James Madison University

Alumni Highlight - Ashley McConkey


Bachelor of Science: Kinesiology; Exercise Science, Pre-Physical Therapy: Class of 2014

PHOTO: Ashley McConkey

As I began my JMU experience in 2010 I knew I was interested in health and fitness which made Kinesiology sound like the right fit for me. Although I was unsure of exactly where I wanted my life to go, as soon as I took a step into my first Kinesiology class I knew for sure I was exactly where I was supposed to be. There was an instant connection between all classmates, teachers and advisors which was more than I had ever hoped for. Each class was challenging, yet exciting and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to help guide me through my journey. I wanted to get more involved with my major which led me volunteer for the Morrison Bruce Center’s “Big Event.” Here I fell in love with the program and everything it promoted which made the choice to complete my practicum requirements there an easy one. Throughout my time with the Morrison Bruce center I also was able to become involved with the Overcoming Barriers program. Being one of the golf and fitness coordinators allowed me to work directly with these children and promote physical activity and wellness.

As fall of my senior year rolled around I was still unsure of what I wanted to do next. In order to try to make up my mind I decided to go out on a limb and try something I hadn’t had much experience in for my internship. Luckily, JMU was flexible with internship placements, which allowed me to do mine at United States Performance Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. USPC is a sports performance training center dedicated to help reach each athletes full potential. Here I worked closely with the strength and conditioning coaches to teach each athlete proper exercise techniques. Every workout was individualized to increase strength, work on speed and agility, or help with mobility. My internship did a great job of making me feel comfortable working with clients in each of these different aspects of training. I was able to get the experience of working with young, high school, collegiate as well as several professional athletes. I quickly fell in love with helping each athlete reach their own individual goals. I began to really start to see myself doing something similar after graduation. Fortunately, I was offered a full time position as a strength and conditioning coach through my internship. Every day I find myself utilizing things that I learned through the JMU Kinesiology program at work. There are so many things I have to be thankful for because of my experience at JMU and the Kinesiology department. I think it is safe to say I wouldn’t be where I am now without them.