Alumni Spotlight

Stephanie Howe '06 

HoweCover.jpgStephanie Howe is a self-proclaimed endurance junkie who loves trail running, mountain biking, paddling, and going on adventures with her dog Riley. A former nordic skier, Stephanie now runs for The North Face in ultra-distance and trail races. She gets her trail running fix while living in and training in Bend, Oregon. On the side, Stephanie also works as a coach, exercise physiologist, and a sports nutritionist at the REB Lab at Rebound in Bend, OR. Stephanie is also in the process of completing her PhD in Nutrition & Exercise Physiology. One can learn more about Stephanie on her blog: Adventures in Running.

My path to success began with my education at Northern Michigan University. I attended NMU as a student-athlete on a Nordic Ski scholarship. From a young age I knew I wanted a career that involved working with athletes or teaching how to live a healthy lifestyle. While studying Health & Fitness Management I learned how to take my knowledge about health and fitness and apply it to help others live a healthier more fulfilling, disease-free lifestyle. Patti Hogan took me under her wing and enlightened me to the world of possibilities that I could engage within the field. My junior year I took two classes that further shaped my career path: Exercise Physiology and Nutrition (with Phil Watts and Mohey Mowafy, respectively). In both classes I felt like I could listen to the lectures ALL day long. I was that interested in what my professors had to say! It was around this time that Patti Hogan encouraged me to apply for graduate school. I hadn’t thought about what I wanted to do in the future, but learning more about Health, Exercise, and Nutrition sounded great to me. 

So how then did I get into running ultras, working as a coach and a sports nutritionist, and completing a dissertation in Nutrition & Exercise Science? Well, I continued my education at Montana State, earning a MS in Exercise Physiology, and then on to Oregon State, where I am a current doctoral candidate in Nutrition & Exercise Physiology. Currently I am ABD (all but dissertation) and am just starting my data collection. The title of my study is Exercise & Appetite: The Influence of Exercise Intensity on Appetite in Active Women. In this study I am measuring appetite hormones (PYY, Ghrelin, and GLP-1) before and after moderate and vigorous exercise in active women. I’m very excited about this study and can’t wait to complete my dissertation and become Dr. Howe :)

2013  Race Results Stephanie Howe

9/28 Ultra Race of Champions, 12:29:00, 2nd

8/11 Sierre Zinal, 30k, 3:14:57, 8th

7/29 Speedgoat 50k, 6:17:00, 1st *New CR

6/27 Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge, 33:10, 1st 

6/2 Heaven Can Wait 5k, 18:32, 1st 

3/25 Gorge Waterfalls 50k, 3:49:14, 1st, *New CR

3/16 USSSA Snowshoe National Championship, 10k, 1st

3/3 WillRace Snowshoe Qualifier, 10k, 1st

2/2 Boulder Mountain Tour Skate Race, 30k, 10th

Liz Mathie ('07)

LizArmy.jpg 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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