One student combines his passions of physical activity and helping others
Robert Longenecker is learning new ways of combining physical health, wellness, and helping people through opportunities in the Department of Kinesiology, the College of Health and Human Development, and at Penn State.
A strong supporter of the community, Robert has always tried to help out when he can. He travels every year with his family to Haiti, where they run a medical clinic, seeing nearly 600 people each year. Through this, Robert also runs sports camps with local elementary and middle schools.
At Penn State, Robert is involved in a number of student clubs. In addition to being a part of the Alliance Christian Fellowship and the Nittany Grotto Caving Club, Robert also started his own club, the Marathon Club, which helps students train for marathons. Prior to starting the club, he took a course on the history, philosophy, and psychology of the marathon (KINES 497J: Marathon), which gave him the expertise he needed to lead the club. Robert has run five marathons in his life, and he has a personal goal of running one marathon in every state.
Robert is the secretary of the Pre-Physical Therapy Club, which brings in guest speakers, including directors from Physical Therapy departments around the area, and helps students prepare for GRE exams. “It’s valuable for people who want to go to Physical Therapy school. We learn all of the steps needed for getting into college,” he says.
Robert knows that a career in health care can help him combine two of his passions: physical activity and helping people. “Getting into health care is a way to give back to others when they are in need,” he says.
He’s also taking advantage of opportunities to learn more about research in the Department of Kinesiology. As an assistant in Dr. Jinger Gottschall’s lab, Robert gets hands-on experience working with elder adults on movement and mobility issues. “It’s exactly what I envision college to be—working one-on-one with your professors,” says Robert.
Robert is impressed by all of the opportunities in the College of Health and Human Development. “With the funding they have, they are able to hire great professors and lab equipment. It’s definitely a good setup.”