Jeremiah Gaines is a Lecturer in the Applied Physiology and Wellness department at the SMU Simmons School. He graduated from Simmons with a Bachelor's in Sports Management in 2017 and a Master's in Educational Leadership in 2019.
What do you do professionally and what is most rewarding about your job?
I currently serve as a Lecturer in the Applied Physiology and Wellness department where I teach Personal Responsibility and Wellness (PRW) 1 and Personal Responsibility and Wellness (PRW) 2 classes. In PRW 1, we discuss how our individual decisions impact our life. We look at our decisions in the context of physical, financial, stress and other forms of wellness and how to maximize all these components to positively influence our holistic wellness. PRW 2 on the other hand is where we specifically focus on the physical aspect of wellness and how we can use different exercises (skiing, basketball, weight training) to positively impact of physical fitness.
The most rewarding part of my job is at the end of the semester each student writes a reflection about their experience in my class, and I love hearing from students who gained an awareness of an area of improvement and implement steps to improve that area to enhance the quality of their life.
What were some of the most meaningful aspects of your education at Simmons?
I had the opportunity to experience two different programs within Simmons (Sport Management and Educational Leadership) and it is amazing to me that I am in a space where I can flow between both programs to enrich the courses. In my PRW 2 classes there was information that the faculty taught me 3 or 4 years ago that I still glean from today. In my PRW 1 class I use my knowledge of universities and student theory to engage with my students on a personal level.
Lastly, I could not go without mentioning the amazing Faculty that taught me the value of transparency and vulnerability with students. I think students open up quicker with me because I admit my mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and give an appropriate amount of information about my personal life. I would not have thought that was possible without the mentorship over various Professors like Dr. David Bertrand, Professor Laura Robinson, Dr. Ashley Tull, and Dr. Kiersten Ferguson.
How did your education at Simmons prepare you for your professional career?
I would have to say that one meaningful aspect of my education was the practicality of the content and how the content was given. During my undergraduate years, I can recall learning about proper weight training methods in class and then shortly after we traveled to the weight room and physically learned the weight training methods to compliment what we discussed in the classroom. Additionally, during my Masters program we were able to incorporate various theories we learned in class and utilized them in our Internships to really bring light to the importance and accuracy of each theory.
What are some highlights from your experience as a SMU student?
I remember one of my undergraduate classes assignments asked us to go to the Star in Frisco shortly after it opened. That was an amazing experience because not only did we receive a tour, but also had the opportunity to speak with representatives from their media team. I am sure that opportunity is not available to the vast majority of college students outside of SMU.
Why are you proud to be a Simmons alum?
I am proud to be an alum because I believe Simmons is devoted to helping students realize their dreams and put them in the best position possible to succeed. The Faculty are accessible and knowledgeable which makes it easier for them to equip other alums and current students to do amazing works in their respective fields! I think Simmons is on the way to becoming the premier school for Human Development.
Condensed and edited.