Most undergraduates are preparing for the next week by studying, cramming, and getting ready for a much needed holiday break. But, for some students, like Lexi Williams, the next week is about getting ready for that moment all undergraduates are here for: graduation.
A passionate Exercise Science major, Williams is sad that her UMD experience is coming to a close. “I really feel at home when I'm here,” says Williams, “it's going to be hard to leave UMD.” Williams certainly has a lot to look forward to in the coming months, but her time here will always be fondly remembered. Williams was recruited for the track team at UMD, and it was the only college she applied to. She started out running the 100, 200 and 400 hundred meter dash, but wasn't getting the results she wanted. Her coach let her move up to the 800 meter dash. She excelled at this distance and in 2012 won the Division II national championship at 800 meters. Lexi Williams became UMD's first woman to win a national championship in a track event. But, for Williams, although she loved being in track, she enjoys talking about her academics more.
Williams' primary work was with the TLC Program, organized through the Exercise Science program. Majors in this program take on older clients, principally with heart anomalies or others at risk of cardiac problems. Then, each student designs a program to work with that specific clientele. Williams gained a lot of knowledge and expertise through this program. She found it very helpful to work with a range of ages in prescribing exercise. “Older clients are great, they don't just follow you blindly,” Williams says, “they want to know why they need to do that specific workout, and if they don't like it, they won't always do it. It was a great experience”.
Looking back on her experiences, Williams says that her original reasons for coming here are not the same as why she stayed. She started as a biology major, but soon realized that she wanted a career in working with people. Although her work in athletics was a lot of fun, it didn't have the same impact that her academics did, especially her professors. “I haven't met a single person that isn't considerate or unwilling to go out of the way for you. UMD was the perfect school for me.”
After she graduates, Williams will be moving to Ashville, North Carolina. She will be applying to Old Dominion University, as a graduate in the exercise physiology program. Williams will be applying to other schools as well, but Old Dominion is her first choice. After graduate school, Williams is considering two options: the first, continuing into cardiac rehab, or pursuing research, which she really enjoys. “If I could get my Master's Degree and end up teaching at a university while doing research, that would be something I'd really like.”
Regardless where Lexi Williams ends up, whether it be cardiac rehab in a clinical setting or teaching and doing research at a university, it's clear that this soon-to-be-graduate is confident in the education she received at UMD, and looks forward to taking it to many different places. When asked how prepared she feels for the road that lays ahead, Williams says “People see that you've gone to UMD and they know that you'll be prepared. I would be comfortable stepping in the ring with any undergraduate student, and have no problem.” Now that's bulldog pride.