|Exercise Science major, Lexi Williams. Photo courtesy of Jacob Romberg.|
A passionate Exercise Science major, Lexi Williams is sad that her UMD experience is coming to a close. “I really feel at home when I'm here,” says Williams. “It's going to be hard to leave UMD.” Williams certainly has a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Williams only applied to UMD because she was recruited for the track team. She started out running the 100, 200, and 400-meter dash, but wasn't getting the results she wanted. Her coach let her move up to the 800-meter dash. She excelled at this distance and in 2012 won the Division II national championship at 800 meters. Lexi Williams became UMD's first woman to win a national championship in a track event.
For Williams, although she loved being in track, she enjoys talking about her academics more. Williams' primary volunteer work was with the TLC Therapeutic Lifestyle Change) Program, organized through the Exercise Science program. Majors in this program take on older clients, principally people with heart anomalies or risk of cardiac problems. Then, each student designs a program to work with that specific client. Williams gained a lot of knowledge and expertise through this program. She found it helpful to work with a range of ages in prescribing exercise. “Older clients are great, they don't just follow you blindly,” Williams says. “They want to know why they need to do that specific workout, and if they don't like it, they won't always do it. It was a great experience.”
Looking back on her four years, Williams says that her original reasons for coming here are not the same as why she stayed. She started as a biology major, but soon realized that she wanted a career that allowed her to work with people. Although her work in athletics was a lot of fun, it didn't have the same impact that her courses did. Her professors made the biggest impact. “I haven't met a single person that isn't considerate or willing to go out of the way for students. UMD was the perfect school for me.”
After she graduates, Williams hopes to move to Asheville, North Carolina. She has applied to Old Dominion University, as a graduate student in the exercise physiology program. Williams will be applying to other schools as well, but Old Dominion is her first choice. After graduate school, Williams is considering two options, continuing in cardiac rehab or pursuing research, which she really enjoys. “If I could get my master's degree and then teach at a university while doing research, that would be something I'd really like,” she says.
Regardless where Lexi Williams ends up, whether it be cardiac rehab in a clinical setting or teaching and doing research at a university, it's clear that this soon-to-be-graduate is confident in the education she received at UMD. She looks forward to taking it to many different places. When asked how prepared she feels for the road ahead, Williams says, “People see that you've gone to UMD and they know that you'll be prepared. I would be comfortable stepping in the ring with any student from any other school.” Now that's Bulldog Pride.