Career Connections


Ashley Vratny

Major: Kinesiology and Health


Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Exercise Science

Year: Senior

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: Fort Dodge Community Recreation Center and Iowa Central Community College
Company/Organization website: fdrec.com
Title: Health and Fitness Management Intern
Destination: Fort Dodge, IA
Timeframe: 01/11/2016 - 04/30/2016

Advisor/Coordinator Email: dpower@iastate.edu

I was responsible for...
During my internship, I was responsible for different aspects of The REC including fitness, operations, and management. From the fitness aspect, I helped trainers develop and plan workouts for current workshops. From the management aspect, I was responsible for assisting the Membership Director with entering and maintaining current membership lists and backdrafts, working with Assistant Director on marketing ideas and concepts, and working with the Front Desk Coordinator on new membership intake, staffing, trainings, and member content. I was also responsible for helping with planning, implementing, and marketing the new REC Clubs, Cross Fit Winter Games, and youth sport programs. From the operations aspect, I was responsible for delivering exceptional customer service to all members and guests, completing staff schedules at the college location, working with Associate Director on supply ordering, training new employees, monitoring staff cleaning duties and responsibilities, and maintaining exercise equipment.

I accomplished...
- Gaining management experience - Developing schedules for employees - Improving customer service skills - Training new employees - Learning successful marketing techniques - Developing new programs and clubs

My most valuable effort...
The most valuable project I worked on was helping develop and plan workshops. This was valuable to me because I was not very interested in personal training or being involved in group fitness until I began helping with workshops. I enjoyed learning about new workout programming and how to develop a workout suitable for a diverse group. I learned a lot of different exercises which helped increase my interest for personal training and group exercise.

I learned...
The most valuable learning experience I encountered was managing and coordinating the college gym and staff. I learned a lot of management skills and professional customer service by being in charge of a small staff. I learned how important it is to manage my time and to effectively communicate with co-workers and supervisors to make sure the gym is functioning and members are satisfied.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience I have from my internship experience is getting the opportunity to watch members/clients improve their daily lives and working at the Iowa Winter Games Cross Fit event. Along with those experiences, my supervisors and co-workers provided a fun working atmosphere that gave me the ability to learn and gain an exceptional amount of experience in the health and fitness industry.

A surprising discovery...
Something that surprised my during my internship was all the hard work that goes into implementing, planning, and marketing new gym clubs, classes, programs, and activities. It takes a lot of time and work to get staff, 3rd parties, and volunteers involved with the development in a new program/activity. It is important to get started weeks to months in advance to ensure every aspect runs smoothly and members will be satisfied with the end result.

Advice for others...
My advice for other students who might follow in my footsteps is to get involved. There are plenty of opportunities if you take advantage of them. Do not be scared to ask questions or ask if you can be involved in a certain assignment. Look into acquiring a personal training certification to help with your job search upon completing your internship.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
I learned about this career-related opportunity by connecting with the Executive Director.

I landed this assignment by...
I landed this particular assignment by contacting the Associate Director via e-mail, sending my resume and what I was looking for in my internship, interviewing, and discussing goals.

I wanted this experience because...
I wanted this particular assignment because it was located in my hometown, it had a variety of learning opportunities, and the staff was very knowledgeable and helpful.

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