James Madison University

Alumni Highlight -
Josh Simons, SPT, ACSM EP-C

BS Exercise Science, December 2013

Josh Simons

Figuring out what I wanted to do as a career was one of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make. I mean think about… whatever I pick, I’m going to be doing for the next 40 years. It better be enjoyable! I started out at JMU as a computer science major. After my first year, I realized sitting in front of a computer for hours on end wasn’t the life for me, so I made the polarizing switch to exercise science.

It turned out to be a great decision. I experienced many wonderful things at JMU that I don’t think I would have been able to do had I not switched my major. I was a personal trainer at UREC for over 2 years, and I helped one of the Hospitality Management professors to adopt a much healthier lifestyle throughout our sessions every week.

Because I enjoyed personal training so much, I also used this as a way to fulfill my practicum experience. I don’t know if the KIN department is still offering this, but I was able to personal train 2 JMU faculty members for a semester as part of my practicum experience. I worked with an Audiology professor as well as an Education professor, both of whom were amazing people to work with. I learned a lot as far as client communication and motivation are concerned, and hopefully they learned a thing or two about exercise and fitness.

Fast forward to graduation, I initially thought I was going to go to Physician Assistant School. I decided to work for a bit though, so I acquired a job as an Exercise Specialist at a physical therapy clinic, called The Jackson Clinics. I basically performed the same role that a Physical Therapy Assistant would do, so I helped patients with their home exercise program, and educated them on the proper form for each of the exercises. Through working there, I then decided that physical therapy was the right move for me, so I applied to VCU and was accepted on early admission.

Josh Simons

So here I am now, writing this short narrative while in PT school, and I have to say, it has been a rather winding journey getting here. Regardless, I now know that I have made the right decision by pursuing PT. It truly is an amazing experience, and I have met so many wonderful people. In one of our lab classes, we rolled around in wheelchairs through downtown Richmond. What other program has that much fun?! It’s simply terrific (and also a lot of work)! I plan to do travel PT when I graduate so I can explore this great country of ours and see what it has to offer.