Alumni Spotlight Archives

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, Mich. She is also the president of the Warrior Relief Fund which supports Marquette County Veterans and their families. She was one of 25 people chosen nationwide 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 scholarshito 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 later hired on as a staff member after the internship.      

According to Mathie, 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.


    Alumni Spotlight Archives

    Josh Morrison ('10)

    JMorrison2Web.jpgJosh Morrison, a native of Curtis, Mich., graduated from NMU in December 2010 with a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management and a minor in Art and Design.  Today Josh owns his own business, Prometheus Tree LCC, a technological solution business, which is located in Marquette. 

    He chose to enroll at NMU because he wanted to better himself and provide a bright future for his family.  Josh has had the opportunity to live in both large cities and small towns but enjoyed no place as much as Marquette.  He felt that the area gave him everything he needed to live a full and happy life.

     “My degree prepared me for life outside of college by engulfing me in real world situations, from leading lectures and presentations to field work and internships. I received an education as well as the tools and knowledge on how to apply it to the real world. NMU taught me how to determine why things are the way they are, what I am capable of, and how to apply them in my career and everyday life” states Josh about his experiences at NMU.

    His recommendation to current students is to have fun in moderation.  He believes that the only person holding you back is yourself. “Get to know yourself and not worry so much about what others have to say about you. Remember to be grateful and don’t take anything for granted. Don’t be afraid of uncomfortable situations, when you make it to the other end you will be better for it, except the challenge and grow” suggests Josh.

    Outside of work, Josh spends his time remodeling his home with his wife and playing with his son.  He enjoys outdoor activities, backpacking, and photography.

    Josh also sends a special thank you to Dr. Rademacher and Dr. Teeters.  “They both taught me so much and helped me to focus on and determine my purpose” states Josh.  He also thanks the good friends he made and his wife and family for their support.


    Daniel Kane, Ph.D. ('06)

    Dan KaneDaniel Kane, Ph.D., a native of Adrian, Mich., is an assistant professor with the Department of Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology-physiology in May 2004 and Master of Science in exercise science in August 2006, both from NMU.

    “I initially chose NMU basically for two reasons: 1. I was a Michigan resident, and 2. Not having any real sense of ‘what I wanted to be when I grow up,’ I could at least be surrounded by a unique natural environment while figuring that stuff out” states Dan on how he choose to attend NMU.  During his undergraduate education at NMU, he became interested in the physiology of exercise and sport, due largely to his coursework in the biological sciences, and his involvement with the NMU rowing club. “The fusion of these interests led me to pursue graduate work in Exercise Science at NMU.  Fortunately, I was offered a graduate assistantship by Dr. Suzanne Williams (Dept. of Chemistry), which made grad school economically feasible. I was also fortunate to have Dr. Watts as my faculty advisor, who was both committed to my success and also promoted my independence” states Dan.

    “NMU has some outstanding teachers in HPER and elsewhere, which went a long way in terms of piquing my interests in the sciences. Also, many of the faculty and staff put a lot of time and effort into the laboratory components of the science courses, which prepared me well. Perhaps most importantly, there was this sense of collegiality and creativity that now appears increasingly requisite for success in most fields. In teaching, I find it important to integrate different aspects of a subject for the information to be most effective. With regard to research, this has become essential, as many of the research funding agencies well recognize the effectiveness of interdisciplinary and interorganizational collaboration and cooperation.  My graduate assistantship instructing labs in the Department of Chemistry, while a graduate student in the HPER department, was a blessing I did not immediately recognize. As a doctoral student in the interdisciplinary Bioenergetics and Exercise Science Program at East Carolina University, I feel this experience at NMU was realized” stated Dan.

    Dan stated that Dr. Watts, Dr. Jensen, Dr. Mowafy, Andrew Nelson, and Dr. Williams had a profound influence on him while at NMU.  He believes they are remarkable individuals with extraordinary vision.  Dr. Daryl Davis (English, Ret.) and Ginny Davis also provided him with positive mentoring as his coaches for the NMU Rowing Club which he was a part of.  Dan feels privileged to have met so many great students at NMU, with many of whom he still keeps in touch.

    Dan offers the following advice to current students:

    • Pay attention to those trying to teach you, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. It’s one of the more efficient ways of optimizing your education.
    • Be open to creative approaches to achieving your goals that nurture your interests. “Because it’s not been done that way” is not necessarily a good answer to the question “why not?” Choose paths that you find intrinsically rewarding.
    • Choose to work with/for organizations with a value system agreeable to your own.
    • When possible and appropriate, interact with others face-to-face. This “high fidelity” form of communication cannot be fully replicated yet with technology.

    In his free time, Dan enjoys running, canoeing, metal detecting, camping, hiking, mountain biking, making and eating pizzas, snowshoeing, curling, and visiting historical sites with his family.

    Eric Streeter, MS, ATC ('02)

    Eric StreeterEric Streeter, MS, ATC (’02) chose to come to NMU because of he believed it offered a wonderful Athletic Training Education Program and because of the beautiful location and the outdoor recreation opportunities.  He found that the professors and campus community truly made Northern feel like home to him.  Eric, who came to Marquette from Oshkosh, Wisc., graduated with an undergraduate degree in athletic training.  He then completed his master’s degree in Kinesiology – Athletic Training Emphasis from the University of Illinois.

    Eric holds several positions with Millikin University in Decatur, Ill.  They include Clinical Education Coordinator for Athletic Training, Athletic Trainer for Football and Assistant Professor for Exercise Science and Sport.

