Kotaro Tamura is a 2019 graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science program. In this Q&A, he discusses his internship experience at the Children’s Institute and how Pitt’s program prepared him to become a physical therapist. His quotes have been edited for length and clarity.
What made you want to pursue a degree in exercise science?
Tamura: In high school, I was introduced to running and dealt with a few injuries that introduced me to the physical therapy profession. I knew I was interested in pursuing physical therapy but wanted to go into a major that helped me explore other professions in the health field like exercise science.
What was your favorite thing about being a student in the Exercise science program?
Tamura: The exercise science program allowed me to explore different avenues related to the health field that I never thought of as a career path. Whether that be a strength and conditioning coach, an exercise physiologist, or a physical therapist for kids with special needs, Pitt helped me realize what I wanted to do.
How did Pitt’s program prepare you for your career goals?
Tamura: Exercise science helped form my base of knowledge in the classroom. It also provided me with opportunities to build off of the classroom materials and apply them into the real world.
Tell us about your internship experience at the Children’s Institute?
Tamura: My internship at the Children’s Institute was one of the best decisions I made at Pitt. I was definitely nervous and unsure of myself at the beginning because working with kids with special needs was something I had very little experience in. However, that quickly changed after a few weeks into it.
Do you have a favorite memory from your internship?
Tamura: My favorite memory was being able to build bonds and relationships with the students at the Children’s Institute. As I mentioned, I was nervous heading into it, but then I realized that the students were just kids that also happened to have a disability. By the end of the experience, I was playing games with them and asking about their weekend like I would with anybody else. I also developed a fitness testing assessment for the children that the facility continues to use to this day.
What was your experience like as a student in the B.S. in Exercise Science program?
Tamura: I really enjoyed my experience in the program. The class sizes are much smaller than most programs, so I was able to get to know my classmates and professors. It felt like a community!