Kathryn Berlin, PhD, CHES, CSCS
Nothing is more important than hands-on experience working with people and understanding how to address behavior change.
The best career advice I ever received was to “get out and volunteer.”
I grew up fortunate enough to live in many states and countries since my father served in the Air Force. Growing up, I was overweight which carried into my adult life. In my 20’s, I quit smoking and began exercising which led to me feeling much better about myself physically and mentally.
I changed my major from business to physical education because I enjoyed the activity. I also thought I could educate children and teens on healthy lifestyles, so they would avoid the issues associated with unhealthy lifestyles and the extra weight I experienced.
Working with others while obtaining my bachelor’s degree in physical education helped me apply knowledge, skills, and concepts from the classroom into real-life situations.
The advice I received continues to confirm my commitment to experiential learning.
I currently work in higher education where the focus is preparing future health educators. I am committed to ensuring my students are engaged outside the classroom while obtaining their degrees.
It’s important for students to get outside the classroom and work in their career field, whether it’s volunteering, practicums, or internships.
Experience outside the classroom helps shape your career — you may discover an area you “love” that you never considered.
As a teacher for students in health promotion, I primarily use “Area VI: Serve as a Health Education/Promotion Resource Person,” specifically the sub-competency “6.2: Train others to use health education/promotion skills.” In our program, our students are required to complete a year-long assignment asking them to develop, implement, and evaluate an actual health promotion program in the community.
As the instructor, I focus on working with students in “Area II: Plan Health Education/Promotion” and “Area III: Implement Health Education/Promotion.” My role as an instructor requires supervising and working with the students on all aspects of the program, from initial planning to final implementation.
Kathryn continues to get outside by golfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and photography. She’s also been a physical education teacher, personal trainer, coach, and certified strength and conditioning specialist. She founded and successfully ran her own strength and conditioning facility in northeast Indianapolis before selling the company to a sports performance company.
Dr. Berlin, Ph.D., CHES, CSCS, is the chair/associate professor at Indiana State University in the Department of Applied Health Sciences.