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Alumni profiles

Kelsey Howlett BPhEd 2013 and Chanel Pienaar BPhEd 2014

Kelsey Howlett  and Chanel Pienaar portrait 2015 AlumniGreen Prescription Coordinators at Sport Otago, Dunedin 2016

"Both of us completed one of our majors in Exercise Prescription and Management. The papers gave us an insight into how physical activity and exercise can help reduce or even eliminate symptoms of diabetes, arthritis and heart disease; conditions that a percentage of our Green Prescription clients have.

In our final years of study we worked with PEPSA, Green Prescription, Arthritis, and EXPINKT clients through the Exercise Prescription Clinic which enabled us to put the theory from lectures into practice and gain experience working with clients of varying medical conditions.

In our roles as Green Prescription Coordinators at Sport Otago, we help those in the community who struggle to find motivation to get out and get active. Our activity programme is designed to kick-start an individual’s physical activity levels. We arrange a consultation with our clients to discuss their health goals, current physical activity levels, and nutrition. We help motivate and support them towards developing and initiating an activity plan. Our clients can take part in our group activity sessions such as aqua jogging, indoor cycling, and the popular walking series. We also offer one-on-one resistance circuit training placements and can refer clients onto student dieticians.

We believe that the biggest advantage of the degree is that it teaches you how to be open minded, empathic towards others, and how to work with individuals from varying backgrounds."

Kelsey and Chanel featured in Alumni Newsletter Issue 2 Semester 2 2015

Sam Mepham BPhEd 2013

Sam Mepham BPhEd 2013Hub Academy 5 aside Alumni Profile pictureHub Athletic Development Worker, London, England

A dual passion for helping young people and for football motivated Sam to pursue and win his role at Oasis Hub Waterloo in London as a Hub Athletic Development Worker.
Sam recalls "It just popped up on one of the search engines I was using. It looked like an incredible opportunity. I started the job in October 2014 and I'm beginning to feel pretty comfortable. I head up a youth project in Waterloo called Hub Athletic, which is part of a large Christian charity called Oasis. We work in partnership with Oasis South Bank Academy and Oasis Johanna Academy, the local primary and secondary schools.

At Hub Athletic we use football as a tool to engage and connect with local young people in the Waterloo area. The young people we deal with are vulnerable to issues that come from living in an inner-city community. Our job is to provide a safe and inclusive environment that helps them to prepare for life on and off the field. Over all our projects we engage with about 100 young people aged 11-24.

Sam featured in Alumni Newsletter Issue 1 Semester 1 2015

Jeff Cheshire BPhEd(Hons) 2014

Jeff Cheshire BPhEd 2014 Alumni profile pictureOnline Sports Writer for the Otago Daily Times

Having his "foot in the door" writing for the ODT while studying and his honours thesis focussing on how technology is changing sports journalism helped Jeff win his first full time role as Online Sports Writer at the Otago Daily Times.

Jeff says "I wouldn't have gotten the role without the experience, as the ODT normally employs people with a journalism qualification. The knowledge I obtained from the physical education degree is relevant to understanding what's happening in the sports media environment and helps me look at things from different perspectives which in turn makes me a better journalist, which helped me get the job.

"I'm officially an online journalist, although publicly I'm an online sports writer. I "live blog" rugby games plus write the post-match analysis. I do a lot of editorial stuff on the sport section, choosing which stories to use from the news wires, getting pictures, writing headlines and deciding what to promote. I also cover general news and a lot of the social media."

Jeff featured in Alumni Newsletter Issue 2 Semester 2 2015

Laura Hayes (née Dawson) BPhEd 2006

Alumni Laura Hayes (nee Dawson) BPhEd 2006 in 2016Polestar Pilates Studio Practitioner

When Laura graduated she did a brief stint in Sydney working as a Gym Supervisor and Barista. As Laura had majored in Exercise Prescription and Sport and Leisure Studies, she says, "I was on the lookout for a job in exercise rehabilitation working with clients in a one on one environment. As fortune had it, I came across the Pilates Instructor’s role when another physed graduate was leaving and I began working in Dunedin with Back In Motion Physiotherapy and Pilates in 2007."

