate programs reviewed bios and casted votes. Brittany not only earned academic distinction of a GPA > 3.5, but was an engaged and influential member in the major and student body here at NSU. She was president of the Exercise and Sport Science Organization (ESSO), growing the organization in numbers and exposure off and on campus. Under her presidency, record numbers of ESSO majors attended regional and national meetings held by the International Society of Sport Nutrition. Individually, she participated in a research independent study on running mechanics which resulted in a 2nd place finish (Brittany was co-author with another student) at the 2016 Undergraduate Student Symposium. Brittany holds certifications as a personal trainer (CPT) and is certified in sport nutrition from the International Society of Sport Nutrition (CISSN). She was selected to deliver a TedXNSU talk in 2014 ("Rising Above The Magazine Covers"), being the only undergraduate to earn such an honor. She is currently serving as an Intern (non-academic) for the Strength and Conditioning program in NSU Athletics, implementing training programs and functional testing for the Cheer and Dance teams. Brittany has been accepted into the Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology graduate program at Barry University where she begins coursework this May.
Students Earn 2nd Place for Research Project
Congratulations to seniors, Kourtney Kostzer and Brittany Calaluca for taking 2nd place at this year's Undergraduate Student Symposium on April 8th, 2016! Kourtney gave the oral presentation of their study, A Novel Approach to Gait Retraining in Competitive Runners. Monique Mokha, Ph.D., ATC, CSCS was the faculty sponsor. Way to represent our program in the research arena!