Undergraduate Programs

KHE Alumni Spotlight

headshotMariah McAfee

B.S., Kinesiology (All Level Certification), 2010 Physical Education, Health and Wellness Instructor at K12’s International Academy

Reflections on time in KHE:

I'm grateful to have been able to be part of such a wonderful, supportive program.  The professors really helped me gain the most from all that I did, and expected nothing but the best from all of their students. As much of a challenge that each course presented, all of them were created to help prepare me for my time in my career. The University of Texas at Austin, and the KHED/PETE professors really created more than just a place to learn, they created a community that I can still refer back to when I need help.  I am so glad to have been a part of something so wonderful.

Words of wisdom:

Do the best that you can, share your love of helping students to become healthy and active for a lifetime, and above all continue to learn from those around you. For the moment you stop learning is the moment you stop teaching.

headshotJason Bourgeois

Masters in Education Administration, UT Austin, 2012 Academic Counselor, Department Intercollegiate Athletics-Olympic Sports at UT Austin

Further education:

Masters in Education Administration, UT Austin, 2012

Reflections on time in KHE:

During my time in KHE I felt like I was part of a family, and it made my undergraduate experience a great time. From peers to faculty and staff we were all in the journey together, and that is hard to find at a large University. I'll never forget being in Anatomy lab for 3 hours at a time (yes, you stay for all 3 hours), late night group study sessions to get ready for the KIN 310 exams, and of course KIN club, which I wish I would have discovered before my senior year.

Words of wisdom:

Make time to work in office hours with your professors/TA's at least once every two weeks, meet with your advisor a month in advance of every registration period, and do not graduate without taking a visit to the top of the RLM to look through the telescope on Wednesday nights.

headshotClarissa N. Alvarado

B.S., Kinesiology, B.A., History, 2002 Assistant Principal, Hendrickson High School-Pflugerville ISD

Further education:

Master's in Educational Administration, The University of Texas at Austin, 2010

Reflections on time in KHE:

I love PETE/KHE, and the culture the professors created is part of what made it so special and unique. The professors in the PETE Program were not only models of quality teaching, but they also modeled building strong relationships with their students. They invested time in getting to know us, have fun with us, yet challenged us to be the best in our role. Rigor and high expectations were never compromised, and for that, I am thankful. Some of my best and most treasured memories, along with lifelong friendships, are rooted in my days with the PETE/KHE. Though I am not teaching physical education, I continue to value, promote, and model a healthy lifestyle. I attribute my growth professionally and personally to the professors of the PETE/KHE program.

Words of wisdom:

I recently went into remission from breast cancer, so life has taught me many lessons. We are never prepared for such challenges, but we can grow stronger and be better for it.  Life is what you make of it. No matter where your life journey takes you, always take care of your social, emotional, and physical well being. We have to take care of ourselves first and foremost, and the rest will follow. Welcome each day, smile, and LIVE!

headshotVanessa Martínez Lagunas

Health Promotion and Fitness, 2004 PhD Candidate in Sports Science at the University of Leipzig, Germany, UEFA Pro Soccer Coaching License Holder & FIFA Women’s Soccer and Grassroots Instructor

Further Education:

M.A., Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology, 2007

Reflections on time in KHE:

I am extremely grateful for the time I spent in the Kinesiology and Health Education Department at UT Austin. The education, guidance and support I received from world-class faculty & staff members have influenced my professional and personal life in a very positive way. It was in KHE that my passion for teaching, research and coaching was born, and where I learned lessons and skills that have opened many doors for me at the international level. I am very proud to be a “KHE Longhorn.”

Words of wisdom:

  1. Dream big and set your short- and long-term goals;
  2. Be passionate about what you do; and
  3. Learn to speak foreign languages.

headshotMegan Linn Vasquez

B.S. Kinesiology, Applied Movement Science Physical Education Teacher, LCPL Nicholas S. Perez Elementary School

Reflections on time in KHE:

My time as a teacher in AISD has given me an even greater appreciation for my time studying in Kinesiology and Health Education. Know that everything, everything, you do here is for a reason. This program will prepare you to be successful in your field of choice. The faculty and staff are so supportive and are willing to help you reach your goals, whatever they might be.

