February 9, 2023

Intrigued by the science of the human body, Leonie Heck used that interest to guide her to her future career. A senior at Shawnee State University, Heck is close to finishing her degree in Exercise Science.

Leonie Heck

“The science aspect interested me,” she said. “I enjoy learning more about how the body moves, what muscles we use, and how they interact with each other.”

Throughout her time in the program, Heck has found support through a range of faculty members providing guidance and attention to her in her classes.

“I’ve only had positive experience with the faculty,” she said. “They are very helpful and straightforward. The class sizes are not very big, which means we get personal attention, and everyone can discuss topics with the instructors, and you are not just a number. They really know you.”

SSU’s Exercise Science program is designed to prepare individuals for careers in fitness and health promotion, strength and conditioning, and wellness programs. Students in the program learn how to assess and evaluate fitness levels for individuals and groups, as well as how to design, implement, manage, and evaluate fitness programs.

“The degree offers a wide range of options after you graduate, and I have not decided what I am going to do yet,” she said. “A good thing about Exercise Science is that you cover a lot of material. You don’t have to decide right away what to do with your degree, but the program opens up a lot of doors for your career.”

Heck, who is an international student-athlete from Rösrath, Germany, hopes to pursue a graduate degree after completing her degree this spring. Students with education in Exercise Sciences will routinely pursue graduate degrees in Exercise Physiology, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, or Occupational Therapy.

To learn more about the Exercise Science program at Shawnee State University, visit