Christine Sperdute is a 2014 alumna of the B.S. in Exercise Science program and a 2015 graduate of the Master of Science in Health and Physical Activity Programming and Promotion program. In this Q&A she discusses how Pitt’s programs helped her in her career goals. Her quotes have been edited for length and clarity.
What made you want to pursue a career in the health promotion and physical activity field?
Sperdute: Originally, I wanted to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. However, during my sophomore year, I took a medical sociology course where I learned about the prevention of chronic disease versus the actual treatment of the disease. I decided I wanted to help people prevent disease through lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and exercise.
What was it about the School of Education program’s that drew you in?
Sperdute: Both at an undergrad and graduate level, I loved that the majors were a smaller cohort. I really got to know my classmates and my professors.
How did Pitt’s program prepare you for your current position as a Program Manager with UPMC?
Sperdute: I completed internships in both my undergraduate and graduate-level programs. These internship experiences were so valuable in preparing me to work in the field. I gained experience in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and then with lifestyle health coaching. Getting to explore these careers helped me learn what I liked and the direction I wanted to go.
Tell us more about your experience as an intern with UPMC Health Plan?
Sperdute: I got experience in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation with UPMC, and then with lifestyle health coaching with UPMC Health Plan. I truly felt like part of the team and got to work on so many meaningful projects. I remember performing fitness testing on UPMC employees and it was always a blast! It truly provided me with great hands-on learning experiences.
What do you remember about being a student in the program?
Sperdute: My graduate experience was the best time of my life! As a GSA my days were incredibly busy, but I loved what I was studying and the small group feel.
Do you have a fun fact about yourself?
Sperdute: I have a dream to write and publish a cookbook one day! It wouldn’t be all healthy food necessarily, just a bunch of favorites passed down in the family or recipes I think I’ve tweaked and perfected over the years.
Both the B.S. in Exercise Science and Master of Science Health and Physical Activity Programming programs are accepting applications. Apply now!