Trevor Woodman, Class of 2021 and majoring in exercise science, certainly thrives in the customary busy lifestyle of an undergraduate student at Merrimack College. As a varsity athlete for the track and field team, a Residential Advisor, and a part-time Physical Therapy Technician for Performance Physical Therapy during the summer months, Woodman has flourished in his academic and professional careers alike throughout his undergraduate experience. Now, as Woodman welcomes yet another semester at Merrimack, he begins to further advance his professional development with a vital experiential learning opportunity in the health science field to best equip his skill set for the demands of the health science field. Within the first two months of his internship with the Micheli Center as a Sports Injury Prevention Intern this spring, Woodman has already discovered, “what [he is] meant to do” in his chosen career field, and found reassurance of his decision to pursue his career in exercise science.
Woodman’s career development journey leading to his current position with the Micheli Center began in the fall semester of his junior year upon meeting with his internship advisor for the School of Health Sciences. As Woodman worked among small groups of his fellow undergraduate students and alongside his internship advisor, he began to sift through a multitude of internship opportunities to discern which positions may best suit his skill set and interests. Per recommendation of his internship advisor, Woodman soon considered the Sports Injury Prevention internship opportunity with the Micheli Center, and quickly set to work preparing his resume and cover letter to submit his application for the position. “To apply for the position, I [revised] my resume and [prepared] a cover letter [that] explained why I believed I would be a great fit for the position, and how I believed being an intern would benefit me in my professional development in the field of health sciences,” Woodman recalls of his internship application process. Woodman maintains that the guidance he received to construct and organize the content and presentation of his resume and cover letter played a significant part in his ability to stand out among other applicants. “The assistance from my internship advisors in writing [my] cover letter and finalizing my resume [was] paramount in securing this internship opportunity,” Woodman emphasizes. The Micheli Center certainly took interest in Woodman’s heartfelt cover letter and organized resume, and offered the position to him without any further request for an interview.
As Woodman undergoes his internship experience with the Micheli Center, he begins to recognize the essential role his prior experiences have played in his industry and transformational skills that allow him to succeed in his current position. Woodman contends that his early exposure to the health science field in his summer positions in physical therapy aided in his preparation for his current role with the Micheli Center, particularly in his communicative capabilities. “[During my experience with the Micheli Center], I’ve really learned how to communicate with a client or a patient. [I’ve found that strong communication skills are] absolutely, hands-down the most important aspect of working in the health sciences field,” Woodman explains. “Working for the past three years in this field [through my summer job as a Physical Therapy Technician] has given me so much experience with patient communication, and I’ve really been able to carry that into my [current] internship and apply it easily and effectively into how I work with my clients.”
Woodman further accredits his success in his current internship position to his on-campus involvement as a Residential Advisor, most notably for the experience he’s received in identifying and understanding different communication styles among individuals. “Being an RA has [not only] given me so much experience as a leader and developed my skills in working with others, [it’s also] taught me how to assess others’ [speech] and body language,” Woodman observes. “As a practitioner, you have to be able to read the body language of your patients in order to help create the best form of treatment for them. [Knowing how to assess different communication styles] really helps in the health science field, especially since not all patients and clients are able to voice how they are feeling.” Woodman even considers his experience as a varsity athlete as a valuable asset in his current performance as a Sports Injury Prevention Intern, as well as in his preparedness as an employee. “Being an athlete while balancing all of my other commitments has taught me to be a very organized and punctual individual,” Woodman explains, “so [employers] can trust that I’ll get the job done well and on-time.” Every experience counts for Woodman in shaping him for his future endeavors, as he makes every effort to derive some skill from each of his opportunities to further his professional development.
As a result of his internship with the Micheli Center, Woodman has further discerned the type of work he’s most enthusiastic about and feels completely reassured of his chosen career path in exercise science. Each day at the Micheli Center offers a new experience for Woodman, as well as allows him to observe the various aspects that encompass a position in exercise science and sports injury prevention. Woodman’s experience as a Sports Injury Prevention Intern has led him to affirm his interest in leading training sessions for each of his clients, and has allowed him to realize his desired career trajectory. “Working with clients to get them stronger, faster, more mobile, or overall healthier is what I believe I was meant to do,” Woodman proclaims. “Seeing individuals working hard and prospering off of programs I have created and executed makes me feel like I am making a difference for the better in the lives of these people.” Woodman’s internship additionally enabled his consideration of furthering his education upon his graduation. “I feel like this internship is giving me an opportunity to see another side of what this major has to offer”, Woodman begins of his affirmation of his future academic and career endeavors. “There are so many different paths this major could take me, and seeing them all has given me a better idea of what exactly I would like to pursue going into graduate school and then into the workforce.”
Reflecting on the development of his career and the steps he took in order to achieve his current career success, Woodman offers enlightening commentary for students looking to advance their own career development. Woodman asserts that, “it just takes one step to get the ball rolling. [Send that] email to a company. [Spend] that one extra night studying. [Take] that one extra step towards your goals.” Woodman encourages himself, along with his fellow undergraduate students, to always remain active in taking risks and chances that have the potential to advance the development of a desired career path. “You have to do what you believe is best for yourself, and sometimes that may be taking a risk,” Woodman believes. “In the end you never know if a risk is worth it until you take it.” By taking risks and going beyond his typical comfort zone, Woodman finds himself even closer and increasingly prepared to take on his goals of completing a graduate degree to earn a career as a Surgical Physician’s Assistant and Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Woodman’s internship experience details a compelling narrative of risk and reward in the process of career development, and offers a paradigm for students to look towards for inspiration to advance their own careers at the undergraduate level. Take the next step in the advancement of your career development towards your career success by booking an appointment with your career advisor on Handshake and utilizing the resources available on- and off-campus – see the full list of upcoming events and refer to our online resources to aid the progression of your career.
Written By: Kerry Reynolds, Class of 2021