Outstanding Graduates Kinesiology
The Kinesiology Department salutes Sten Kajitani '20 as the 2020 Peg Lovik Award recipient. Sten is thoughtful, hard-working and possesses attributes that will make a fine physician. He is caring and friendly; and in the classroom has a knack for helping other students achieve their best, making the class enjoyable for both the professor and other students. Perhaps Sten’s multiple positive attributes were best on display as a summer research assistant where he was described by his faculty supervisor as “the glue that made the research come together where he combined his love for science and people.
Madison Cherry '19 earned the Peg Lovik Nicholas Senior Award for the outstanding graduate in the Kinesiology department for her superior academic work and volunteer efforts on and off campus. “Madison demonstrates great perseverance and her work ethic complements her intellect,” says Gregg Afman, chair of the kinesiology department. “She is a delightful young woman who cares deeply for others. Without exception, she sets a very high standard of excellence in everything she does. She has blessed many with her efforts and servant heart.”
Her influence has also extended outside the United States, providing health care services during a semester in Uganda. “The best part of my four years at Westmont was the people I met on campus and abroad,” she says. “The professors encouraged me and cared about me. They believed not only in my ability to excel in courses but also take what I learned in courses into the real world.”
Cherry, who hopes to become an occupational therapist, will study this fall at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Mesa, Arizona. “I want to be a part of this growing field that increases the independence, and thus self-efficacy and social inclusion, of individuals in vulnerable populations,” she says. “I hope that pursing a doctorate that focuses on public health will enable me to eventually take my profession beyond the clinic and into communities so that I can gain a more holistic picture through the social contexts of the individuals I work with. Westmont introduced me to this field and I’m so grateful that I can combine my love of the human body and passion for social justice that the kinesiology department instilled in me since freshman year.”
Elli Scheer '18, a quiet and contemplative thinker, was determined to make the most of her time at Westmont. She served as an aide at Hayashida Physical Therapy, a research assistant at AKI/Variant Labs and as a fitness intern at the Samarkand Retirement Community. She conducted research on “The Effect of THE LEVEL® on Oxygen Consumption,” and presented the findings at the America College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Southwest Chapter’s annual meeting in Long Beach. “My professors have taken such a personal interest in my learning and have been a huge influence on what I want to do in my future,” she says. Scheer is applying to graduate schools, taking physics and Graduate Record Examinations this summer to pursue a career in physical therapy.
Amanda Sayre’s ('17) professors describe her as thoughtful and inquisitive, often raising questions and issues in classes that stretch both professors and students. Her life demonstrates a faithful walk with Christ, including a deep commitment to the spiritual disciplines. She was profoundly affected by her experience on the Westmont in Mexico program and has used this newly discovered awareness of cultural differences in her vocational pursuits. She has spent time this spring as an Education and Community Outreach intern at the Diabetes Center, developing a class about managing type II diabetes through exercise at this center. No doubt her future will somehow include her love for cultural differences, health and wellness, and education. The Kinesiology Department is proud to present Amanda with the Senior Peg Lovik Nicholas award.
Chandler Nahigian’s ('16) professors describe him as thoughtful, innovative, quietly effective, an outstanding writer and speaker, and an intellectual with many talents. He is consistently at the top of every class. He is the first to arrive and the last to leave, often encouraging others along the way. He is a man of faith who recognizes the value of Christ-honoring relationships. Volunteer hours spent here in Santa Barbara at Alpha Resource and Hillside House, as well as business and healthcare experiences in Haiti and Armenia, have helped him to think broadly about his vocation. He aspires to earn both a Masters in Prosthetics and Orthotics as well as complete a Juris Doctor/Masters in Business Administration (JD/MBA). The Kinesiology Department is proud to present Chandler with the senior Kinesiology Lovik award.
Hannah Pratt '16 has consistently demonstrated a thoughtful and deliberate approach to her education, precisely the kind of student we cherish in our department. She is an outstanding writer and speaker. Her professors describe her as humble about her abilities yet committed to a very high standard of excellence. Her life demonstrates a faithful walk with Christ, marked by gratitude. Her sharp mind and interest in special populations will no doubt lead her to either the allied health fields as an occupational therapist or a fitness trainer for older adults. Her vibrant faith, academic excellence and desire to bring holistic care to special populations make her an excellent recipient for the senior Kinesiology Lovik award.
The Kinesiology Department salutes Heidi Walberg '15 for her superior academic work and volunteer efforts on and off campus. Her work ethic complements her intellect. Without exception, she sets a very high standard of excellence in every class, often going far beyond the work required. Santa Barbara has been blessed with her efforts in working with kids with disabilities. Her influence has extended outside the United States, providing health care services in Mexico and Bolivia. Her vibrant faith, compassionate and caring heart, work ethic and academic accomplishments will serve her well as she pursues the profession of physician assistant.