Graduate ambassador spotlight: Alexandra Wiseman
The Graduate School is featuring eight students and their unique paths through higher education. The essay below is written by Alexandra Wiseman, a master's student in the School of Social Work.
When I first began my undergraduate degree in human kinetics at the University of Windsor, I had narrowed down my career pathway to chiropractor, physiotherapist, or secondary school teacher (spoiler alert: I changed my mind!). As my studies progressed, I found myself passionate about research, specifically, understanding how physical activity can impact our health and wellbeing across the lifespan. I spent two additional years completing a Master of Human Kinetics (M.H.K.) with a focus in adolescent health trends.
In Ontario, secondary school students are only required to participate in physical education (PE) for one out of four years. Unfortunately, after the ninth grade, enrollment often declines for various reasons. While many themes presented in terms of discontinuing PE (e.g., timetable conflicts, negative experiences, teacher preferences), it was most concerning that this could impact long-term health outcomes into adulthood. Specifically, PE was the only class in which mental health was formally explored as part of the curriculum. This is where the lightbulb went off.
My M.H.K. allowed me the opportunity to work as a health promoter with the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre. This role consisted of program development, health education, community collaboration, and mental health advocacy. During my time working in health promotion, I realized I was incredibly passionate about working with people and I thrived on connecting with them in a way that might benefit their overall wellbeing. These experiences helped me realize that I wanted to work with people by identifying their needs, helping develop a treatment plan, and facilitating therapeutic intervention.
At age 30, I began my Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) journey at Wayne State University, which offers both a program for BSW and non-BSW students. I was elated to have the chance to maintain my full-time job, attend school part-time, and commute from my hometown of Windsor, Ontario. The M.S.W. program at Wayne State carries a positive reputation across Windsor-Essex county and many alumni speak about the program with pride and nostalgia. I am thankful for my time at WSU and look forward to adding to the group of alumni who speak highly of the well-rounded and inclusive M.S.W. program in the years to come.