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L&C Alum Helps Lead SSP Wellness Center Expansion

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Article by: Laura Inlow, L&C Media Services, linlow@lc.edu

GODFREY – Wellness Director Jacob Shaw teaches medical fitness over commercial fitness to his clients at Senior Services Plus.

“Be mindful of where your information comes from and be aware of the many biases and fallacies regarding health and wellness,” Shaw said. “Always evaluate and apply logic before forming strong opinions or judgement.”

It’s what he learned as a student in Lewis and Clark Community College’s Exercise Science program, and it’s a lesson he will continue to pass onto clients. 

Shaw, 31, of Hartford, graduated in Fall 2014 with an Associate in Science and an Associate in Applied Science in Exercise Science. He currently holds certifications in Mental Health First Aid, prior ACSM-cpt, and is continuing his education at Brown’s School of Business at Washington University in performance management.

He’s been with Senior Services Plus for five years now, having started as a part-time personal trainer.

“They have supported me and given me opportunities for growth, and the guidance to succeed in those opportunities,” Shaw said. “In the years working for SSP, I have held several positions, including supervisor, coordinator and now, director of the wellness program.”

Most recently, he was instrumental in the planning and opening of SSP’s new 10,000-square foot Wellness Center, located at 2603 North Rodgers Ave. in Alton.

“I’ve been blessed to be allowed to learn and take part in every facet of the incredible wellness expansion project,” Shaw said. “Fundraising, building and grounds planning, equipment acquisition and everything in between, it has been a true learning experience that I will never forget.”

Shaw’s career so far has been very fulfilling, not just because of the opportunities he’s been afforded, but because of the people he works with every day.

“I could not be where I am today if not for my wonderful staff – they keep me honest,” Shaw said. “Doing my best to be a good leader for them helps me maintain my compass and direction for the program. And, the members at our wellness facility are truly amazing.  They are one of my reasons for waking up in the morning. Anytime I can answer a question for a member of the community looking to improve their health and fitness is a gift to me. I love what I do.”

Shaw says the faculty and staff at L&C were one of the best parts of his experience in the Exercise Science program. As a student, he gained valuable hands-on experience doing sport specific training and programming for Trailblazers soccer players, and spent time weight lifting with students and faculty.

“Learning not only about the field of exercise science, but also learning how to conduct myself in the business world and how to properly track and document information has given me the tools to be not only an effective fitness professional, but a motivator and, some would say, a strong leader,” Shaw said. “Much of what I learned in school was immediately applicable to my job right out of college, because I was blessed to be able to immediately start work in my desired field.”

L&C Exercise Science Program Coordinator Shane Callahan said the field is on the verge of change and is growing nationwide. L&C’s program focuses on research, data, evidence-based interventions and real behavioral changes that need to be adopted when adapting to a healthier lifestyle.

“There are no shortcuts, trends or gimmicks eliciting long term benefits to health regardless of the promises offered by fad diets, supplementation use, etc.,” Callahan said.  “Jacob is exactly what the industry needs at all levels. He seeks out new partnerships with community entities, stays current on leading research, and understands the psychology behind motivating individuals. He’s definitely a leader in the field and will continue having a positive impact on our community and region.”

For those interested in pursuing a career in the field, Shaw has this advice – “Immerse yourself in the fundamentals, pay great attention to detail in anatomy and physiology, biomechanics and psychology, and observe multiple fitness and healthcare professionals to determine what aspect of the field suits your interests and your skill set.”

To learn more about L&C’s Exercise Science program, visit www.lc.edu/program/exercisescience or contact Callahan at (618) 468-4182 or scallaha@lc.edu.

L&C is currently enrolling for the entire 2019-2020 academic year. Start by calling the Enrollment Center at (618) 468-2222.