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Student Profiles: Fitness & Wellness Leadership Master’s

Julia Meszaros

Portrait of Julia Meszaros

  • Personal Trainer, Long Island Fitness and Wellness

“At my first job as a fitness instructor, I began to realize how much I truly loved helping people. Fitness and wellness is important in people’s lives in order to not only combat potential health risks, but in order to live the type of life in which a person can reach their full potential of being a parent, friend, husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Through implementing fitness and wellness, people may truly find a new level of themselves that they may have previously thought they could never achieve.

“About a year ago, I remember sitting at my cubicle feeling run down, and yearning for a way out of the career path that I was that I was just not passionate about. My 9–5 days so very much differed from my free time thoughts of fitness, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, and exercise science. When I saw that the degree was not only from Plattsburgh where I graduated from, but that it was also online so I could still work full time, it was a no brainer for me to apply. I remember thinking to myself, this is it, this is going to allow me to FINALLY do what I love.”

Aadil Ansari

Portrait of Aadil Ansari

  • Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer, Equinox
  • Master Instructor In Anatomy and Physiology, Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Exercise Programming, Behavior Change, Equinox Fitness Training Institute

“My interest in health and fitness came from my own personal aspirations of weight loss. I wanted to change my physical condition and I knew my weight was a big barrier in achieving optimal health. I began to learn about movement and nutrition. After seeing some initial progress, I was invigorated and excited about the fact that I had a certain level of control over my health. That inspired me to want to learn more and help others who face similar health obstacles.

Fitness and wellness allows someone to truly experience life to its greatest capacity. I chose the online master’s program in fitness and wellness because it fit well with areas I felt I needed greater development in. I strive and work towards a better understanding of the sciences, how to manage people, how to lead by example and more.

After graduating, I plan to open a wellness facility that creates a unique experience. This facility would immerse clients in improving different qualities of their health and wellness within a team-inspired environment. I hope to create a community that draws people in and collectively drives them to push towards a greater potential, regardless of their age.

Damian Estrada

Portrait of Damian Estrada

  • Tier 3Plus Personal Trainer at Equinox in Tribeca

“I have always been interested in fitness. I was an active child, played several sports in high school (football, wrestling and lacrosse) and had wonderful coaches who further developed my love for sports. I loved the journey and the idea of training towards a goal. After high school, I turned my attention to natural bodybuilding. I became fascinated with the human body and how it can transform with the right diet and training. I decided to turn my passion into my career. It is now 7 years later and I have not looked back.​

“Ongoing education is critical. I always want to be current on the best practices available, use the current and best practices in safe and scientifically sound way, and understand the psychology behind people's motivation to keep engaged and dedicated to their goals. With my busy and unpredictable work schedule, it is impossible to have a consistent schedule. The online program allows me to complete my course work as it fits into my schedule each day and week.

“After I graduate, I plan on applying for a master instructor position at my company. This will allow me to teach our on-boarding program to our incoming trainers. This program has helped me prepare for a classroom environment and allowed me to expand my knowledge and skills of not only exercise sciences, but also business and leadership.”

Courtney Smith

Portrait of Courtney Smith

  • Personal Trainer, CVPH Wellness & Fitness Center

“While my undergraduate program in exercise science taught me a lot about fitness that I would have never known before, I realized that this is a constantly changing field and there is always new information to learn. As a personal trainer today, I find that I am learning something new almost every day, and I love it.

“I found the Fitness and Wellness Leadership program and was sold on it after reading about all the classes offered and that it was online. I knew it would be the perfect thing for me because I could work and gain hands-on experience while being in school at the same time.

“After graduating, I plan to open a small group fitness and climbing gym facility. The facility will have local expeditions and trips, group exercise classes and training programs for our members. Overall, I’m only 21 years old and I know that I still have a lot to learn, but I know that this is the field I was destined to be in and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”

Jane Balander

Portriat of Jane Balander

  • Director of HR and Wellness Coordinator, CSEA Employee Benefit Fund

“I have always played sports and enjoyed fitness activities that challenge me. I feel that fitness and overall health is the most important thing in life if you want to live a quality life.

“At my current job I run a wellness program and help/motivate people every day to try and live a healthier lifestyle by incorporating healthy eat habits and including fitness into their daily lives. I decided to enter the online master’s degree program in fitness and wellness to gain as much knowledge as I can so I can use that knowledge to educate other people.”

Joseph Witmer

Portrait of Joseph Witmer

  • Officer, U.S. Army

“Understanding both the science behind how the human body works, as well as the art of proper nutrition and exercise design is critically important to the effectiveness and efficiency of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Some professions like my own, benefit from a high level of fitness and wellness due to the harsh environments and stressful conditions one may find themselves operating under. I personally have learned a great deal about many bad habits and choices I have made that have not been helping me in achieving the next level of personal fitness and health.

“I was looking for a program that offered the flexibility to attend regardless of location and the online fitness and wellness degree meets that requirement. I am currently attending SUNY Plattsburgh from Africa, where I am deployed with the U.S. Army, and have received nothing but support from the fitness staff.”

Kamau-Akeele Brown

Portrait of Kamau-Akeele Brown

  • Freelance Personal Fitness Instruction And Diet Consultation
  • Scotia-bank Jamaica Limited

“I began working out at the tender age of ten when my Pediatrician, my parents, and I noticed that my being overweight had become a serious issue. It was then I decided to engage in physical activities such as sports (track and field, basketball, cricket, tennis, field hockey and swimming) and martial arts. I think it is imperative for every person to live in a manner that maintains a healthy lifestyle, based on his or her individual needs and circumstances.

“After I have completed my master’s, I hope to pursue a doctorate in exercise physiology to deepen my understanding in the areas of exercise physiology and kinesiology, bio-mechanics in exercise movements, and entrepreneurship. I also wish to earn multiple major certifications as a personal fitness instructor and nutrition consultant, where my skills in working with many different types of clients can be used, and with this become a globally competitive professional bodybuilder and power-lifter (power bodybuilder). With these achievements, I would hope to expand and launch my brand as an aspiring and well renowned exercise physiologist, a certified fitness instructor and nutritionist, motivational speaker and professional Power bodybuilder. In these professional roles, I would be in a unique position to help people both locally and internationally in the pursuit of their goals and dreams.”

Krysten Inman

Portrait of Krysten Inman

  • Personal Trainer

“I have always been an active person, I played three sports a year all through high school (soccer, basketball and softball at Saranac High school) and two in college (Clinton Community college). Being active and fit has always been part of my life and I continue to stay active via the gym, hiking, biking, and anything to keep me moving and staying healthy. I became disillusioned after realizing I was not happy with my career choice and needed something I was passionate about. My mom suggested I go back to school for fitness, because she had already seen me help others with their workout plans, and knew that fitness was something I really enjoyed. I was already helping others become fit and healthy why not make a career out of it?

“The fitness and wellness curriculum fits perfectly with my career goals. I want to establish a strength program for children and help lessen the stigma that surrounds weight training for children. Weight training is very beneficial for kids ages 8 and up, but it has a bad reputation, as people think it stunts growth, and children are not strong enough, and will be injured. With proper training and emphasis on technique, it can help with better bone density, strengthen tissues and ligaments for better injury prevention, and so much more, but it isn’t practiced much. I am hoping to change that. Given that I’m new to the field, the field work internship, plus the class on establishing networks, and working with the local community is going to be extremely helpful for when I set up my children’s strength program. The master’s program in fitness and wellness will help me gain the knowledge and skills to see this program off the ground.”

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