Jenna has been working in the Faculty's Work Physiology Lab where she has an active role in current firefighter standardized testing. The testing runs through six real life scenarios, including a drill with lab life-sized (and weight) dummy "Rescue Randy".
Growing up in the small community of Vegreville, Alberta, Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology student Jenna Wowdzia was always involved with sports, whether it was playing on one of multiple sports teams, or taking in the local hockey team on the weekend. According to Jenna, sport was always something more than a hobby.
“Sport always gave me a sense of belonging. It wasn’t just something that I did; it was a part of who I was and am as an individual.”
Along with a passion for sport, Jenna also excelled in her high school biology and sports medicine classes. On the suggestion of a high school teacher who encouraged her to combine her two main interests, she applied to and was accepted into the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation’s Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (BScKin) degree program.
It was at the University of Alberta in one of the BScKin classes—KIN 200: Physiology of Exercise—where Jenna was first introduced into the world of exercise physiology. This course, specifically the lab portion, allowed her to observe the different methods and resources that provide access into the world of human physiology. Jenna even participated in graduate research studies in order to observe both the research and her own physiological stats.
Her keen interest in exercise physiology and research settings helped Jenna land her first post-graduation job in the Faculty’s Work Physiology Lab. Starting on June 1st of this year, the new BScKin grad was on the job bright an early the day after her Convocation Ceremony working with her colleagues performing standardized testing to gain insight into an individual's fitness levels.
“Thanks to my BScKin degree, I really enjoy the research aspect in the Work Physiology Lab. The training and effort put in during the physical testing all correlates back to the bigger picture of exercise physiology. Instead of focusing on a single aspect of the test, we get to see the small details on how an individual can physically improve.”
While she enjoys her current role with the Work Physiology Lab, Jenna does hope to eventually work in an area that allows her to aid others with rehabilitation, potentially working with specific chronic disease populations.
“I have always felt passionate about doing something that benefits more than just me. Personally, I believe that health can be a scary and complex thing. However, as a kinesiologist, I believe we can help break down the barrier between people and their health.”
In order to move forward with her career ambitions, Jenna is also studying for the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s Certified Exercise Physiologist exam, which will help her work with chronic disease populations.
“I find chronic diseases to be one of the most relevant and complex areas of research. I also have personal connections with such diseases. Many of my family members and friends have been impacted by diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and so on. It’s my hope to expand my knowledge in this area in order to help others.”
Jenna’s passion for exercise physiology and her drive to help others will no doubt play a major role in her career path—a path that started at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation.
“I have loved the opportunity to become part of a strong community of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation students who share the mindset of promoting health and wellness. We are fortunate to have had access to many hands-on courses and volunteer opportunities with Faculty units such as the Steadward Centre and the High Performance Research and Training Centre. I am honoured to have received such a great education and have an immense amount of joy having shared this experience with so many of my friends I have met along the way.”