"The Competitive Advantage"

The Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center is Saint Mary's College of California’s newest addition to campus. It demonstrates the College’s commitment to the health and well-being of the Saint Mary’s community. With over 13,000-square-feet of fitness area including three indoor courts that can be used for basketball, soccer, and volleyball, as well as a rock climbing wall and pool, many on-campus job opportunities are now available to both undergraduate and graduate students. We spoke with two employees, Ashley Anand and Cameron Wiggins, who are both currently studying Kinesiology. Ashley is finishing her last year in the graduate program, while Cameron is enjoying his third year as an undergraduate. They shared with us some of their experiences working in the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center and have provided some personal insights about their studies in SMC’s Kinesiology program.

Ashley Anand
MA in Kinesiology '17
Undergraduate: California State University, East Bay
Undergraduate Major: Health Science

Ashley at Desk

What made you choose Saint Mary's and the Graduate Kinesiology Program?

There were many factors that went into my decision to pursue my Master's at Saint Mary's. I had already been a part of the Saint Mary's community as an employee for some time, but what mostly pulled me in was how quickly I was able to get a feel for the small community and the Lasallian Core Principles. After getting my undergraduate degree at Cal State East Bay with over 14,800 students and then working at San José State University with over 32,700 students, I was instantly able to feel the difference at Saint Mary's.

What is your favorite part about the Graduate Kinesiology Program?

My favorite part of the Graduate Kinesiology program would have to be the small classroom setting as well as the many connections and networking opportunities offered throughout the program.

You mention being able to connect and network with others while completing the program, is there any particular class or professor that has made a lasting impression on you so far?

All of the classes definitely leave a lasting impression on you. Whether or not you are already working in the field, there is always something to take away from the course or at least something you can connect with. Each instructor has a unique approach and I think that helps shape the program. I have really enjoyed my time with Professor Bill Manning. Professor Manning is someone with a wealth of knowledge. His experience and management style is something I definitely admire.

What do you hope to accomplish after you graduate?

After completing the program and receiving my Master's, I plan to continue to work in an environment where I am able to connect recreation and sport with student development.

What challenges have you faced as a graduate student?

Not that there aren't challenges as a graduate student, but what I have found is that the actual content of the coursework in graduate school is much more enjoyable than my undergraduate coursework. Fortunately, I have not faced unforeseen challenges. Since I also work as the Director of Recreation Operations at the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center, where I oversee facility operations and marketing as it relates to recreation programs, time management or trying to work out a schedule can be a slight challenge.

How has your experience been working at the SMC Campus Recreation Center?

My experience working at the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center has been great. I work in a unique field that allows me to be in an active environment that promotes health and wellness all the while I still get the added benefit of working with and mentoring students.

Which of your classes have aided in your understanding of being a better supervisor at the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center?

A few of the classes have aided me in my role of supervisor such as KINES 372: External Relations with Professor Leilani Wagner and KINES 330: Supervision and Legal Aspects with Professor Piper Brewster. Being that I also oversee Campus Recreation’s social media outlets, there were a lot of details from these classes that I am able to apply to my role. As I oversee facility operations, risk management is a large portion of the role. Supervision and Legal Aspects is a course that allowed me to reflect on my current role and/or my future role(s) and consider how the content of the course can be applied throughout my day-to-day activities.

We are also featuring Cameron Wiggins. What has your experience been like working with Cameron?

Cameron Wiggins and I both started at Saint Mary's in the Fall of 2014. He was one of the very first students hired to work at the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center. He played a huge role in assisting me with training student staff as we prepared to open the facility in March of 2015. As a freshman, he had great leadership skills and was a great example for his peers. With time, now as a junior, he is an exceptional leader and is easily a "go-to" for multiple areas throughout Campus Recreation based on his reliability. I have been pretty fortunate to work with some amazing students in the last 7 years and Cameron is definitely one of the many!

Cameron Wiggins
BA in Kinesiology '18
Saint Mary's College of California
Emphasis:Health and Human Performance

Cam and coworker at desk

What made you want to attend to Saint Mary's College?

I came to Saint Mary's mostly for rugby. I had heard of the school, and was interested in it but I never really put too much thought into attending because I was all set to go to Chico State. My high school rugby team came to the campus to see a rugby game and I met the rugby coaches there. After talking to them, and some of the players, I decided to apply and try to play rugby here. I was accepted and fell in love with the school. I played rugby for my first year and then stopped because of a knee injury.

What is your favorite part about the Undergraduate Kinesiology Program?

I think my favorite part of the Kinesiology program is that you begin to go through classes with the same group of students. There are multiple students that I'll have almost every class with, which really helps when it comes to studying and learning.

Now that you are a junior, has any particular class or professor made a lasting impression on you so far?

I think my Sport Psychology class with Professor Steve Miller has been my favorite class so far, and I can almost guarantee I'll remember what I learned there for years. Professor Miller is also my advisor and is very involved in the Kinesiology department, so I've gotten to know him pretty well. He's very helpful and one of my favorite professors.

What do you hope to accomplish after you graduate?

After I graduate I hope to get a job in athletics on a college campus either working for the Athletic Department or Campus Recreation and helping students and student athletes to succeed.

Do you hope to attend Graduate School in the same field of studies?

I do hope to attend graduate school for Kinesiology, and hopefully at Saint Mary's to make a smoother transition for myself.

What positions do you hold at the Campus Recreation Center?

The recreation center has a ton of opportunities for employees to take advantage of. I am able to hold the positions of Club Sport Coordinator, Athletic Camp Operations Coordinator, Recreation Facility Supervisor, and Lifeguard at the Campus Recreation Center.

How has your experience been working at the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center?

My experience at the Campus Recreation Center has been great. I love working there and often leave with a sense of accomplishment. Working at the Recreation Center has been great and helped me to shape what I want to do after graduation. At first I wanted to do athletic training, but working for Campus Recreation helped me to see that I like the administration side of athletics and that there is a way to balance the more “hands on” aspects of Kinesiology with the administrative side of it.

What has your experience been like working with Ashley Anand?

I love working with Ashley. She's super nice and cares a lot for all of her student employees. I think that she has helped me to grow as a supervisor and student worker at the Recreation Center. Whenever I make a mistake or have an issue, she is good at finding a way to help me see that mistake in a constructive manner instead of bringing me down. She knows how to adjust for different people she's working with or who are working for her to allow everyone to thrive and do well together.