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Melissa St. Hilaire, a new professor of computer and data sciences at Merrimack, studies the impact insufficient sleep and circadian disruption has on health, safety and performance.
After earning his Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from a university in Connecticut, Drew Paz set his sights on completing his master’s degree to set him up for a career in collegiate strength and conditioning coaching. He started a one-year fellowship in January 2019 and in December of the same year, he graduated with the M.S. in Exercise and Sport Science.
Merrimack’s accelerated program put him on the fast track to reaching his dreams, in addition to giving him valuable experience in the field. Today, Drew is a strength and conditioning coach at Northeastern University, working with the Track and Field as well as the Swim and Dive teams. He assists with all other varsity teams, club sports, including off-season baseball speed and agility, as well as data collection analysis for performance testing and return-to-play measures.
“I found the major benefit of the graduate program to be the opportunity to gain collegiate coaching experience above just a standard internship, with added responsibility. The smaller class sizes with like-minded individuals provided a great networking component with other grad fellows.”
Accelerating to Great
During his fellowship, Drew was exposed to all aspects of the role of a strength and conditioning coach within an athletic department and in collegiate settings.
He completed his fellowship at Boston College in the spring and summer, managing and coaching women’s rowing, men’s and women’s fencing, off-season hockey, and basketball, in addition to assisting with the day-to-day operations of more than 20 other varsity teams.
“Throughout the entirety of the program I engaged with coaches and became more familiar with the inner workings of an athletic department,” explained Drew. “The best part of my field experience was being a valued and integrated member of the strength and conditioning staff.
“I am drawn to the opportunity I have as a coach to help others succeed in their sport or their personal goals, while also working to establish a united team culture,” says Drew.
“I fully believe it is the best way to earn your master’s and is well worth it in the end. It has exposed me to a wide network of coaches and also allowed me to explore new topics more in depth that will further benefit me in my practices.”