Graduate Student Spotlight: Michelle Kulovitz Alencar, PhD, CCN, ACSM-CEP
Michelle, Why did you choose UNM for your doctoral program?
I came to UNM originally to get my masters degree in Exercise Science and then to apply to the UNM medical school. After completing my MS in Exercise Science I fell in love with the field of preventative medicine through exercise. I knew at that point that I wanted to take this on as my caeer and decided to pursue a second masters in Nutrition alongside my PhD in Exercise Science. I also chose UNM because of the positive reputation, research integrity, and the outstanding faculty..

How has the UNM Exercie Science Program supported your professional growth?
The UNM ES program has directly supported my professional growth on multiple levels. I feel extremely honored to have learned under the outstanding faculty members that truly care about the advancement of the students. I felt that the faculty go above and beyond to work very as a team to support the direction that student personally wants to go. I believe the program helped me develop as a teacher because of the opportunities I was given as a graduate student. Being able to teach throughout my graduate work helped me improve my teaching skills in new ways. For my research, Drs. Kravitz, Mermier, and Gibson invited me to work on multiple research projects so I was able to get experience in multiple areas of Exercise Science. Within our concentration, these opportunities were always present where graduates students were encouraged to get involved with whatever research project was going on. This was very helpful in that I was able to learn more about different ES areas as well as getting valuable experiences learning new techniques in the lab.

What aspects of the program were most beneficial to you as a professional?
The UNM ES program truly developed me as a professional in exercise science. There were opportunities with each faculty member to allow for specialized growth within each of their specialty areas. Additionally, the program was extremely supportive of your own interests even if they fell out side of the faculty direct expertise. For myself, this flexibility allowed me to develop my identity a researcher and clinician. My interests lead me to investigate bariatric medicine including exercise, metabolic, and surgical treatments. I could have never gone into this field without the support of the department and faculty.

Tell us about your new job?
I started a new faculty position at CSU-Long Beach in Fall 2015. I am very excited about this opportunity to work within a remarkable department and collaborate with established researchers. My position is within the Department of Kinesiology in the concentration area of fitness. I am eager to take on this position and get back to my true love of fitness. My vision for the students within the fitness concentration is to prepare them for a career in the diverse industry of fitness where they can make a difference in individuals health, fitness, and/or performance. Additionally, I am now a part-owner of a medical weight loss facility inHealth Weight Management in Tustin, CA where I have been able to bridge the gap with academia and clinical practice.

Anything else you may want to share to future UNM graduate students in Exercise Science?
This is an excellent program where you really have a lot of versatility in the program. My experiences here have opened up more doors for my career than I could have ever imagined.

Drs. Michelle Kulovitz Alencar and Len Kravitz at the 2015 World Fitness IDEA Conference in Los Angeles