When I first met Dr. Levy, I was a timid eight teen year old, fresh out of high school, brand new to the PSU campus and college community. She remembers me as an athletic training student, with just the right amount of personality and passion to be successful in the major. Dr. Levy has been my advisor since 2012, my freshman year at the university. After I went back to my home town and a local community college in May of 2013, I kept in touch with Dr. Levy through e-mails here and there promising that I would make my way back to PSU someday. That proved to be true when I contacted her in January 2017 informing her that I was on my way back to PSU for the fall semester.
Initially, I had no clue how I was going to turn my two associate’s degrees that I had earned (General Studies and Exercise Science/Pre Sports Med) and my existing PSU credits into a bachelor’s degree. Thankfully, my trusty advisor the amazing Dr. Linda Levy was there to help me put the pieces together. Her first and only suggestion in the meeting I had with her some time ago now was to build my own program in the Interdisciplinary Studies major offered here at PSU. I vividly remember staring at my favorite professor thinking: ‘I have not a single clue what that means but just smile and nod, Madisen, she sounds like she knows what she’s talking about’. Surprisingly, after doing some research when I got back home I started to realize an interdisciplinary studies program at PSU was definitely the place for me.
The instant my professor Dr. Robin DeRosa in my IDS class assigned an interview with a professor on campus I knew exactly who I was going to interview. Not only is Dr. Levy the chair of the Health and Human Performance Department, she is also the Program Director for the undergraduate Athletic Training Program here at PSU. Along with that she is also an IDS council member. I felt this combination of academic knowledge made Linda and excellent candidate for my interview.
What do you teach here at PSU?
“I teach athletic training courses, specifically Introduction to Athletic Training, Prevention and Care of Injuries in Active Populations, Administration in Athletic Training, the BOC test prep, and I also teach Basic Athletic Training in the Coaching Minor. Along with that I teach some classes in the Graduate Athletic Training Program.”
What did you study in grad school and for your PhD?
“My graduate degrees are in education so a Master of Education and my doctorate is in educational leadership.”
What kind of research do you work on now?
“Umm, nothing honestly *laughs* but my research area is in clinical supervision.”
Do you work with scholars outside of your field of athletic training?
“I did when I was more active in research, yeah.”
Do you work with non-academics in your professional work?
“Not really, I think unless they’re at a more administrative level people but mostly they’re academics.”
Do you collaborate with anyone on scholarly work?
“Yeah down in Springfield there’s a couple faculty that I’ve been working with and I think the other guy is at Mankato State. There were six of us that did six different articles and we were from all over the U.S.”
Are there benefits and challenges involved with working with a group?
“Well certainly the benefits are collaborating with people that are doing research in the same area as you but the challenge is trying to figure out a time to get together or separating out the responsibilities for who is going to do what part of the research.”
Kind of like group projects in college?
Do you do any interdisciplinary study work?
“Just with the number of IDS majors that I advise and I’m on the counsel.”
What courses should HHP majors consider taking outside of our department?
“Depends what your focus is, it always depends. Everyone is an individual depending on what their career path is and the emphasis they want to put into moving in that direction.”
Why do you think IDS is important?
“Well it certainly benefits the student to get a better understanding of what’s going on in their world from multiple points of view.”
How can I incorporate a different discipline into my Athletic Training education?
“Well you’d have to go more into the sciences: chemistry, physics, and maybe psychology. And all of those things would help you understand a little bit better than the students that don’t take them. For example the students that take physics have a better understanding of how our modalities work. Although we give you that information in class but it would make it easier. Students that take chemistry might have a better understand of pharmacological agents and that kind of thing.”
Dr. Levy understands the benefits of interdisciplinary studies work, on the other side of that she knows it’s not easy building a cohesive contract and submitting an essay to a council of seven faculty members for approval. The IDS program here at PSU gives students the chance to take charge of their pathway of to learning and put their tuition dollars to work for them. While every student still takes general education classes, the opportunity is presented to IDS students to choose the classes that will benefit them the most in the disciplines they choose. Instead of the classic ‘this is your major and these are your required classes and credits,’ IDS students choose those ‘required classes’ and have a hand in making their education just that, their own.
During this short interview with Dr. Levy there was no trace of the timid yet passionate eight-teen year old girl I had once been. Instead, sitting beside Dr. Levy that day was a confident, ultra-passionate, twenty-three-year-old college educated young woman, well on her way to her third higher education degree. With my sights set on completing the few prerequisites left to render me eligible for my fourth degree: Master of Science, Athletic Training: Professional Program. I couldn’t be more proud of my educational achievements to date and what the future has to hold for me. Thankfully, I’ve had Dr. Levy with me during my academic progress, and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.