Words of wisdom:

Take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to you with the outstanding professors and instructors.  Enjoy your time in undergrad and follow your dreams. 

headshotDavid Middaugh

Health Promotion & Fitness, 2007 Austin Manual Therapy Associates. Currently attending the Manual Therapy Institute for Orthopedic Manual Therapy Specialist Certification.

Further education:

Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Texas State University, 2011

Reflections on time in KHE:

I could not have imagined my time at UT being any better than it was. I grew in more ways that I expected, as I was challenged not only academically, but socially and spiritually too. Some of my best memories came from getting to know my classmates and professors in the kinesiology department. The faculty challenged me to pursue going to graduate school and find out what I really was good at in life.

Words of wisdom:

Strongly desire to know and understand the truth about your life, education and environment - then stand in it. This is what I learned to do at UT Austin and I can’t imagine life without it.

headshotSam Ditzell

Health Promotion and Fitness, 2000 Owner and trainer, Austin Fitness Clinic

Reflections on time in KHE:

Remembering my time in the departments isn’t easy; it was some time ago. I see myself as a very different person then, but I suppose that’s the point. I didn’t give enough credit to the program and the people instructing me when I was there. I was in such a hurry to get out into the world and start. I remember thinking at times that my studies were holding me back and delaying my career. When I finally started working, I was shocked at how prepared the program had made me. My career experience was coming fast, and without my time in the department as a foundation, I couldn’t have kept up. That foundation was vital, but even more so were the people, the contacts within the faculty that I met as an undergrad. Jumping into the world of personal training, I didn’t feel like I was alone. Having kept in touch with these same professors, I continue to utilize their guidance and support some 13 years after graduating. These relationships remain by far the most valuable part of my undergrad years.

Words of wisdom:

Make a lot of mistakes. I’ve learned so much more from mistakes than achievements (in school, but especially in my career). If you decide to go to graduate school, don’t drop out like I did. I had delusions in 2000 about continuing my graduate studies later on in life, but life will always get too busy. Treasure the people in the program rather than the class material. The material is replaceable, but the relationships with your professors and fellow students are not.

headshotErin Madden

Health Promotion and Fitness, 2003 Owner, East End Fitness

Reflections on time in KHE:

The time I spent in the KHE department was extremely memorable. I loved being enrolled in a program that I was so passionate about, and that I knew would prepare me for my profession. I found the entire faculty and staff to be very supportive and helpful with all of the steps of my degree program.

Words of wisdom:

My advice to students is to trust the process: all of the hard work does pay off. Don't miss out on big opportunities, and build relationships with your professors.

headshotMichele Rusnak

B.S., Kinesiology, 1990 Physical & Health Education Supervisor, Austin ISD

Reflections on time in KHE:

I didn't realize it at the time, but the preparation, effort and support that I received prepared me for a job that could change the lives of thousands and thousands of students.

Words of wisdom:

Being a physical educator is not just about teaching skills and movement; its teaching the “why" and being able to relate it to a student so it becomes a value for their lifetime.

headshotHanson Yang, DPT, PT, ATC, LAT

Athletic Training Education Program, 2006 Physical Therapist, Assistant Athletic Trainer with the Dallas Cowboys

Further education:

Masters of Science, Kinesiology, University of Nevada Las Vegas
DDoctorate of Physical Therapy, Texas Tech University Health Science Center

Reflections on time in KHE:

The athletic training program at UT gave me the skills I needed to pursue my life long goals. It provided a great education and life skills that I will be able to pass on to others. I also gained many great friendships and contacts that will help in the present and future. Everything that I have learned and gained I owe to where it all started, and that is at the University of Texas.

