The Long and Winding Road to Teaching Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy Program

Tina Simunek, Massage Therapy Program Chair

From now on, whenever I hear the Beatles song “The Long and Winding Road” I will smile and think of Tina Simunek on her journey down her career path to become our massage therapy program chair.

Have you ever “shifted gears” in your career path, or had your career path evolve in another direction? Tina has. This week I had the opportunity to visit with her to learn a little bit more about her and how she became a massage therapist, a teacher and our program chair.

I found out that Tina’s career path has been very interesting–a winding one. Her interest in being part of a “helping” profession started when she attended South Dakota State University from 1999 to 2003, where she earned a B.S. in Psychology and minored in Human Relations and Family Studies. After graduation, her career path took her to Children’s Care Hospital, where she became a Behavior Tech. She was also a dental office receptionist.

During this time, her interest and appreciation for massage therapy slowly developed to the point when, in 2005, she started work on her associate degree in massage therapy from National American University. I was curious as to what then prompted Tina to become interested in teaching? Her answer itself was interesting.

The more she became involved in pursuing her associate degree and working in massage therapy, the more her confidence developed, the more she knew she wanted to teach. Her experience taught her just how important it was for massage students to grasp concepts and use them to do something that would help make people’s lives better, and she wanted to teach others the lessons she learned along the way.

So where did her career path take her from earning her degree to starting at Globe University-Sioux Falls? As it turns out, lots of places! This part of the path was made easier because she was goodMassage Therapy Program at her studies and really enjoyed helping people as a massage therapist. Doors opened for her. While a student, she did her externship at Chiropractors at Four Hills, and then worked for six years at the Avera McKennan Fitness Center.

I found out that Tina truly enjoys teaching and being our massage therapy program chair at Globe University-Sioux Falls. You can see her eyes light up with enthusiasm when she discusses her goals as a teacher and as a program chair. She really thinks “out of the box,” and she shared one of her goals: to shed light on needs that are not currently met in our community, and to recruit students to help meet these needs.

I’ll end with one thing you might never guess about Tina. She raised and showed rabbits for the 4-H while she was in the 6th grade!

By Doug Murdock, Campus Librarian, Globe University-Sioux Falls