Ray Vigneux, Alexa Govette, Caitlyn Russell Fourth-year kinesiology students Ray Vigneux and Alexa Govette point out program highlights to prospective student Caitlyn Russell during an open house Nov. 23.

Open house helps introduce prospective students to kinesiology experience

Like many grade twelve students, Caitlyn Russell felt the decision of where to attend university a daunting task — and she brought that mindset to the Ontario Universities Fair this past September in Toronto.

It was here, among tens of thousands of prospective students surrounded by thousands of university staff, faculty, and recruiters that Russell met professor Paula van Wyk from the UWindsor Department of Kinesiology. Immediately, the two connected and created a bond.

“Before speaking with Paula, I was very overwhelmed, nervous, unsure and not comfortable,” recalled Russell. “She calmed my nerves and helped me to enjoy the experience of deciding which university to attend.”

Dr. van Wyk recalls meeting with Russell during the three-day OUF event. To help calm her nerves, van Wyk said she simply listened to Russell’s interests.

“Caitlyn knew what she liked, but she just didn’t know how that fit into a university program,” she said. “I just listened to her and tried to help her understand how her interests overlapped with the research conducted in kinesiology.”

Russell’s mother, Andrea, made it a point to return to the Windsor booth prior to leaving OUF and thank van Wyk for the positive impact she made on her daughter.

This personal connection spurred Russell and her parents to travel from their home in Ajax, Ontario, to visit with kinesiology faculty Friday, Nov. 23, during the Human Kinetics Open House.

The trio was joined by 25 other prospective students and families coming from all over Ontario who toured campus; explored student services; met with kinesiology faculty, staff, and current students; and heard a series of mini-lectures in the areas of ergonomics, sport sponsorship, and exercise and health physiology.

“Today was a great opportunity to see what university is really like,” Russell said. “Kinesiology lived up to the hype that Paula told me about. It was a great experience.”

Friday’s event was the first in a series, with two additional open houses planned for January and Spring 2019. For more information, or to express interest in touring kinesiology, prospective students should email professor Wayne Marino at wmarino@uwindsor.ca.

—Ryan Donally

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