Words of wisdom:

Work hard and work harder all day everyday.

headshotJustin Newman

General Kinesiology, 2006 Physical Therapist at College Station Medical Center

Further education:

Masters of Education, UT Austin, 2007
Doctorate of Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, 2011
Masters of Science in Athletic Training, Texas A&M University, 2013

Reflections on time in KHE:

I truly cherish my time as a Kinesiology student at UT. The experiences and relationships I built are some of my fondest memories: from volunteering with Austin School for the Blind, to promoting health and fitness in the community, and observing toddlers for Motor Learning. My professors in Kinesiology not only prepared me for graduate school, but also demanded my best as a student and prepared me to be a professional.

Words of wisdom:

Figure out what it is that you are passionate about, and seek out a mentor who is doing what you'd like to do. Volunteer, intern, or get a job as an assistant. Be a sponge! Try to learn and absorb as much as you can from an experienced mentor in your field.

headshotJennifer Donnelly-Straach

Health Promotion and Fitness, 2002 Physical Medicine and Rehab Physician at Spine Team Texas specializing in the non-surgical management of spine disorders, with associated nerve testing.

Further education:

Medical Degree, Texas Tech 2002-2006
Internship, John Peter Smith Hospital 2006-2007
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine Residency, Emory University 2007-2010

Reflections on time in KHE:

My health promotion and fitness degree has continued to be helpful throughout my career as a physician. As part of my program, I was involved with the personal training of other students. Almost daily, I use the knowledge I gained to speak with patients about exercise routines and exercise modifications to help treat their pain and promote general health and wellness. 

Words of wisdom:

Take advantage of learning everything you can from the amazing faculty at UT.  Expose yourself to the many different occupations that you can work in with a Kinesiology degree, so you know what your options are.  Get involved in on campus activities and volunteer in the community.

headshotQuadrian Banks

Health Promotion and Fitness, 2003 Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at the Philadelphia Eagles

Further education:

Masters of Education, Prairie View A&M, 2005

Reflections on time in KHE:

You learn so much through the experiences in the KHE department and curriculum. I still remember when the light bulb clicked on for me. I was in a class when my instructor was explaining why an exercise should engage your core. At the time, I didn’t get it because the information was different than what I had learned as a high school athlete. Once I understood the techniques and the “whys” behind them, I use those same teaching/coaching cues with my athletes daily. When I think back on the relationships I had with my professors and classmates at Texas, I am overwhelmed with pride and happiness. You can’t understand how much you have grown until you look back and see where you were when you started.

Words of wisdom:

While in school, be a giant sponge. Shame on you if you do not soak up every bit of the hundreds of resources available. Some of the best teachers and researchers are there at UT. Take notes, understand the “why” behind everything - not just the “what.” See and experience as many different things as possible and when you decide to go after what you set as you goals, go get it!

headshotKatherine (“Kassi”) Johnson

Athletic Training, 2008 Assistant Athletic Trainer at The University of Texas at Austin

Further education:

M.Ed. in Kinesiology - Athletic Training, University of Virginia, 2010

Reflections on time in KHE:

The Athletic Training Education Program at UT taught me a multitude of life skills. I experienced how to be successful professionally in the environment that I aspired to work in. Personally, I learned how to work and communicate well with my peers, and this helped all aspects of my life. Additionally, the faculty and staff within the KHE department were a pleasure to work with, enlightening to learn from, and always willing to help. I simply couldn’t ask for a better foundation for my future career as an athletic trainer.

Words of wisdom:

Try your best not to let a moment go by without stopping to appreciate and indulge in where you are. Life is short, college-life is shorter, so embrace every minute and DREAM BIG!

headshotBrad Endres

Athletic Training, 2011 Athletic Training Resident, New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute’s Integrated Clinical Sports Medicine Residency 2012-13

Reflections on time in KHE:

I didn’t know the KHE department even existed when I first entered UT! Fortunately, I switched majors early on and my time in the KHE department has taken me from small town Texas to the national stage as an athletic training student working with Longhorn athletics and at the professional level. My experiences in KHE have inspired me to always reach for more and taught me that hard work will pay off. I was also fortunate to be surrounded with other students and faculty that shared the same degree of motivation as I did. The work ethic, education, and friendships I made during my time in the KHE have all greatly prepared me for the professional world.

