Kyra Nichols ’23, Zumbrota, Minn.
Major/Minors: Exercise Science; French and Psychology

Please tell us about yourself.

I am a senior at Concordia College who has a passion for exercise and health through movement. I love working with and being around other people. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, reading, writing, going to church, and working out.

Why did you choose Concordia?

I chose Concordia because I knew that it would be the school that would support me the best. I toured a lot of different colleges that were closer to home but, at the end of the day, the people at Concordia made me feel the most welcomed and the most prepared to help me succeed in whatever my endeavors were, and I couldn’t have been more correct.

What campus activities are you involved in?

On campus, I am involved as a Student Ambassador for the Admission Office, Orientation, the women’s track and field team, a co-social media coordinator for the Exercise Science Club, the physical therapy rep for the Health Professions Interest Club, and the French Club.

How did you decide on your area of study?

I’ve always had a passion for connecting with others and wanting to help others in any way that I could. As I went through high school, I was really involved in various athletics. After sustaining a few injuries and having to attend physical therapy myself, I realized there was a career path where I could combine my passions for fitness and helping others. Since then, I have completed various shadow hours and worked in the fitness industry. Also, my exercise science courses genuinely intrigue me. Getting to learn about the human body and how it works, specifically during exercise, has been so interesting to me. Spreading awareness to others that exercise is medicine has been a key player for me. Growing up and watching the opioid crisis unfold has been eye-opening for me and I want to help ensure that those who are in pain get proper treatment, which often includes strengthening the muscles surrounding the pain.

Do you have a favorite course or professor and why?

I can’t decide between two courses as my favorite. One of them was Anatomy and Physiology with Dr. Rutherford. This class was absolutely amazing, getting to dive into the human body and how it functions. Getting hands-on experience with the human cadavers was also so amazing. Something about seeing the parts of the human body as you’re learning about it is life-changing. I also really enjoyed my Psychology of Gender class with Dr. Ewing Lee. Learning more about societal issues and the psychology behind them, along with the class discussion, was so inspiring for who I am today. I also can’t forget about any class I’ve taken with Dr. Huber-Johnson. She truly has helped form me into the young exercise science professional that I am today, and I am so grateful for her.

Have you had a PEAK (Pivotal Experience in Applied Knowledge) opportunity and, if so, what did you learn?

I have done both of my PEAK opportunities. My first PEAK was serving as the social media and Orientation assistant coordinator on the Orientation Committee. During this, I learned how to work cooperatively on a team while planning a large event. I worked closely with many different offices on campus and welcomed first-year students to campus by planning different events and activities for them. My second PEAK is working as a personal trainer at Rise Fitness and Training in Moorhead. In this role, I have learned much more about the human body and how it moves. I also have had the opportunity to learn more about the business side of the fitness industry and have gotten to know some amazing people along the way while getting involved more in the Fargo-Moorhead community.

What do you value most about your Concordia experience?

I value the connections I have made at and through Concordia the most. Whether it’s studying for exams with my exercise science cohort, grabbing dinner with my track teammates, or sitting in some of my professors’ offices having deep life chats, I have made so many lifelong connections here. The best part about Concordia is the people. I have always felt loved by those around me, and I know that the connections I have made here will stay with me even when I graduate from Concordia.

What advice would you give to a high school student who is considering Concordia?

I would tell any high school student who is considering Concordia to visit campus and ask questions. When you’re walking around campus, try your best to envision yourself here. Sit in on practices and rehearsals. Get to know the people here. Everyone who is on campus truly does want to help you and see you succeed, so it doesn’t hurt to start building those connections and relationships.

I would not be the person I am today without everyone I have met through Concordia. I honestly could not have picked a better school for myself.”

What are your postgraduation plans?

My postgraduation plans are to attend either the University of Jamestown in Fargo or the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to obtain my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am forever grateful for everything that Concordia has given me. Because of the support I’ve received, I am leaving here after four years with amazing friends, connections, and opportunities. Some of my best moments here have been the moments where I have been studying with friends or goofing around with the track team at practice or at dinner. I have gained hands-on experience in the exercise science field while working in the Human Performance Lab and become so close with my classmates because of that. I would not feel as confident as I do in graduating this semester if it was not for Concordia.

Editor’s note: In Fall 2023, Kyra began attending the University of Jamestown in Fargo for a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. In addition to her coursework, she is completing clinical experiences.

Published April 2023