Career Connections


Katie Donovan

Major: Kinesiology and Health


Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Community and Public Health

Year: Senior
Hometown/State: Iowa City, IA

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: Wesley Acres
Company/Organization website: https://www.wesleylife.org/living-options/wesley-acres-des-moines/
Title: Wellness Intern
Destination: Des Moines, IA
Timeframe: May 16, 2016 - July 22, 2016

Advisor/Coordinator Email: dpower@iastate.edu

I was responsible for...
Wesley Acres is a retirement community that offers many levels of care and services for its residents. Levels of care range from independent living, assisted living, rehabilitation, memory care, and a health center. Wesley Acres has been awarded status as a "Blue Zone Workplace" because of its mission to transform the aging experience. Programs and activities are all centered around helping its residents live longer and healthier lives through physical activity and mind engaging activities.

I accomplished...
During this internship experience I learned how to teach a variety of fitness classes. These classes included seated exercise, aqua fitness, and total body conditioning. I completed fitness assessments on residents and assisted with activities and programming. I also created promotional material for events and assisted with employee health screenings. My major project was planning the "Wesley Life Olympics" where residents competed in activities and tournaments together.

My most valuable effort...
Getting to know the residents is very important to this internship. One way that I did this was to interview residents and write "Life Bios" for them. It was so interesting to sit down with them and hear about their life and their advice for future generations. These one on one sessions help the residents to feel valued and not alone. When a "Life Bio" is complete, we give it to the resident's family to keep.

I will never forget...
One of my large projects was planning an Olympic event for residents to participate in games and tournaments. It was so rewarding to see all of my hard work come together on that day and to see residents and staff spending time together and being physically active.

A surprising discovery...
Before this internship, I never really saw myself as someone who would be able to teach fitness classes. I learned a lot from this experience and it strengthened my skills in public speaking and teaching.

Advice for others...
Get to know the residents and don't be afraid to try something new. There are so many departments and levels of care that you can be involved in here. Offering your help with programs, activities, or classes is a great way to gain more responsibility and experience new things.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
The Kinesiology internship coordinator sent out an email with a flier for this internship.

I landed this assignment by...
I emailed my cover letter and resume to the Wellness Director right away. I completed a phone interview and an in person interview. When I visited Wesley Acres, I had the opportunity to tour the campus and participate in several fitness classes.

I wanted this experience because...
I have an interest in working with special populations like the disabled or the elderly.

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