Mattia Hendrickson


Why study ESSS at a liberal arts college?  

I chose to study exercise science and sports studies because I want to be a coach someday. At CSB, I run cross country and track and I love my sports. I always knew that I wanted to continue my passion through coaching. I am an elementary education major and it was important to me to attend a liberal arts college so I could be a well-rounded student and more relatable to my future students. Another aspect of this school that appealed to me was having the opportunity to build a personal relationship with my professors and coaches, which is not always possible at larger universities. 

What makes the ESSS minor at CSB/SJU unique?   

For my ESSS minor, I found it extremely beneficial to be able to build it in a way that worked best for me. Since my purpose for completing the minor was to be a coach, I focused on the sport studies area of the minor. Some of the exercise science classes did not relate to my area of focus, so being able to create my own personal plan was extremely helpful. There are also a large variety of courses, which helps everyone find what they are interested in studying.

What has your experience with the CSB/SJU ESSS faculty been like?  

My ESSS professors have been wonderful. Every professor I have worked with is exceptionally knowledgeable, helpful and brings a great deal of experience into the classroom. My education classes are offered at a very specific time, so I sometimes had a difficult time fitting my ESSS classes into my schedule. The professors were very flexible and helpful with this problem. I ended up taking a class independently and meeting with a professor outside of the designated class time each week. This allowed me to complete my ESSS minor while taking my education classes. In addition, I have found my ESSS professors are genuinely interested in my learning and my participation in sports. I have felt extremely supported by my professors both inside and outside of the classroom.

What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?   

I originally chose to take the classes related to coaching, but I decided to complete the entire ESSS minor to ensure I would be a well-qualified and knowledgeable coach for my athletes. With this decision came the challenge of taking some of the more difficult classes. I have a very small background in the sciences because of my major, so courses like anatomy were difficult for me because I came into the class behind. With the help of the ESSS professors and some hard work, I was able to overcome this challenge and successfully complete my minor.

What advice do you have for students considering minoring in ESSS?  

If students are interested in sports and are willing to take the classes seriously, I think this minor is an excellent choice because of the opportunities it offers. With the guidance of advisors, students are able to create an individualized four-year plan for completing the minor. If you are interested, I would make sure to talk to an ESSS advisor to see what your plan would look like, so you can get a better sense of whether the minor is right for you.

My best advice for students completing this minor is to meet with an advisor to create a four-year plan. I know many students who have planned to complete the minor, but they never created a four-year plan and eventually ran out of time or space to complete the minor. To prevent frustration with a half-completed minor, I would stay on top of what courses you need to take and how many credits you have completed.

How do you anticipate using your degree after graduation?

I plan to use my major in education to become an elementary teacher. I hope to use my minor in ESSS to coach cross country or Nordic skiing. In both teaching and coaching, I hope to inspire my students and athletes to accomplish anything they set their mind to throughout their lives.