Health and Physical education graduate student recognized at state level
Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years, and in 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cheryl Crews, a graduate student in the health and physical education program at Longwood University, has decided to make a career out of turning these statistics around.
"Growing up, I was always active in sports, and I knew I wanted to become a teacher, so I decided to combine the two," she said. "Today’s society needs educators who are willing to change children’s perspectives about physical activity, encouraging them to lead physical, active lifestyles and be healthier."
After earning her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in health and physical education from Longwood in 2012, Crews, a Gretna, Va. native, decided to stay on campus to pursue her graduate studies.
"Longwood has been my home for the past five years," she said. "I love the community and the campus as a whole. I didn’t want to go anywhere else for graduate school – I couldn’t imagine being anywhere but here."
Crews said her professors’ commitment to students and passion for their profession has forever solidified her loyalty to the program and the university.
"They care about us as individuals, and they want what is best for our future," said Crews, who would like to teach physical education in a local K-12 school when she graduates. "Not only do they teach us, but they are always supporting our goals and looking out for job opportunities."
One way Crews has been able to build her professional experience has been through a graduate assistantship. In addition to providing financial support, the assistantship has allowed Crews to work alongside faculty members in her program to teach and develop lesson plans for undergraduate physical education courses.
She also recently attended the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (VAHPERD) convention held Nov. 10 in Roanoke. In addition to networking with professionals in the field, Crews was awarded the VAHPERD Graduate Scholarship Award. The award is given to one graduate student in Virginia each year and includes a plaque and check for $250. Crews was nominated for the award by a faculty member in her program.
"I felt very honored to be chosen for the award, and I was so happy to represent Longwood on a state level," Crews said. "This is just one of the many great experiences I’ve had because of Longwood. I can honestly say that my years at Longwood have, so far, been the best years of my life."