Exercise Science Student Named COEHD Valedictorian

Published: April 20, 2020 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 2 minutes

Jessie Abbott COEHD ValedictorianJessie Abbott is thrilled to be representing Southern Utah University’s College of Education and Human Development as the college’s 2020 Valedictorian. Jessie Abbott is an exercise science major from Mapleton, Utah.

“Jessie is a model student, she loves to learn and is excited about the material,” said Dr. Abigail Larson, associate professor of kinesiology. “I wish all my students were as genuinely interested in their classes. She has been a lifesaver as a teaching assistant, especially during this chaotic time, I am lucky to have her as a resource and will miss her. Jessie is also a super cool person!”

Growing up, Abbott enjoyed dancing and participated on her high school’s drill team every year. These activities instilled a love for physical fitness and kinesiology that would inspire her choice of major. During her senior year of high school, Abbott was injured dancing. Her physical therapist and athletic trainer helped her not only with the physical recovery, but also the physiological recovery.

“When I got injured in my senior year, it really influenced me to want to go into sports medicine of some sort,” Abbott said. “It’s been quite the path to decide the specifics of what I want to do, but I’ve always had that experience to fall back on, which has helped me figure it all out.”

Abbott chose to attend SUU because of the community feel on campus, the hands-on learning experiences, and the size of Cedar City. She’s connected with many students and professors across campus, but especially in the exercise science program.

“One reason I love SUU is because of the quality of professors I have learned from, and the friendships I have been able to form with them,” said Abbott. “SUU feels like my home, it’s truly a family-like community here, and that’s the big reason I’m so sad to leave.”

In recent years, Abbott has been a teacher assistant for several exercise science courses. She’s also enjoyed being involved at SUU by attending sporting events, dances, and other campus activities as well as taking extra PE classes such as yoga, high fitness, and Zumba.

“Jessie never ceases to impress me with her ability to tackle hard concepts and tasks herself before offering to help her peers all with a smile and a good laugh,” said Dr. Christine Samson, assistant professor of athletic training.

After graduation, Abbott will go to Alaska to work at a fishing lodge for the summer, then she will be attending graduate school to pursue a Master's in Athletic Training.

In recognition of their hard work and dedication, five incredible students have been named SUU’s valedictorians for 2020.

Tags: Graduation College of Education and Human Development

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