Page 1



1. Letter from the Chair

2. What is HHPR?

3. Where are They Now?

4. Internship Edge

5. Veggie Vans 6. Student Story

Account Executive & Creative Director: Kaitlyn Harp Staff: Jennifer Janicki, Kiara Nowlin, Amanda Piker, Mathieu Hodnett


Greetings and welcome to the inaugural edition of our department magazine. The Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, or HHPR for short, has a long-standing history within education. Like so many similar programs across the country, our principle programs revolved around health and physical education years ago. Through the years, the programs typically housed in departments such as ours began to migrate to the health sciences due mainly to the landmark discoveries linking the movement sciences to improved health outcomes where it is now a fundamental behavior in preventive medicine. Now located in the newly formed Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, HHPR has six undergraduate majors. In addition to studying within their respective disciplines, our students gain real life and service outreach experiences as part of our Christian mission. Graduate education is also flourishing in HHPR. We provide master’s level programming for professional preparation in Athletic Training, Exercise Physiology, Sports Pedagogy and Public Health. These programs are consistently in high demand as we develop exceptional professionals that represent the Baylor name. Our highly ranked doctoral degree (KENHP), a multi-disciplinary PhD program, helps prepare qualified researchers and educators who are mentored in the areas of Kinesiology, Exercise Nutrition and Health Promotion. As you read through the pages of our new magazine, I’m sure you’ll gain novel and intriguing insights about our students and our faculty. You will also discover our passion for health and wellness. In good health,

Paul M. Gordon, Ph.D., MPH, FACSM Professor and Chair

WHAT DOES HHPR HAVE TO OFFER? HHPR students claim one of six majors as freshman: * Exercise Physiology * Health, Kinesiology and Leisure Studies * Health Science Studies * Physical Education * Public Health * Recreation and Leisure Services HHPR minors include: * Dance * Public Health * Recreation Ministry (partnership with Department of Religion)

WHAT IS By Jennifer Janicki

HEALTH, HUMAN PERFORMANCE AND RECREATION The HHPR Department is focused on different aspects of public health, physical activity, sports and quality of life. Many graduates enter medical and health-related fields or pursue vocational opportunities in church recreation, outdoor recreation, exercise physiology, sport psychology, athletic training, health education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical practice and nutrition.

Master’s Programs include: * Athletic Training * Exercise Physiology * Public Health * Sport Pedagogy Doctoral Program in: Kinesiology, Exercise Nutrition and Health Promotion Students gain valuable professional experience by completing the program’s mandatory clinical experience or internship requirement. HHPR has had students fulfill the requirement in six countries, 27 states and 154 cities. Additionally, students have the opportunity to travel on two study abroad programs – Baylor in Brazil and Baylor in Australia. Baylor in Brazil is designed for students interested in global public health with a faith-based perspective of the natural and social sciences. On Baylor in Australia, students explore the relationship between people and their natural environments through different perspectives. HHPR students have advising every semester with a professional advisor and access to some of the nation’s top laboratory facilities with the capability to conduct various health assessments and with features like the latest exercise-related tests and equipment.

HOW CAN YOU JOIN HHPR? For most HHPR majors, admissions requirements are the traditional entrance requirements for the university. However, those interested in pursuing a degree in Health Science Studies must meet additional ACT and SAT scores to be admitted to the program. Throughout the program, Health Science Studies students must also maintain a required GPA. To see the most recent requirements, please visit the Health, Human Performance and Recreation website at Students interested in Physical Education must meet the required GPA as determined by the Baylor School of Education.

Tricia O’Daniel



This series features alumni of the HHPR department at Baylor University. They shared their experiences as a Baylor student and how the HHPR department has helped them chase their dreams.

Public Health

When Tricia O’Daniel started at Baylor in the spring of 2012, she was what you would call a “non-traditional student.” She walked the sidewalks of campus wondering how she would manage the next two years with a student body half her age. More often than not, she was the oldest in her classes. However, she never felt out of place and received the same treatment students fresh out of high school did. Baylor was the perfect place for her to finish what she had started so many years ago. All of her professors encouraged her to look outside of the box in community health education. She was taught complex programming techniques, which she uses daily as a Community Health Educator for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services. Interning in the Wellness Department and working closely with the staff gave her the hands-on experience to take the knowledge she learned in the classroom and make a difference in various communities. That is where she felt like she truly made a difference and improved the quality of life of individuals.