"My BPhEd gave me a head start and certainly ensured my employment with Back In Motion who only employ Pilates Instructors who have graduated with a background in Exercise Science. The world is your oyster after graduation, although I became aware I would need to obtain further training in a specialist field to obtain a job in a specialist area. If you choose to specialize in exercise rehabilitation, consider undertaking a reputable Pilates training programme, either internationally or nationally recognized, depending on where you want it to lead you in the future."

Laura has extended her Pilates knowledge and became an internationally recognized Polestar Pilates Studio Practitioner in 2010. "I was offered a new role with Back In Motion as a Pilates Co-ordinator for the group, overseeing more business aspects of BIM Pilates and mentoring our Back In Motion Pilates Instructors and Physiotherapists, while continuing to teach classes and see clients privately."

Laura's desire six years ago to return to the equestrian competition arena and to use her pilates knowledge to improve her performance was the catalyst for her to become a certified Level 1 EQUESTRIAN PILATES® practitioner in 2012.

"My future plans involve further development of the EQUESTRIAN PILATES® programme nationally along with my own training − perhaps a postgraduate diploma or a Master’s."

Laura featured in Alumni Newsletter Issue 1 Semester 1 2014

Ali Choukry BPhEd 2012, MEntr 2014

Ali Choukry at Bowls NZ 2014Marketing and Participation Coordinator at Bowls New Zealand, Auckland

Persistence through cold emailing individuals and organisations earned Ali his first job as a Community Development Officer at Bowls NZ when he graduated. Since then, Ali has moved within the organization in November 2015 to the role of Marketing and Participation Coordinator. A role which offers a new city and fresh challenges.

Ali says "My role at Bowls NZ is varied, something not uncommon for relatively small national sporting organisations. I'm involved with the marketing/leg work around some of our high profile national and international events, working on anything from media to sponsors to results and more. The participation aspect involves database management and maintaining our annual membership returns, a large undertaking as bowls attracts over 120,000 participants annually and our organisation wants to communicate with all of them."

"The PhysEd School offered a range of opportunities and helped realize my potential. You learn how to grow, have fun, work hard and build networks, something I fear wouldn't happen anywhere else." To anyone considering studying Physical Education, Ali recommends "Give it a crack - you won't regret it! The University of Otago is a fantastic institution which allows so much personal growth at a time when it's most important. The PhysEd degree is awesome and the friends and contacts you make are lifelong. It offers a great platform and a point of difference like no other."

Ali completed a Master in Entrepreneurship at Otago to complement his BPhEd degree. He says "I wanted to get into sport administration/business and to develop my skillset. So much is possible within the sport sector and beyond.

My advice for recent grads? Keep looking for opportunities to learn. With every job application you submit you'll learn something. With every coffee you have with someone of interest you'll learn something. Don't be afraid to ask questions, put yourself in learning environments and cold email the people you are afraid to - you'll be surprised who is there to help and what might come of it. Be micro-ambitious! Work hard towards short term goals and keep challenging yourself. The world is changing fast and if you think you know what you'll be doing in 10 years' time you could be setting the bar a little too low."

Ali featured in Alumni Newsletter Issue 1, Semester 1 2014.

Bradley Simpson BPhEd 2001, BSc 2002

Bradley Simpson BPhEd 2001, BSc2002 atomic 2016Computer software designer at Atomic

Bradley says "My PE degree was the foundation on which I have done everything since." He acknowledges his most valuable asset since he graduated has been applying his degree in the industry as a PT/Instructor and working in various gyms in NZ and Canada, at the Royal NZ Police College and aboard a cruise ship.

In mid 2014 Bradley won a role at Influx which makes simple to use fitness software. This role combined his understanding of the needs of the fitness industry together with his understanding of technology.

Bradley says "I ran everything that didn't involve computer software development: revenue, partnerships, marketing and looking for future trends and software needs. I spent all day talking to people who owned or managed fitness businesses!"

Based in Wellington, Bradley moved on in late 2015 to work for Atomic, a company making software for designers. "I help out with sales, support, marketing, and on-boarding of new users. I love working with smart and motivated people. Being part of a company growing fast and taking on big and established companies from New Zealand is a huge challenge, and one we're all up for."