Exercise science graduate finds success while juggling school, work and extracurriculars

Contact: Erin Flynn

Read a special message from President Edward Montgomery for Western Michigan University's 2020 graduates.

Portrait of Kassidy Davis

Kassidy Davis

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—There’s busy, and then there’s Kassidy Davis’ schedule. An honors student who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, she’s managed to excel in the classroom while holding down multiple outside responsibilities as well, including internships, a job, volunteer commitments and leading an honor society of more than 1,500 members.

“I would not have been able to learn to adapt to juggling or managing a lot on my plate without the experience that Western Michigan University has brought me,” says Davis, who plans to pursue a doctoral degree in physical therapy at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus in the fall.

The experience has also helped her respond to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I do feel that being a part of multiple extracurriculars on campus, holding multiple jobs, completing intense coursework and volunteering on and off campus has helped me manage what is going on a lot better than most.”

Those changes included the transition from in-person to distance learning and an abrupt halt to her honors thesis study when campus closed. The project examined the effects of pre-workout supplements on fitness assessment testing, something difficult to measure with social distancing. 

“This was challenging, but what I thought would have been more challenging was communicating with Lee Honors College and my committee to figure out what I needed to do and how to do it,” she says.

That couldn’t have been further from the truth. She says everyone involved went above and beyond to ensure her success, all the way through defending her thesis virtually—something she was very nervous about. Dr. Irma Lopez, interim dean of Lee Honors College, had been in touch with her through the process as well, and even called her just minutes after she finished her defense to let her know she’d won a graduate fellowship through Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society.

Davis calls her involvement in Alpha Lambda Delta one of her most impactful experiences. She served in a number of leadership roles within WMU’s chapter during her time on campus and is currently president. 

“I have learned so much about not only myself, but how to interact and lead individuals to do things bigger than myself,” she says, noting the large body of volunteer work and fundraising her chapter has been involved in. 


Davis, whose parents both live in suburban Detroit, chose WMU over Michigan State University after visiting campus.

“I found that WMU was the perfect size. I also loved what I heard about the Department of Human Performance and Health Education, so I thought it would be a great fit,” she says.

Initially, she thought she would pursue athletic training. However, through job shadowing experiences and internships—which allowed her to get hands-on experience in the fields prior to graduation—she found her passion in physical therapy. 

“I am passionate about people in general, health and wellness, physical therapy and leading/inspiring others, and I was able to pursue those passions because of connections I have made and the opportunities to grow as an individual within different organizations and events the University has provided,” says Davis.

Now moving on to the next chapter in her career, leaving campus after graduation will be bittersweet.

“I just am so happy with my college experience and how WMU has molded me into the individual I am today,” she says. “I wish I could start it all over again if I could.”

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.