Name: Allie Zambito
Hometown: Bayville, New Jersey
Major: Zambito will graduate with a B.S. in Exercise Science on May 6.
Post-graduation plans: Zambito will pursue a master’s degree in anatomy and clinical health science, while working toward her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. UD’s physical therapy program is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
How HPU helped you get there: “It is hard to narrow down all of the ways in which HPU has fostered opportunities for me to become a better student, friend, leader and aspiring health care professional. I entered freshman year with an open mind and willingness to get involved in campus organizations that related to my interests, while simultaneously stepping outside of my comfort zone. I immediately joined Club Field Hockey and the Exercise Science Club, and made several friends who motivated me to give Greek Life a try. Becoming a member of Zeta Tau Alpha was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. Through ZTA, I fought for breast cancer education and awareness, met incredible girls I was fortunate enough to call sisters, and further developed my leadership skills. Holding Service Chair and Academic Achievement Chair positions on programming and executive councils, respectively, polished my communication and event planning skills as well.
Instilling in me the confidence to take on leadership roles outside of ZTA, I served as President of the Exercise Science Club for 2 years and helped develop the club into a prominent organization on campus. Through community involvement with local after-school program PNAC (Physical Activity, Nutrition, Academics, and Character Development), we were able to spread our message of exercise and healthy living to High Point’s youth.
With the support of stellar faculty and staff within the Exercise Science Department, the club developed a partnership with HPU’s Employee Wellness Program to host two student, faculty and staff wellness 5Ks under my presidency. All proceeds from our race were donated to our community partner, PNAC. From planning minute details with security and campus enhancement, to marketing our event to local vendors, HPU has provided me with chances to improve interpersonal connections that have been vital in carrying me through the graduate school interview process.
HPU’s Human Biomechanics and Physiology Laboratory has also provided me with the resources, technology, and guidance to pursue undergraduate research. Through Dr. Smoliga’s mentorship, I have collected, analyzed, and presented data twice at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Conferences, thus aiding in exposure to cutting edge research in world of exercise science.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “Immediately after the conclusion of the spring semester, exercise science students are able to complete an exercise physiology Maymester course that packs in a semester’s worth of coursework into three weeks, with the final week spent attending the ACSM Conference and World Congress on Exercise is Medicine. I decided to take this Maymester to get ahead in my major courses after freshman year, excited to experience an international research conference for the first time. Largely credited to Dr. Kimberly Reich’s teaching style, I absorbed an immense amount of knowledge through four hours of class daily, independent study, and weekly tests and projects. The structure of Dr. Reich’s class, her excitement about the content, and commitment to each student’s full grasp of the material made exercise physiology fun and engaging. Through her guidance, I was prepared to travel to Orlando with my classmates, and felt confident to attend lectures and colloquiums relevant to the physiological mechanisms we had learned.
While this is the only class I have had with Dr. Reich, she has made a lasting impact on my undergraduate career and remains one of the most influential people in my life. Such a positive, integrated experience at the 61ST ACSM Conference in Orlando motivated me to undergo two years of my own undergraduate research within HPU’s Human Biomechanics and Physiology Laboratory, presenting posters at subsequent ACSM Conferences in San Diego and Boston, respectively, for my work in cardiovascular endurance in elite runners. I thank Dr. Reich for exposing me to the world of exercise science outside of campus, as a quality educator has the ability to impact a student’s education beyond the context of a diploma.
Outside of the classroom, her influence on my collegiate career and personal ambitions was only just beginning. Early sophomore year at HPU, students are given permanent academic advisors for the duration of their undergraduate education. I was truly blessed to receive Dr. Reich as my advisor, who soon became one of the greatest teachers I have ever had, in more ways than one. I soon took over as president of the Exercise Science Club with great aspirations but little knowledge of campus procedures, or even how to bring my ideas to fruition. As advisor to the club in addition to my academic endeavors, I would spend countless hours in Dr. Reich’s office discussing club plans along with my personal semester, collegiate, and graduate school goals. Her wisdom helped shape the leader I am today, instilling in me the confidence to take on huge challenges with grace like that of planning and executing community outreach with PNAC and both Wellness 5Ks, all while maintaining a high level of academic excellence. Facilitating contacts in the community, utilizing her connections to publicize our events, and making a huge effort to be present at the majority of our meetings and activities, I owe immense gratitude to Dr. Reich for her guidance outside of the traditional scholarly environment. Even though she was my professor for only one abbreviated semester, I have been her student from the very beginning and will always look to her for advice in the face of uncertainty. She has shaped my work ethic, public speaking capabilities, field-based knowledge and determination that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “My most impactful moment at HPU was inviting PNAC to our second annual wellness 5K to race alongside students, faculty, and staff. Through donations from the event, and a ‘Best Student Project’ monetary award given to the Exercise Science Club for an original 3-week healthy living curriculum we designed for these children, we were able to donate $1,000 to this organization. The look in PNAC leader Ms. Jakki Davis’ eyes made all of our efforts worth it by offsetting some of cost for this remarkable nonprofit.”
Advice for underclassmen: “Never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone in the face of a new challenge. Throughout your undergraduate career you may be faced with opportunities that may seem daunting, or require a little more effort than you’re used to putting in. Take it on, work hard on every task, harness your leadership skills, and your efforts will not go unnoticed!”
It may be early in the semester, but Commencement will be here before we know it. Many High Point University seniors 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. View more extraordinary seniors from the Class of 2017 here.