Alumni Spotlight - Liz Mathie ('07)
Liz Mathie graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in the Management of Health and Fitness. Today Mathie manages an Anytime Fitness in Traverse City, Michigan. She is also the president of the Warrior Relief Fund which supports Marquette County Veterans and their families. She was also chosen as one of 25 people in the nation to partake in the Anytime Fitness sponsored Fitness Rebellion Project.
Mathie’s road to graduation was anything but typical. Upon graduating high school in 2000 she received a softball scholarship to Lake Superior State University, but her strong desire to serve in the U.S. Military lead her to join the Army Reserve as a bridge engineer. After boot camp and training she reported to LSSU to begin her college career. One year later her unit was called to action at the start of the Iraq War.
After returning home from Iraq Liz transferred to NMU where adjusting to non-active duty was difficult. “My instructors at NMU were patient with me through this process, but at the time I was in denial of any sort of PTSD that may have rolled over from our tour or any of the other issues that came with it,” said Mathie.” In her senior year she began an internship at Marquette General Hospital’s cardiac rehab department. She was able to persevere through her struggles as a combat veteran and was hired on as a staff member after the internship.
Mathie thinks students need to trust their professors and department, “You don't always understand how what you are being taught is going to carry over into your career. The discipline of following through with a degree, the professors’ insistence that you keep your grades up, the consistent drive to achieve at a higher level and the overall health and fitness department leadership at NMU was extremely helpful. The health and fitness department, namely Barb Coleman and Patty Hogan, were always up to date on changes with the fitness field and they were very persistent that we kept up with changes and our studies.”
Mathie would like to leave students with the following advice:
- Lead with your heart and not your wallet
- Be patient and realize that your education will continue until you retire
- Get involved in the community
- Do not expect people to make multiple changes all at once (slow is fast),
- Don’t act as if you can “understand” what it is like to be overweight or obese but do try to empathize or have answers for all of their questions
- Never judge a person from the outside
- Learn the science of squashing the fears of the first time gym goer
- Do not get fitness tunnel vision, try to have a wide range knowledge
- If you plan to be a personal trainer, understand the cardiovascular system and know how to take blood pressures!
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