“Embrace your Baylor experience because it is like no other. Everyone genuinely cares about your success, so don’t be afraid to take chances and get involved no matter your age!” -Tricia



Chris Rosser grew up visiting the Baylor campus with his father while he was teaching and working to complete his doctorate. The fond memories of visiting the bear pit and hearing the bells on campus flow through his mind constantly. He was so proud to wear green and gold and the letters “BU” across his chest on the t-shirts he received. Down the road, Chris’ childhood memories turned into reality and he got to be a Baylor Bear. He graduated from Baylor with a BBA in Accounting and found a job in Waco. Chris soon realized accounting was not for him. After several life changing events, he relied heavily on his faith to guide him in a new direction. He then came in contact with Dr. Cloud, the former chair of the HHPR deparment. After various hours spent in Dr. Cloud’s office, he chose to pursue Exercise Physiology and become a coach. After being exposed to Cardiac Rehab, he knew that this is where he belonged. He worked with Dr. Johnston through his Exercise Physiology lab and she really encouraged him to continue moving forward. Today, Chris has been in Cardiac Rehab and Pulmonary Rehab for 20 years. For 17 years, he has worked at the Getterman Wellness Center. He looks forward meeting and working with patients every day; teaching them how to live with a chronic disease and attain the best quality of life possible. For the last three years, he has been the Manager of Cardiopulmonary and Wellness Programs. His goal is to reach out into the community and help people in need. One of the greatest rewards Chris has received as Manager is being a part of a team that cares and works together seamlessly to bring wellness to the patients that God brings to their programs.

“Baylor was truly a place where I found myself and a career that has proven to be more than just a job.” -Chris



When Stacey Smith attended Baylor, she had no idea she would one day be the Assistant Track Coach for her very own alma mater. Stacey studied Secondary Education and Health while an undergraduate student at Baylor. The classes she took taught her more than just her particular field of study. It taught her to be more, witness more and share more with her peers. She grew above and beyond in her academic, social, and spiritual life. Having a Baylor education is important to her. The Christian values aligned with how she wanted to live and receive an education. Today, Stacey is the Assistant Track Coach at Baylor. She gets to share her Baylor experience with current students day-to-day, serving as a mentor.

“No matter what you have accomplished in this life, you should never stop learning. People change, things change, and you have to be willing to change with them. Don’t get stuck in your old ways. Learn to grow!” -Stacey



Carly Connally graduated from Baylor in May 2014 with a B.A. in English and a minor in dance. During her time here at Baylor, she was very involved in dance related organizations. Her leadership skills expanded as she served as captain of Baylor Songleaders and as an executive student producer of All-University Sing. For her dance minor, she interned at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. This allowed her to enter into Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester, a program designed to kick-start dancers’ performance careers, right after graduation. While she was living in New York, she auditioned for Disney and was hired for her current role as a parade performer at Walt Disney World. Now Carly dances every day in front of millions of guests while wearing beautiful costumes in a place where dreams come true! She challenged herself by pursuing an internship and career in New York in a very competitive, fast-paced environment. Carly encourages all Baylor Bears not to sell themselves short and to go for the big dream.

