With another successful commencement behind us, recent High Point University graduates are preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2018:
Name: Christopher Ehren
Hometown: Pfafftown, North Carolina
Post-graduation plans: Ehren attends Leeds Becket University in Leeds, England, where he is pursuing his master’s degree in physical activity and health.
How HPU helped you get there: “HPU offered so many resources and opportunities, specifically within the exercise science department, that allowed me to fully explore various interests, find my passions and excel in them. I was introduced to research opportunities, internships and a myriad of classes that all served to encourage learning and propelled me to constantly grow. My professors were extremely passionate about their field of study, which bled over into how courses were taught. When I walked into my exercise physiology class taught by Dr. Kuennen, I knew that I wasn’t just getting a general, bare bones outline of exercise physiology. He would cover as much as possible while making it interesting and incorporating real-world application instead of just rattling off concepts. If questions arose or there was interest in a specific area of discussion, he had no issue with spending more time focusing on that one topic and accommodating his students. Academic experiences like this and the numerous resources offered at HPU, like the Career and Professional Development team, really helped me to grow and feel confident in tackling challenges as I move forward. Career and Professional Development services helped me build a stronger resume and LinkedIn and served as a strong networking tool that streamlined my professional development. I started using their expertise almost immediately when I came to HPU, and their insight has been such a great support.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “I can’t name any one single mentor at HPU because I was surrounded by so many professors and staff who were constantly challenging and supporting me. Dr. Dan Tarara was an amazing teacher who always challenged me to adopt new perspectives and grow myself. He demonstrated how personal growth doesn’t end within your field of study. He was willing to sit down and discuss anything from exercise science, to the philosophy of the stoics, to why he always wears the same ties, and that mentality is something I strive to have. Melissa Marion, director of HPU’s Employee Wellness, was a boss and a friend who trusted and supported me and my development in both my internship as well as my professional life outside of my campus job. I was lucky to work for Melissa. She was willing to listen to my ideas for the program, and most importantly, she let me follow through with them. She valued my thoughts and opinions and trusted me to work with her on program development. She helped instill confidence and always offered a wealth of advice and support as an experienced professional within her field. Finally, Dr. Tony Kemerly was a huge influence for me, especially toward the end of my time at HPU. He is the reason I applied to graduate school and will be in the UK this fall. His classes were an open discussion led by him but perpetuated by his students. We would analyze various areas of fitness and apply social and behavior change theories to them. He taught me to think critically and to view health and wellness through an entirely different lens. He peaked my interest in social theory and heavily influenced my ideas and goals for the future. I am sure I will continue to use what I learned in his class throughout my career.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “A big moment for me was being included in the strategic planning process for the Employee Wellness Department. I only played a small role in my contributions, but the opportunity to sit with the director and assist in developing new mission and vision statements, mapping out goals for the program and planning initiatives was extremely impactful. It was a chance to see how program development progresses and learn first hand how resources are managed in order to reach goals that are years in the future.”
Advice for underclassmen: “Create goals and constantly work toward them. Networking and using your resources at HPU is great, but if you don’t have a clear idea of what you are working toward, it’s easy to burn out or fall flat. It is okay to change your goals or reorient your priorities as long as you have something that you are striving for and have an idea of how you want to achieve it. Also, it helps to keep your achievements in perspective. It can be easy to think of other peoples’ successes as your failure and feel like you are being surpassed by your peers. Having your own goals and plan of action is so important when it comes to getting past that feeling. They have their own route and you have yours, so focus on what you can do to reach your next goal and not what others are doing to reach theirs.”