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Department of Public Health and Human Performance

One of the overall goals of the community health field is to be proactive, creating a sense of overall well-being within communities by providing programs that focus on illness and injury prevention.

The Department of Public Health and Human Performance offers a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science that focuses on the scientific and applied study of the human body with regards to performance and prevention of injury. SUNY Potsdam's Excercise Science program is part of the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Education Recognition program, a prestigious recognition that gives SUNY Potsdam Excercise Science students an advantage over the competition.

The Department of Public Health and Human Performance offers a bachelor's degree in Community Health that helps prepare students for careers in substance abuse prevention, nutrition education, sex education, safety and injury prevention, disease prevention, therapeutic recreation and environmental health advocacy. A master's degree in Community Health prepares students to practice in the field of public health, which serves to enhance health through education, research, and policy.

The Department also offers six minors in Community Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Sexual Health, Therapeutic Recreation and Wilderness Education all allowing students to focus on a subject of their choosing to complement their major.

Taking the Lead

When Adam Smith ’15 entered SUNY Potsdam his freshman year, he never imagined he would be backpacking throughout the Adirondacks or scaling walls of ice and rock. Through the wilderness education program he gained leadership skills that set the stage for a successful career in outdoor education. Now he’s come full circle, back at SUNY Potsdam as an instructor in the same program where he was once a student.

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Road to Physical Therapy

SUNY Potsdam’s exercise science program has been a treadmill to success for Lucas Rucci ’20 and Wilber Parada ’20. Now in their final semester at SUNY Potsdam, both students were just accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy programs of their choice.

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Neishja Ransom ’17

After growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Neishja Ransom ’17 never expected to be bushwhacking through the Adirondacks or dangling from rock climbing walls, but that all changed when she came to SUNY Potsdam. The wilderness education program provided her with skills ranging from wilderness first aid and rock climbing to leadership in the backcountry that she parlayed into a leadership position with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York.

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Brooke Falsion ’19

Brooke Falsion ’19 is a record setter. During her time at SUNY Potsdam, she became the first All-American in the history of the SUNY Potsdam women’s soccer program. She was also the SUNYAC Offensive Player of the Year during her senior year, while setting several new SUNY Potsdam women’s soccer records, including being the all-time leading scorer with 46 career goals. Academically, she was just as impressive—recently graduating summa cum laude with a degree in exercise science.

Isata Tarawally '19

Community health major Isata Tarawally has already been putting her degree to use this semester as an intern with the American Red Cross in New York City. She has been visiting elementary schools and speaking with children about disaster preparedness as part of the Pillowcase Project. She will be heading back to the city after graduation to continue educating youth through an Americorps program with the same chapter of the American Red Cross.

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Dr. Janelle Jacobson

As a faculty member in SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Public Health and Human Performance, Dr. Janelle Jacobson teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in community health. From classwork to internships to professional projects, Jacobson believes that the best foundation for community health majors is to start tackling real-world problems.

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Faith and Compassion

Othman Ladan ’19 cares deeply about helping people, a devotion that is bolstered by his Muslim faith. During the summer of 2018, he returned to Ghana to educate Muslim women about breast cancer and co-founded an organization to help blind people.

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Twenty Years in the Wild

SUNY Potsdam’s wilderness education program has been cultivating student leaders for the past 20 years. Mark Simon started the program in 1996, taking what was then just a collection of physical education classes and turning it into an extensive wilderness leadership program.

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Joey Boswell '18

As a military veteran, Joey Boswell ’18 found SUNY Potsdam later in life—a transformative decision that helped him transition from a tumultuous time in the U.S. Army.

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Sarah Lister

As the internship coordinator for the Department of Public Health & Human Performance, Sarah Lister helps to connect students with local agencies for on-the-job training. Since she started at SUNY Potsdam in June 2017, forty percent of her students have been offered a job by at least one of their internship sites.

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Kristine Demeter '18 (M.S.)

Kristine Demeter ’18 is an integral part of the health coach program as a graduate assistant for the class taught by Assistant Professor Brent Crow—the same course she took as an undergraduate student.

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Nate Skidmore '18 (B.S.)

SUNY Potsdam exercise science major Nate Skidmore ’18 recently completed an intensive internship, at Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning in Middleton, Mass. He had been working with collegiate athletes, while also observing professional athletes training with company founder Mike Boyle, as part of a hands-on learning experience.

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Dr. Chris Torres

Dr. Christopher M. Torres joined SUNY Potsdam’s exercise science program last fall with the theory of making exercise fun, a philosophy he tries to impart to his students.

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Megan Schneider '21, an exercise science major at SUNY Potsdam, discusses her life-changing fitness and nutrition regimen since arriving at SUNY Potsdam.