“Baylor gave me everything I needed to follow my dreams” -Carly



Asha Minix attended Baylor for her undergraduate degree in Medical Humanities and graduated in 2009. From there, she went straight into the MPH program at Baylor that August. She was a graduate teaching assistant for the Health and Human Behavior class (HED 1145) for three semesters. She absolutely loved the program. For the summer practicum, she interned with the Louisiana Public Health Institute down in New Orleans. In her last semester, she returned to the Louisiana Public Health Institute for her final internship. About two weeks after graduation in May, 2015 she accepted a job with the Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Public Health STD/HIV Program. The majority of the job was education on rapid HIV testing and rapid syphilis testing, and it covered the entire state. She also did education gender and sexuality for healthcare providers, state health department personnel and community volunteers. Currently, she is a health systems manager for hospitals with the American Cancer Society and works with hospital systems to enhance their cancer prevention, screening and survivorship programs. As a native born Texan, Baylor was close enough to home for her so traveling was easy. Minix enjoyed all six years at Baylor. There was never a time that she felt like her degree did not both prepare her and set her apart from colleagues and those she was competing for a job. In fact, there have been times that Minix accomplished work-related tasks and thought, “Wow! My MPH degree really prepared me for this.” As an alum, what’s been really special has been the efforts of the faculty to continue to keep her connected to the program and to also continue to help her grow professionally. To Minix, Baylor will always be home.

“I think the biggest strength of the program is the faculty’s dedication to preparing us for the real world -whether that’s further academic study or entering the workforce.” -Asha



During her time at Baylor (2010-2014) Melissa Pforr earned her Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training. During this time, she had the opportunity to work with and learn from a variety of staff and graduate assistant certified athletic trainers with a variety of sports. Pforr finished out her senior year working with and traveling with Baylor Football and Women’s Soccer. This hands on experience and opportunity to interact with many professionals on the Sports Medicine Team was rounded out with top notch learning in the classroom setting. This is where the foundation of knowledge was built and developed that prepared her to pass the Board Certification Exam her senior year. The combination of the classroom and clinical experience equipped Pforr with the skills necessary to become a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer at the University of Central Florida for the Volleyball and Cheerleading team while earning her Masters in Sports and Exercise Science. Immediately following graduation from UCF, she accepted a position as the Director of Sports Medicine and Information at The Master’s Academy in Oviedo Florida. Her experiences at Baylor taught her the importance of being surrounded by strong, positive and Christian community that will push you to become the greatest version of yourself every day. To the future alumni of Baylor, Pforr would encourage that the people that you are surrounded by each day are some of the greatest in the nation, so take advantage of any and all opportunities!

“To this day some of my greatest supporters are people that led me at Baylor and years down the line they are still encouraging and molding me.” -Melissa



Benjamin Raley was a Recreation and Leisure Services major. He graduated from the School of Education in August 2007 with his Bachelors of Science Degree. Currently, he is a Complex Manager for Marine Corps Community Services Athletics on Camp Foster, one of six camps to make up Marine Corps Base Smedley D. Butler in Okinawa, Japan. Marine Corps Community Services exists to “Make Okinawa Home” for U.S. Service Members and their families on Okinawa. As a Complex Manager, Raley has the responsibility of supervising the facilities’ front line employees, as well as performing various administrative tasks to ensure smooth operation of facilities in support of the overall MCCS and USMC Missions on Okinawa. To Raley, Baylor is proof that a faith based institution can offer a top notch education, while simultaneously furthering the cause of Christ. During Raley’s time at Baylor, and even after, he noticed how welcoming Baylor was of all students from all backgrounds; making them feel well educated in a safe and challenging environment. Raley is married to his wife, Sarah (BA ’08), an attorney in the United States Marine Corps, and has two beautiful sons, Zeke (2) and Quinton (4 months). They love spending time together doing just about anything, especially outdoors when it is not too hot.

“Having a Baylor education stands out from other schools because at Baylor, faith is seen as an asset to your learning rather than an obstacle.” - Benajamin


The internship experience offered in HHPR is designed to provide students an opportunity to both observe and participate in actual professional positions within the approved organization to which they select for 150-450 supervised clock hours. In a day and time where it may be necessary for students to complete a substantial number of observation hours to be a favorable candidate for professional schools, this internship experience provides for that need.

The purpose of the internship is to provide each student opportunities to experience the Kimberly Smith, M. Ed. professional work settings that are appropriate for their preparation and career aspirations. We believe that HHPR students participating in their internship for academic credit may have an edge-up on their competition for seats in professional school and in the job market. “I am at Ohio State University pursing my Doctor of Physical Therapy. We are a top 20 DPT program, and I wanted to let you know that my experience at Baylor has more than prepared me for this rigorous program. I feel that I am ahead of my fellow classmates as far as material covered and experiences had (in particular the internship), and I wanted to let you know how great Baylor is at preparing its students for what comes next.� -Laura Knowles, 2014 Health Science Studies Graduate

Increasing Access to Healthy Food with a Veggie Van


By Kelly Ylitalo (Baylor University) and Matt Hess (World Hunger Relief, Inc.)

