Health Fitness Specialist Student Profile: From Iraq to Minnesota

After spending six years in the military, Torena chose to further her education at Globe University in the Health Fitness Specialist degree program. In the Army, she was a combat equipment operations engineer; a job that taught her to be constantly alert and incredibly fit. She was so fit, in fact, that she found the mental challenges of being deployed to be more difficult than the physical challenges.

When asked if it was her military experience that piqued her interest in health and fitness, Torena’s answer was yes; but not in the way you’d expect.

Every day Torena worked above a burn pit. The chemicals in that burn pit caused her to have lung damage that resulted in asthma. However, she has found a way to turn this into something positive. Torena now wants to help others who also struggle with certain types of cardiovascular training and let them know that there are myriad other ways to get fit and healthy. “Running is not the only way to get in better shape!” Torena said. “And I want to encourage alternate means of fitness for others who struggle with asthma or other lung-related issues.”

She is right. Today there are a wide variety of courses, classes, and hobbies that help people stay in shape and remain healthy: Zumba, yoga sculpt, cardio pump, TRX, Parkour, paddle boarding, and the list goes on!

Torena currently works in the Health & Exercise Science lab at the Plymouth campus where she helps students, staff and faculty with their fitness goals. Her favorite courses involve hands-on training and skills she can use immediately as a fitness professional in the lab. Courses like Fitness Analysis or Exercise Prescription for Special Populations afford her experiences that she simply couldn’t get at another university. “The instructors here are so nice and so willing to help you. They really want you to succeed. I really like it when the instructors bring in Globe University graduates who have excelled in the field – that really motivates us!”

Torena originally chose a larger university, but felt somewhat lost. “I love the fact that Globe University doesn’t treat me like a number. If I need help, they set me up with weekly tutoring sessions. If I have a question for financial aid, I only have to wait a few minutes to get a meeting. If I want to talk to the dean, I can call and get one-on-one time. People actually stop what they are doing to help you. It goes beyond ‘military friendly;’ it feels more like family.”