University of Houston-Victoria students from the School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development recently were awarded free membership into a national strength and conditioning organization.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association awarded UHV with three one-year memberships into the association, said Raymond Tucker, a UHV assistant professor of kinesiology. Since 2015, UHV has been nationally recognized by the association for its kinesiology programs.

Tucker, who is also a member of the association, said UHV’s participation will only strengthen the university’s program.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to have access to a wealth of educational information,” Tucker said. “This will help us get even more involved with the association and possibility host clinics in Victoria.”

The kinesiology faculty had students apply for the memberships. Students were required to include their GPA and career interests, write a letter of interest and answer several questions, including what having the membership would mean to them.

Applications were judged by kinesiology faculty members Tucker, Chang Lee and Willie Black Jr., and the top three applicants were chosen.

The students awarded membership to the association were:

  • Jennifer Fucik, of Sugar Land
  • Patrick Zapien, of Katy
  • Dyllan Witte Pratt, of Victoria

Fucik is a junior majoring in kinesiology. She is involved with the health and kinesiology clubs on campus and assists the UHV athletic trainers at athletic events. Her career goal is to become an athletic trainer.

Fucik decided to pursue a career in kinesiology because she has a passion for all sports and loves helping people. She played softball from age 7 until she was a junior in high school and developed a shoulder injury. She would like to help others overcome and prevent injuries.

“It is important as a trainer to be involved with strength and conditioning to know how to help people with rebuilding and rehabilitating muscles,” she said. “I am grateful for this membership because I know it will help further my knowledge of strength and conditioning and allow me to network with other athletic trainers. I appreciate all the opportunities I have received through UHV.”

Zapien also is a junior majoring in kinesiology and education. He has been a certified personal trainer since 2007 and has worked as a fitness manager for several years. He has trained people of all ages and plans to become a high school athletics coach and science teacher.

Zapien, 32, said he went back to school because he wanted to continue to grow in the field and focus on helping youth train successfully and safely. Zapien was involved in powerlifting, track and field, and football when he was growing up. He said he understands that children need structure and support as they are training in sports. This is especially true for those who have ambitions to be professional athletes.

“This membership will give me access to proven research, articles and workshops that will help me help people even more,” Zapien said. “This is a great opportunity to learn more, and I am grateful to have been chosen.”

Some of the benefits students will have with the memberships include access to research articles, workshops, webinars, conferences, discounts on merchandise and discounts on tests.

“We are excited to have received these memberships, and these students are exceptional examples of students we have here at UHV,” Tucker said.

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