Grad Student Experience

Get the student perspective on what it's like going through the HHP graduate program.

Life as an HHP Graduate Student

Starting a graduate program is an exciting and challenging endeavor, and it helps to know what you might be getting yourself into. Written entirely by graduate students here at HHP, the following posts are focused on giving prospective students insight into what their lives are like. They'll talk honestly about research, teaching and everything in between — divulging the tedious parts of the research process, and the joyous feeling when things go right. Follow their experiences below...


I am a first-year master’s student in Applied Physiology & Kinesiology. After finishing a bachelor’s degree with the department, I decided I wanted to pursue a master’s degree to hone in on the aspects of exercise physiology I’m really interested in. I work in the Molecular Physiology of Muscle Laboratory, where we study the underlying mechanisms that are at the root of many clinical diseases, including muscular dystrophy and diabetes. In my career, I’d like to bridge the gap between researchers and the rest of the community. There is so much cool research going on, literally under our roof, which most HHP students know nothing about! I want to change that.



I am a first-year Ph.D. student in Health Education & Behavior with a concentration in Health Behavior. My research interests are in choice and decision making in health-related behaviors. I am specifically interested in applying behavioral economic concepts, which blend economic theories of rationality and decision making with the evidence base of human behaviors from psychology, to explore risky health behaviors (HIV/AIDS) and loss-of control disorders (addiction, obesity). I also want to make my approach holistic by finding ways to close the research to practice gap and develop implementable real world policy solutions to these preventable problems. I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology and my masters in clinical psychology at the University of Maryland.



I am a second-year Ph.D. student in Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management. My PhD will be in Sport Management (if I make it through!), just as my M.S. from UF is (2016). My research focus is on youth and collegiate sport, and the management/societal implications of sport in the amateur domain. I work out of the LAADR (the Laboratory for Athlete and Athletics Development and Research). I have served as a TA for the department since 2014, when I returned to UF to begin work on my MS. I graduated from Clemson (1997) with a BA in Psychology and started graduate school at UF in Counseling, which I promptly left to pursue a career in playing and coaching soccer. In that career I grew weary of the dynamics in youth and college sport, so I came back to UF to try to make an impact through research and teaching. My aim is to inform next generations of the gravity of the amateur sport system in shaping adult humans.



I am a second-year Ph.D student in Applied Physiology & Kinesiology currently working in the Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Lab (Christou). I received my bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Northern Kentucky University before heading south to UF to further my academic career. My research goals are focused how to make our lives healthier, longer, and more robust using exercise and lifestyle interventions. Diabetes and aging are two major focus areas in our lab right now, in addition to high intensity interval training (HIIT) and its use along multiple spectrums of health and disease. I desire to broaden my own as well as the field’s communication skills so that we can properly disseminate our research to the public for the benefit of all.



I am a second-year doctoral student in Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management with a concentration in tourism. My research focuses on educational tourism and cross-cultural adaptation among college students. As an international student myself, I live through the process of cultural adaptation. People always tell me, you just have to immerse yourself in the new culture, GRADUALLY, you will get used to it. However, I kept thinking, how exactly do I get from “feeling lost” to “getting used to it”? Is it possible? Do leisure activities help? If I could answer these questions, I may be able to help other students who study abroad to better adjust to the new environment. Therefore, after two years of getting my master’s degree in tourism from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focusing on tourism marketing, I came to UF, switched my research direction, and started my Ph.D. journey.