Liz Winsor ’24, Standout Exercise Science Student, Baylor-Bound For Graduate Program
Liz Winsor ’24 toured five campuses when she was choosing a college. She wasted little time picking Keene State, for the vibe she felt immediately: A sense of community, tight-knit relationships, and a beautiful campus where “I just knew it would be hard to be seen as a stranger.”
That was four years ago.
Looking back, she says her first impression was spot on.
With a little more than one semester to go in Liz’s undergraduate studies at Keene State, the exercise science major who aspires to be a strength and conditioning coach at a Division I college or university has added another layer to her education.
Liz has been accepted into Baylor University’s graduate program for sports pedagogy, all expenses paid, to work toward her Master of Science. That “exciting” assistantship experience will include teaching a general education undergraduate class.
Nothing about her college journey, including the graduate opportunity, would have been possible without the connective community of faculty, mentors, and friends she found at Keene State, she says.
“I value the faith that so many people have had in me, and for making opportunities available to me, from the first day I arrived on campus.”
I love the field I’m in. The work is super rewarding. You’re helping people, building in your own philosophies, and there is always new research and new methods. You can learn continuously. I’m grateful now to be able to continue to do that at a Division I Power 5 school.”
– Liz Winsor
Liz is driven. She’s passionate. She’s pragmatic.
She admits to a take-things-as-they-come attitude and liking short naps.
But those who know her best are not fooled. Her energy is unmistakable, they say, as is the clear vision she has long had for a career that she knows will bring meaning to her personal and professional life.
“She is amazing,” says Sarah Testo, Keene State’s head strength and conditioning coach and an adjunct faculty member in the Human Performance and Movement Science Department. “As a teaching assistant, she has been such a great asset. She has a hands-on style, helps students understand course material, and holds study sessions. She is a leader and a motivator.”
“I love the field I’m in,” says Liz, of Clinton, Massachusetts, and who is captain of the Owls’ women’s rugby club team. “The work is super rewarding. You’re helping people, building in your own philosophies, and there is always new research and new methods. You can learn continuously. I’m grateful now to be able to continue to do that at a Division I Power 5 school.”
Developing talents and preparing students to adapt and evolve in a shifting world is at the heart of the growth experience Keene State offers. Eighty-eight percent of all graduates are employed or in grad school within one year of their graduation.
Liz’s path is one more example of students taking advantage of individualized academic attention and finding and celebrating rewarding discoveries.
Exercise science at Keene State is a multidisciplinary, evidence-based program. A fast-growing academic discipline, it’s a perfect fit for Liz.
“New research all the time, new methods of performance and coaching. I don’t think I will ever really stop learning.”
She calls her work as a research assistant with Dr. Melanie Adams in the College’s Human Performance and Movement Science Department (HPMS) a highlight of her undergraduate education. The exercise science program is part of HPMS, along with physical education.
The research included conducting studies, publishing a journal, and presenting across New England on the topic of updating and de-gendering dated fitness assessments. A published manuscript that Liz authored was borne out of that research. The topic of revising push-up standards also drew the interest of the Washington Post, one of the nation’s largest daily newspapers, which published a story titled “No more “girl” push-ups.”
The goal of the research is to remove gender from the test protocols so that the fitness is inclusive for trans and non-binary populations, Dr. Adams says.
“Being a part of that project gave me the confidence to keep pushing toward what I enjoy most and what I saw in Dr. Adams, that passion. It was very influential.”
In Keene State, she says she found everything she imagined, and more, during that first visit. And a few bonuses. For example, students partnering with faculty and peers to move learning forward in real-world ways is the norm, not the exception, Liz says.
Testo, Dr. Adams, and Liz’s academic adviser, Dr. Wanda Swiger, were fully invested in her student journey, she says. “They are all great people that I have worked with here, who have supported me, and who were there for me during the application process to Baylor, too.”
“I work so hard in everything I do, and I am proud of how far I have come but I also know how much I have pushed myself to be successful and that has been the biggest return on investment for me, seeing my dedication pay off.”
And about those naps, she tries to sneak a short one in each day. Think of it as a quick refuel.
“I’m pretty good at it; I can fall asleep on a dime. But those who know me know that I don’t take much time off. I keep a busy schedule, on purpose. It’s an approach that has served me well.”