Dawn GildersleevePhysical education major
Elkhart, Iowa

Right on track
In addition to her physical education major, Dawn is also pursuing a minor in health and a career concentration in fitness management. When she's not in class, the runner keeps busy as a Red Raider athlete on both the cross country and track and field teams. She also serves Northwestern as an ambassador, sharing her love for NWC's "one-of-a-kind community" with visiting high school students.


A winning feeling
I was attracted to the Christian aspect of Northwestern: I thought I would make good friends and be encouraged to make good decisions among peers who share the same values as me. My final decision really came down to the feeling I got every time I visited campus. I'd always been told I'd know it when I found the right college, and I definitely had that "this is the one" feeling about Northwestern.

Major decision
I'm a physical education major for these reasons: 1) I've always loved to run and play sports, 2) I took an anatomy class in high school and was amazed at how complex and intricate the human body is, and 3) I like working with people. Based on those three things, I knew I wanted to be active daily, learn more about how our bodies operate, and interact with people. Northwestern's kinesiology department has been a good fit for me.

Coached along
Every Northwestern kinesiology professor I've had has been more than willing to meet with me outside of class. They take an interest in my life outside of academics and care about how I'm doing as an athlete and a person. My academic adviser has been outstanding and very patient as I've spent hours in his office trying to figure out what classes and major best support my career goals. I trust him. 

Career fitness
Many physical education majors are headed to schools, but I want to be an exercise coordinator who works with older adults, helping them with their daily health and fitness routines. I'd like to lead a variety of exercise classes, including low-resistance seated, Zumba Gold, and light weight-training classes. I've always had a heart for older people, and—with the baby boomers aging—there will be a lot of career opportunities in wellness for senior citizens.