Student spotlight on Chris Hill

Student spotlight on Chris Hill

“The secret to my success isn’t really a secret. I give my best, I keep my word, I am open to change, I manage my time well, and I use my social networks.”

Chris Hill is graduating this spring with a degree in Community Health Education and a minor in Gerontology. After graduation, Chris will be starting as the new Health and Fitness Director at the Albany YMCA. She would ultimately like to move into a program director position with the YMCA or with a local government department like Parks and Recreation.

Outside of class, Chris is “a wife to an awesome man, a mom and stepmom to seven amazing kids, a fitness instructor, and the committee chair for YoungLives: a mentoring ministry for teen parents and their kids.”

How did you find your way to community health?

Through personal experiences with human services and my background in the fitness industry, I found that I had a passion for wanting to work with organizations that help to create better communities and lives for others. I have always enjoyed my career as a fitness instructor and have loved working at the Y because of its mission to enhance the lives of the community in and out of the realm of fitness.

Why did you choose WOU?

When I was looking into schools to finish my schooling, my advisor at Linn-Benton Community College encouraged me to look at WOU. I needed something relatively close to Albany, because this is where my husband and I work and where our lives are. I was pleased to learn about the smaller class sizes at WOU and I loved the campus when I first toured it. I liked how the Community Health Education program was set up with its emphasis on program planning and evaluation, which is what I wanted to pursue.

What experiences do you think have been the most useful?

I would say all of my life experiences have been useful with school and my career. I feel like being an older student was an advantage for me since I was able to pull from my own life and have a different perspective from my younger classmates.

My internship at the YMCA in particular was amazing. I was the first intern that was not an exercise science major, so my focus was more on programming and managing in the senior programs of the fitness department. My supervisor gave me tasks and projects which increased my responsibilities as my time progressed. Because of these opportunities, I was able to get the Health and Fitness Director position.

What’s the secret to your success?

The secret to my success isn’t really a secret. I give my best, I keep my word, I am open to change, I manage my time well, and I use my social networks.

What advice do you have for other students?

My advice would be to complete a minor even though it won’t be required anymore. My minor in Gerontology made me more marketable and enhanced my community health knowledge. Also, be strategic when applying for your internship; it’s important that it is an experience to strengthen your employability in the career you want. Finally, do your best work with any task and project, no matter how minor it may be, everyone notices, and it makes a difference.