    While at NMU, Eric was impressed by the professors within the HPER Department and the university as a whole that shared a tremendous blend of expertise and research in fields, teaching ability, and desire to mentor their students.  He felt that the opportunities to learn in that environment were tremendous.  He was also inspired with the his own athletic training mentors, Julie Rochester and Jim Winkler, among others, who always found ways to get the best out of their students.

    Eric feels though it may not always seem like it, there really is time for everything you need and want to do.  He recommends devoting as much time as you can to your studies, your student organizations, your professional organizations, your relationships with your professors and fellow students, and in the end you will find that you still have time left over for yourself.  He suggests taking advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you and also making some of your own.

    Eric serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Athletic Training Association and the Executive Board for the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers Association.  In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his family, skiing, hiking, and playing golf.

    In November 2011, Eric was elected President of the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA).  As President, he will run the 2012 elections, chair the Sunset Review Task Force, and oversee the continued transition of the IATA Marketing Project.  The current membership of the IATA is 1,655.

    Ashley Bollwahn '08

    Ashley Bollwahn"Take advantage of all campus activities and never be afraid to get involved", recommends Ashley Bollwahn, a native of Hartland, Mich. and a December 2008 Community Health Education graduate of NMU.

    Ashley now holds the position of Nutrition Program Educator with the Waukesha County University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension in Waukesha, Wisc. and feels her experience at NMU helped her build the confidence to apply for internships which in turn helped her reach her current position.  She finds her career extremely rewarding and credits her mentor, Dr. MaryJane Tremethick, who was very motivating and always willing to help her seek out volunteer opportunities to develop her skills as a Community Health Educator.

    As a Nutrition Program Educator, Ashley promotes healthy food choices by providing practical and reliable nutrition, food safety and budgeting information to limited income individuals and families.

    Ashley chose to come to NMU because of all the outdoor activities she could take advantage of while attending school.  She also liked the student to teacher ratio.  While at Northern, Ashley was a member of the crew team, the Health Promotion Society and the Student Leader Fellowship Program.  She currently volunteers with the Waukesha County Nutrition Coalition which works with local farmers markets to collect fresh produce that is then donated to local food pantries.  In her spare time, Ashley enjoys reading, running, and mountain biking and volunteering.

    Joshua Gustafson '07

    Joshua Gustafson(Corvallis, Ore. – Jan. 4, 2010) – Northern Michigan University graduate, Joshua Gustafson, has been hired as the program manager of Live Well, an employee health and wellness pilot program for Samaritan Health Services.  Samaritan Health Services (SHS) is a nonprofit network of hospitals, physician clinics and health services spread out across the state of Oregon, employing over 5,000 people.

    Being from Menominee, Michigan, Gustafson decided to pursue his education at NMU because of the wonderful location, the educational program options, and the short distance to family and friends. Both his father and mother are NMU Alumni, and the programs offered through the college matched his interests perfectly. His stated enthusiasm and interest in health & fitness continued to grow as he became more engaged in the courses taught by the HPER professors. “I now see that every course under the Management of Health & Fitness degree was vital to being successful in this rapidly growing field. No student could ask for better professors to help prepare them for their future endeavors. I would not be where I am today if it was not for the dedicated, knowledgeable, and remarkable staff in the HPER Department at NMU. Their time and effort put into each course, truly prepares students like me for our future in the health, fitness, and wellness field,” said Gustafson.

    Immediately after graduating from NMU, Gustafson received an offer from Karl Schmidt Unisia, located in Marinette, Wisconsin. KUS is one of the world’s largest and most diverse automotive piston manufacturing plants. Being a self insured company, KUS was looking to reduce health care costs, absenteeism, and on-site injuries while increasing productivity. “I worked at KUS as the Corporate Wellness Coordinator, and was hired to design, implement, and manage a Wellness Operating Plan aimed at improving the health and well being of all KUS associates,” stated Gustafson.

    After two and a half years of employment at KUS, Gustafson decided it was time to advance in his career and pursue other options in the Proactive Healthcare field. After multiple phone interviews and a visit to Western Oregon, Gustafson was offered and accepted a position at Samaritan Health Services as the Live Well Program Manager.

     “We have been eager to fill this key position – which is vital to the success of the program. We are delighted to have someone with Joshua’s experience and enthusiasm advance the program’s direction and expand the number of participants,” said SHS Director of Employee Health & Safety Kim Schlessinger. “In addition to program management and development, Joshua brings with him experience in health coaching (which includes monitoring employees’ health and wellness goals), exercise program and design, personal training for special populations, general nutrition counseling, smoking cessation, disease management and ergonomics.”

     “I am excited for the opportunity to expand our current recruitment efforts and encouraging employees to take ownership of their personal health,” said Gustafson.

    Live Well is a program aimed at improving the overall health and wellness of eligible associates, while decreasing injury, illness, and the use of healthcare dollars. Here at SHS as the Live Well Program Manager, Gustafson’s main focus is on personal awareness and education. “I want employees to know that I am not just a resource center for health and wellness material, but also a teacher. I am not here to point them in the right direction; I am here to go forward in that direction with them, teaching and guiding them along the way towards their personal health and wellness goals” stated Gustafson.

    Proactive healthcare has become more prevalent as insurance premiums continued to rise for self-insured companies; but it is not just these high insurance premiums that bring Wellness Programs to large companies such as Samaritan Health Services or his past employer, Karl Schmidt Unisia. Healthier employees mean better productivity, increased morale, decreased on-site injuries, and decreased absenteeism. Accompanied by a reduction in the dollars spent on health related issues, these factors are vital to the success of a business.

    Gustafson and his wife, Sarah (also an NMU graduate) now reside in Independence, Ore. Since moving to the northwest, he and his wife are enjoying taking advantage of the many outdoor activities the area offers, including biking, hiking, fishing, hunting and jogging.