What happens to our Kinesiology graduates once they walk away from Cooke Hall for the last time? Many of us think about the students we got to know well, and hope they’re happy and enjoying satisfying lives and careers made possible by their years of study and hard work. Current students often wonder about what the future holds after they complete their degree. So, each month we’ll ask an alum to tell us about life after Kinesiology and share words of advice and wisdom learned during her or his time here. Our November 2015 feature is Ana Bellard Freire Ribeiro.
Ana began her PhD studies in 2009, working with Dr. Moira Petit in the area of exercise physiology, specifically bone adaptation to exercise in female dancers and athletes. When Dr. Petit left the University, Ana continued her studies with biomechanics professor Dr. Jűrgen Konczak. She is currently an assistant professor in the Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science Department at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. She teaches a variety of kinesiology courses and conducts research on physical activity with Division III female athletes. She has two daughters, 3 years old and 4 months old, and continues to teach and choreograph ballet in her “spare” time.
What sparked your decision to go to graduate school?
I wanted to pursue a career teaching in higher education, so a PhD was the natural route.
How do you think your experience at the U of M helped you in your career and personal goals?
My experience as a teaching assistant for four years and the teaching courses I took at the U of M helped me to improve my skills as an instructor. I also had the opportunity to learn from inspiring faculty such as Dr. Daheia Barr-Anderson, and my adviser Dr. Konczak, who challenged me to become a stronger, more knowledgeable professional.
What were some of your greatest challenges and best experiences as a graduate student?
The greatest challenges were the change in adviser half-way through my program and the dissolution of my original lab. The best experiences were sharing ideas with other students and the cartilage nano-indentation study I did with Dr. Narendra Simha, who was in Biomedical Engineering at the time and is now at Medtronic.
What advice would you give incoming graduate students?
Keep your focus, challenge yourself, stay positive, and network a lot!