Melissa Koop


Why study ESSS at a liberal arts college?

The idea of attending a liberal arts college is to get backgrounds in many different fields in order to be a well-rounded scholar. Studying exercise sports science at a liberal arts college allows me to provide some context to my other academic interests. As a math major, I am able to make everyday connections to my exercise and sports science minor. Additionally, the minor provides a lot of accurate insight into the importance of personal health, which helps students have a holistic approach to their health in addition to their education.

What makes the ESSS minor at CSB/SJU unique?   

The exercise and sports science minor at CSB/SJU is unique because it takes a discipline and applies it to sport. The minor offers a wide variety of courses that apply to medicine, business, gender, psychology, nutrition and communication. Just as our liberal arts experience makes us well versed in various disciplines, the ESSS minor makes us well versed in the various disciplines that are related to sport and exercise.

What has your experience with the CSB/SJU ESSS faculty been like?

I have learned a lot from the faculty in the ESSS department. The professors are so knowledgeable of their topic and know how to enhance each student’s individual learning experience. In addition, they remain actively interested in my professional goals and are always willing to tailor their class information to what is relevant to my interests and aspirations. 

What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?   

One of the challenges that I faced was adapting to the broad range of topics covered in the ESSS minor. Since I am a math major, I was not as well versed in the biological components of exercise and faced additional challenges compared to those with a better biological background. Although this was a challenge at first, I was able to discover ways that helped me learn this new information. Without the support of my professors and classmates, learning the material would have been much more difficult.

What advice do you have for students considering minoring in ESSS?

If you see yourself in the future being involved in the sports or exercise related fields, a minor in exercise and sports science will drastically improve your overall comprehension of the field. Sports can be applied to many realms of work: business, psychology, medicine, statistics, nutrition, gender and many more. This means you can get the best of both worlds and see how your major can be applied to sports. I encourage anyone interested in health or the role of exercise and sports in daily life from a social or biological perspective to pursue the minor.

Did you study abroad? If so, how did that experience impact you?  

I got the amazing opportunity to study abroad in South Africa. In South Africa, I volunteered at a primary school and got to experience a variety of people and cultures that populate the country. My experience in South Africa broadened my perspective and understanding of how different cultures interact with one another. It created a great sense of empathy and responsibility, and I plan to use my new perspectives to confront other problems in the world today.

How do you anticipate using your degree after graduation?

I plan on attending graduate school to obtain my master’s degree in sports management. Beyond that, my long-term goal is to coach volleyball at the collegiate level and be involved at the administrative level.