The 10th annual Lawrence A. Golding Student Health/Fitness Scholarship winners will be honored Thursday, April 2, just before the inaugural Larry Golding Lecture during ACSM’s Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition in Phoenix, AZ, March 31–April 3. The recipients, David Niehaus from Sandhills Community College and Natalie Eichner from the University of Virginia, each will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship, a $1,000 credit to be used at Healthy Learning, and complimentary registration to ACSM’s 2015 Summit.
The scholarship, awarded in honor of Lawrence A. Golding, Ph.D., FACSM, was created to publicly recognize undergraduate students who have made significant contributions to their communities in health, fitness, and/or education. The annual scholarship is underwritten by ACSM and Healthy Learning™.
Niehaus will graduate in May with a Health and Fitness Science degree and having completed an internship at FirstHealth Health & Fitness Center, where he hopes to work after graduation.
As a baby boomer and 30-year Air Force veteran, Niehaus has a heart for both those demographics, and he sees himself working with them after graduation. He hopes to help others improve their lives through healthier lifestyle choices and physical activity, enabling them to live independently for as long as possible.
Niehaus is inspired daily by his grandson, Malakai, and is committed to being a role model to him. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and said, “Through my education, I hope to lead by example so [Malakai] sees how important it is to work hard and study.” He added, “I plan on keeping him active and helping more children make fitness and physical activity a part of their lifestyle.”
Of his academic adviser, Shelby Basinger, M.Ed., ACE-CPT, NASM-CES, Niehaus said, “She encouraged and inspired me to succeed in demanding courses I really had doubts I would even pass.” Basinger said of Niehaus, “David’s passion for health and fitness, optimistic attitude, thirst for knowledge, and genuine heart of service are inspiring and are already making a positive impact on the people around him.”
For Niehaus, winning the Lawrence A. Golding Scholarship “goes to show that those of us in the ‘boomer’ generation can and do compete well in our later years.” He continued, “I know the competition is very tough and to receive this prestigious scholarship motivates me to be the very best I can be and to represent ACSM in the best possible light.”
Eichner is pursuing a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology, with future plans to attend medical school. She already has a wealth of experience gained while working with individuals with disabilities as a coach, with cancer patients as a student health educator, with young girls as a Zumba leader, and with geriatric patients as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Having witnessed firsthand the everyday struggles faced by people with weight problems, Eichner said, “My ideal job would be to open a clinic where obese patients can come and make long-term lifestyle changes through participation in exercise, diet modifications, and education.” Her proposed program would provide inclusive support to all patients through a team-based approach implemented by a staff that would include a medical doctor, exercise physiologist, nutritionist, and psychologist to address the complete well-being of the patient.
Eichner has been surrounded by inspiration in the form of family members who included teachers, nurses, an exercise physiologist, and a cardiologist. “In their own ways, each one of them has inspired me to pursue a career in health care, blending together their many talents and ‘passed on’ wisdom,” she said. She also credits her professors, advisers, and mentors in the Kinesiology department at University of Virginia for their willingness to go the extra mile to help students succeed.
Eichner’s academic adviser, Arthur Weltman, Ph.D., FACSM, lauds her conscious decision to receive solid exercise training before attending medical school. “Natalie is a firm believer in ‘exercise is medicine’ and realizes that most medical schools do not provide adequate training in ‘lifestyle medicine,’” he said.
Eichner is honored and humbled to be a recipient of the Lawrence A. Golding Scholarship. “It has reaffirmed that I am on the right path in pursuing my dream of becoming a well-rounded and compassionate physician who is able to bridge the gap between science and practice,” she said.
Lawrence A. Golding, Ph.D., FACSM, a member of ACSM since 1961, has been a professional in the field of kinesiology and physical education for more than 50 years. He is the founding editor-in-chief of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal® and was the chair of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Summit Program Planning Committee for 12 years. To learn more about this scholarship and the ACSM Summit, visit www.acsmsummit.org. For more student resources, visit http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/student-corner.