Words of wisdom:

Find what you’re passionate about and make a career of it. Build relationships with friends and mentors and keep them strong. Don’t take the easy road even if everyone else is doing it. Find a healthy balance between work and play. As a mentor (frequently) told the ATEP students when we started the program: “Work hard now so that life is easier later on.”

headshotMatthew Camarillo

B.S. Kinesiology, 2004 University of Kentucky Orthopedic Surgery Sport Medicine Fellowship

Further education:

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical Degree 2004-2008
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Orthopedic Surgery Residency 2008-2013

Reflections on time in KHE:

My time in the Kinesiology department and as a student athletic trainer provided me with an excellent background for my future education.  The classes gave me a solid foundation for understanding the fundamentals of anatomy and biomechanics of the human body.  My time as a student athletic trainer taught me the basics of history taking and physical exam of common athletic injuries.  Everything I learned I was able to carry over to medical school and orthopedic residency.  I think my experience in undergrad gave me a great foundation for my future career.

Words of wisdom:

Take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to you with the number of outstanding professors and instructors.  Enjoy you time in undergrad and follow your dream. 

headshotCynthia Denise Villarreal

Applied Movement Science, Fall 2011 Physical Education teacher, Murchison Middle School

Reflections on time in KHE:

As a student in the KHE department I was surrounded and supported by countless faculty who helped me learn and better understand all content and concepts. I never realized how many times in my professional career that I would go back to my old notes to use something innovative in my classroom. Thanks to the faculty in the PETE department I was over prepared for my career and have exceeded expectations at my school on what a physical education class should look like.

Words of wisdom:

Take a lot of good notes! There were times I wouldn't take notes in class because I "knew" it already, only to try to remember that specific topic now and get mad that I didn't take notes in the first place. Even if you think you won't use it, just jot something down.

headshotCrystal M. Holley

Athletic Training, 2006 Assistant Athletic Trainer at Brandeis High School

Further education:

M.Ed., Texas State University, 2008

Reflections on time in KHE:

My time as a student at UT Austin will always have a special place in my heart. Not only did I receive a great education, I was able to mature and grow as a person with the help and guidance of my peers and professors. The long hours of athletic training were well worth the input as my classmates and supervisors became my second family. I am the person I am today because of the time I spent at UT and I am very thankful.

Words of wisdom:

Stay focused, work hard, and make memories. This is an experience you only get to live once, make the most of it. Hook ‘em!

headshotDahlia Royal

B.S. Kinesiology, 2002 Physical Education teacher and Head Girls Track and Field Coach

Reflections on time in KHE:

Grateful to have such a wonderful and supportive professors during my time at the University of Texas. Tere Ramirez, Dolly Lambdin, Amanda Gammage expected nothing but the best of me. If was definitely a challenge, but I left prepared. If this University can’t motivate you to challenge yourself to be the best, I’m not sure who can!

Words of wisdom:

My life and teacher motto: “Be humble in your actions, be selfless in your thoughts—Lead to Serve, Lead to Mentor, Lead to Build.”

headshotCamille Barton

General Kinesiology, 1994 As a Physician Assistant in Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine with The Orthopaedic Center of Corpus Christi, we not only care for the local community but also serve as team physicians for Texas A&M University Kingsville and Corpus Christi as well as for Semi-Professional Baseball and Hockey Teams in the Corpus Christi area.

Further education:

Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Physician Assistant, 2001

Reflections on time in KHE:

With a fulfilling career as a Physician Assistant in Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, I look back fondly on my time as a student in the Department of KHE. The Department fostered an environment of camaraderie while I earned a world-class education in Kinesiology. This provided the solid foundation for my career in Orthopaedics. It was this early introduction to the importance of networking which proved paramount to developing lasting professional relationships and personal friendships with faculty and fellow students. These long-term connections have enhanced not only my professional development throughout my career, but my personal life as well.

Words of wisdom:

Take the time to cultivate lasting relationships with those you meet in your college years, while pursuing a career path that is most fulfilling to you. Many of those friends and acquaintances will be your future colleagues and lifelong friends. HOOK ‘EM HORNS!!

Last updated on June 4, 2013