BHSU professors developing international internship for exercise science majors

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, February 1, 2016/Categories: 2016

Black Hills State University professors Dr. Dan Jensen and Craig Triplett recently returned from a trip to China where they are developing a faculty-led internship course for BHSU exercise science students to work with Olympic athletes in Beijing.

"This is something our students can put on their resume that no one else has," Triplett said. "To take an international trip and work with Olympian athletes is a huge opportunity."

In addition to laying the groundwork for building the course, Jensen and Triplett also gave a two-day course educating team doctors and strength coaches on athletic rehabilitation at the Jiangsu Research Institute of Sports Medicine in China. This is Jensen's third trip to China to educate and work with international athletes and physical therapists.

Jensen and Triplett hope to travel to China again in the late spring to finalize details for the course. Triplett said the first internship could be awarded as early as the spring 2017 semester. Students will travel to China with faculty members as a component of the faculty-led course.

"Having a cultural experience like this definitely changes your life," Jensen said. "It's part of the reason we want to take students. Not only to expose them academically, but culturally."

Triplett added that an internship overseas will play a huge impact not only on a student's academic record, but in their lives. He noted that BHSU students have expressed strong interest in the internship experience and would like that experience to also apply to their degree program. This program will allow for students to gain internship credit and gain an international experience at the same time without delaying their graduation date.

As faculty members, Triplett and Jensen say presenting to an international audience is beneficial when they return to BHSU to educate their students.

"Any opportunity you have to present via a translator, makes you a more patient and diligent instructor," Triplett said. "These trips only enhance our exercise science department."

Hands-on training opportunities, and adding an international component to an already existing course is a great way to achieve both internships and international travel. Internships are something BHSU students take great pride in especially in the exercise science program. Recent graduate Sarah Aid earned her degree in exercise science, completed an internship at Regional Health as a part of her coursework and is now working for Regional Health as an exercise therapist.

"I loved the hands-on science," Aid said. "Going into the working field I feel prepared because my professors have given me that hands on experience and related lessons to real life situations."

Whether the internship opportunities are in this community or across the world, BHSU students are getting the quality education they need to prepare themselves for the professional work force, Jensen said.

Currently, the International Office staff have been working with a variety of faculty members to develop international credit-bearing opportunities for students. Dr. Katherine Wildman, director of the International Relations and Global Engagement Office commended the faculty for their entrepreneurial efforts to provide innovative international experiences to exercise science majors.

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