Master Master

Back to School at Concordia University, St. Paul

I have an exciting announcement — I’m going BACK TO SCHOOL!


After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2002, I thought I was done. Peace out, college. Hello, real world!

That mentality worked great for a few years, but as I obtained more and more career experience, I realized I wanted to be able to back up my practice with deeper knowledge and science-based research. I saw too many of my health professional peers provide advice based on personal opinion and Google searches because they lacked the education to back up their practice. Even worse, once I took my practice private and began having an online presence, I was astonished by how many “experts” I saw. Too many people claimed to be nutritionists, health coaches, wellness practitioners, etc. with a degree in creative writing and a three-month certificate course or no nutrition education at all. This baffled, saddened and frustrated me to no end.

While I couldn’t shut down all the self-appointed health “gurus” on social media, I could work to improve my own practice and distinguish myself for having the right education to back up my claims. For this reason, I enrolled in a human nutrition master’s degree program and completed a thesis project to further my commitment to learning and growing. I succeeded in growing my knowledge of current trends, practice guidelines, and emerging research in nutrition science applications.

When I graduated, I had no feeling of “I’m done!” Instead, I went straight on to tackle a grueling process to become a Board-certified sports dietitian. This requires thousands of hours of real-world practice, several references, years of prior education, and a very difficult exam. I successfully completed this process, certifying that I am an actual expert in the industry. Adding these post-nominal letters (M.S., CSSD) are an identifier in any bio, application, etc. that immediately speak to my expertise and increase my qualifications to whoever is seeing it.

Done yet? Not so fast.

Like many, I feel the constant need to keep up with current trends and research and continue to improve. Having the education to practice a profession is my stance and to authentically uphold this viewpoint, I feel I must be educated in everything I preach to my audience and clients. I started out as a wellness dietitian, moved into the field of performance, and now, as I compete as a professional athlete, I talk and write a lot about physical performance. I have personal experience in this area, and at one point, I held my personal trainer certification, but that doesn’t compare to having years of accredited study in the field.

This is why I have chosen to enroll in the online Master of Science in Exercise Science program at Concordia University, St. Paul. I want to further my ability and credibility to accurately preach and prescribe exercise. I am extremely excited to dig deep into the practice and research of exercise science. I am most looking forward to the Biomechanics in Exercise Science course. This class will allow me to further my knowledge of how our complex bodies work on an internal level (tissues, muscles, bone) against outside factors (friction, wind, etc.) to perform. This information, along with knowledge gained in the exercise prescription course (which will help me take these factors and turn them into a logical, beneficial plan of action) will play a huge role in my own performance success and the advice I provide to my clients and audience.

As you know, I travel often for work and racing, so I need a program that can be completed online. An online program can sometimes feel very distant and disconnected from peers and professors. Lessening this aspect was a large part of what drew me to choose CSP Online; their graduate program enrolls a group of peers who work on the same course schedule. With mandatory weekly live classes, the entire group of students and professors are accountable to be present and participate. This means that instead of being thrown into classes with random students taking exercise science courses as electives, I get to start and finish with the same group of students fully invested in the master’s in exercise science program. Although I’ll be learning from around the world over the next two years, I will be closely connected to my peers throughout the learning process. My previous master’s did not offer this, so I can definitely see the benefit of a cohort program like the one offered by CSP.

It won’t be an easy two years. I’ll be racing, working, and traveling all while taking on this master’s degree. But I’m ready and excited to take this on because I know the benefit that I’ll gain at the end of this will be completely worth it.