Expo offers networking, internship opportunities

GVL / Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye

Allison Ribick

Grand Valley State University students majoring or interested in careers surrounding exercise science had the opportunity to network with area professionals and student interns at the Exercise Science Internship & Career Expo, which occurred in the Grand River Room in the Kirkhof Center on Monday.

The Department of Movement Science at GVSU and the Career Center teamed up to sponsor the daylong event, which occurs once during the fall and winter semesters.

Heather Peddie, affiliate professor and the exercise science internship coordinator in the Department of Movement Science, coordinated the expo and was pleased with the large turnout at the event.

“I’ve received great feedback from students,” Peddie said. “They appreciated the opportunity talking with employers about internship opportunities and to learn more about their field.”

Exercise science, athletic training, physical education and sports leadership make up the majors available in the Department of Movement Science.

Spectrum Health, Borgess Hospital, Metro Health, Byron Center High School, Grand Rapids Fire Department, I’Move, Northern Physical Therapy, SNAP Fitness, Cross Fit Allendale, Shape Corporation, McCahill Group, FitKids 360 and Battle Creek Parks and Recreation were among the organizations in attendance.

“Exercise science is a growing field that has a multitude of directions that students can take within a community,” Peddie said. “Everyone can benefit from it – in schools, hospitals, businesses and in communities as a whole.”

A great need for the nation is having exercise science students who can apply their skill in a professional setting, Peddie said.

Some career paths exercise science students can follow include cardiac rehab, strength and conditioning, fitness, corporate wellness, recreation, biomechanics, public health, physical therapy, clinical exercise physiology and research.

Peddie advised students to conduct fieldwork in an area of their interest, through an internship, job shadowing or volunteering.

She also recommended students visit the Career Center for further advice on internships and to pay attention to any upcoming career fairs or workshops.

“These types of events that allow students to learn of professional experiences through faculty and their peers are very beneficial,” Peddie said. “Students can begin creating professional networks and learn more about possible career paths.”

Other than employers and student intern presentations, some relevant GVSU groups were also present, like the exercise science club and Campus Recreation.

A total of 300 students attended the expo, including over 80 student poster presentations by GVSU seniors who recently completed internships.

Monica Thibodeau was among the many GVSU exercise science students who presented on her experience.

Thibodeau interned at the Shape Corporation’s Employee Health and Wellness Team in Grand Haven and gained experience in corporate wellness.

“(Shape Corporation) provides health insurance for their employees and it gives them the ability to develop a program to help people who are either overweight or use nicotine to get on a better track and to keep their insurance costs down,” Thibodeau said.

Thibodeau saw herself grow throughout her internship and said it was a great place for students to develop, even if they get a job somewhat related to their interests.

“Get as much hands on experience as you can,” Thibodeau said. “Applying your knowledge is completely different than taking an exam. It’s all about getting your foot in the door and starting to make connections with people to network yourself.”

Thibodeau found her internship through a list of exercise science internships that is online at

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