The Veggie Van is a mobile farmers market that increases access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables in “food deserts,� or geographic areas where affordable and nutritious food is difficult to obtain. World Hunger Relief, Inc. initiated the Veggie Van and currently offers different stops around McLennan County to sell fruits and vegetables.

Epidemiology students in the Baylor Public Health Program work with World Hunger Relief on the Veggie Van to try to understand more about Van customers. A survey is used to understand demographics, fruit and vegetable consumption, food purchasing practices, barriers to healthy eating like cost or time, Van usage and customer recommendations. Veggie Van customers who participate in the survey receive a $5 voucher to purchase more fruit and vegetables. Kelly Ylitalo, Assistant Professor, and Matt Hess, Executive Director of World Hunger Relief, Inc. designed the survey to inform and customize Veggie Van services, to inform mobile farmers market programs around the country, and eventually to design a health services for Van customers in the Waco area. Epidemiology students who participate in the data collection process are contributing to a local organization, learning more about hunger and food in their community, and understanding how to collect and analyze health-related data.

A passion for health and wellness

Jordyn Wehsener, senior athletic training student, is one of those students. Wehsener realized her interest in athletic training after taking a test to help decide what major would be right for her. Being a competitive athlete in her youth, she knew her experience would make her a great candidate for the program. “I played volleyball and soccer growing up pretty competitively, and so I just loved sports a lot and enjoyed being around that environment,” Wehsener said. However, like every student wanting to become an athletic trainer, she had to go through the acceptance process. This process is not easy, and can take a year to complete. Unfortunately, fulfilling the requirements does not guarantee automatic acceptance. After being accepted into the program, Wehsener began her training both in the classroom and with different Baylor sports teams. One notable aspect about Baylor’s athletic training program is the hands-on, interactive practice the students get working with the athletes and alongside the team’s athletic trainers from early on in their experience in the program.



By kiara nowlin

Baylor’s Health, Human Performance and Recreation department trains students to have successful careers in the health and recreation industries. One of the most prestigious majors in the HHPR department is athletic training. This program requires a mandatory observation period that must be completed by potential students and an application process in which the program professors vet the applicants to select the best candidates to be accepted into the program.

“I love that [the program] gives you hand-on experience really fast that not a lot of majors get to do, so I have got to see how my career is going to be after college,” Wehsener said. Another aspect of the HHPR department that makes it stand out from others around the nation is the professors working in the department. In a major that allows students to work on athletes as training tools, knowing the people who are teaching you truly care that you are learning the material is very important to both the student athletic trainer and the student being treated. “I just really like the HHPR department. All the teachers really seem to care that you learn everything. The teachers that I’ve had in the past always ask how I’m doing,” Wehsener said. “It’s a family environment that I really like.” Overall, Wehsener feels the program has prepared her for her future career in athletic training. She has plans for graduate school and having an assistantship in athletic training upon graduation in May 2017, with the goal of one day becoming an athletic trainer at a Division 1 University. Having already done the work she will do in the field for almost five semesters with multiple sports teams, she is more than qualified to begin her work as an athletic trainer. “I have had so much hand-on experience that I know what’s coming, which is great,” Wehsener said. Wehsener is excited about starting her post-graduate life and beginning her career very soon. Although she loves the actual work she does as an athletic trainer student, the connections she makes and the environment of a team sport makes what she does even more special to her. Wehsener is excited about being on a team again, even if it’s not as an athlete. “I’m a big people person, and I love making connections with people,” Wehsener said. “When I grew up playing sports, I always loved that team-family feel, and being an athletic trainer with a team, you get that. You get to know you athletes really well and just those connections that you make with people is what I really love.”

HHPR Magazine  

This magazine was created for the Health, Human Performance and Recreation department at Baylor University

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you