Exercising Her Mind
Margarethe “Meg” Hauschildt '17 is on her way to a career in healthcare. But first, a stop in New York. Hauschildt will enter the doctoral program in physical therapy at Columbia University this fall.
The kinesiology/exercise science graduate says her UNH experience helped her get into grad school. No doubt it did. The Dover, New Hampshire, native and member of the university honors program packed a lot into four years.
Working Out with Meg
Last fall, Meg Hauschildt served as personal trainer to real clients as part of the UNH Employee Fitness Program. The program gives senior exercise science majors actual experience helping improve the fitness of UNH employees.
“It’s really hands-on,” says Hauschildt. “Instead of learning in a classroom setting and then studying and taking a test, you learn things through your four years as an exercise science student, and you’re able to use every single class from those four years — whether Cardiopulmonary Pathologies or Strength and Conditioning or Exercise Prescriptions in Special Populations — to really target clients. It’s really cool to have a practical application of that and actually get to work as a personal trainer.”
Hauschildt worked with three clients, measuring their body composition, strength, heart function and exercise capabilities at the beginning of the fall semester, then working out with them weekly and taking the same measures at the end of the semester.
“Thanks to Meg, I’m working out more effectively in less time,” says Sarah Schaier, one of Hauschildt’s clients. “It’s exactly what I hoped for when I signed up for the Employee Fitness Program. Plus, I enjoyed getting to know her. She is a perfect example of the student this university produces — directed, skilled and poised for success.”
Are you a UNH employee? Find out how the Employee Fitness Program can help you meet your fitness goals.
As a sophomore, she joined a sorority, secured a job on campus and got involved with the Association of Exercise Science Students. Then she began conducting research alongside College of Health and Human Services professor Summer Cook, who was investigating the effects of blood-flow restricted exercises on strength and quality of life in elderly adults. Participants in the study worked out with Cook and undergraduate researchers in the lab. Hauschildt focused on the study’s quality-of-life question, analyzing survey data to determine what impact, if any, the exercises had.
She shared her findings at the Undergraduate Research Conference, winning an award for excellence.
Bitten by the research bug, when that project ended, Hauschildt sought and received a grant from the UNH Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research to develop her own investigation into the effects of foam rolling on delayed onset muscle soreness and muscular performance in 21 participants. She teamed up with a classmate on the project, which was a two-year endeavor from applying for the research grant to seeking approval from the university's Institutional Review Board, deciding what tests to conduct on the participants, actually finding participants and then conducting the study under Cook’s advisement.
“It was a lot,” Hauschildt says. But it was worth it. “It was a good experience, and it taught us how to troubleshoot. It definitely helped me get into grad school.”
Cook concurs. “Completing undergraduate research gives students who are interested in pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy, like Meg, a competitive edge because the role of a physical therapist has expanded to not only include clinical practice but teaching and research as well,” she says. “The undergraduate research experience requires students to use their curiosity to solve problems and develop effective solutions.”
Hauschildt admits she likes a challenge, and now she’ll seek more. After a summer internship as a physical therapy technician, she’ll head to the Big Apple. After Columbia, she envisions a career in emergency medicine.
“I’m interested in fast-paced environments. I don’t think I could do the same exact same thing every day for rest of my life. I want to think on my feet and use all of my knowledge,” she says, adding, “But we’ll see. I have an open mind.”