Megan Munson, graduate of the Sports Science Master’s program this spring, is ready to be a part time coach and intern at the Sports Academy facility at The Star in Frisco, Texas—the sports performance wing of the Baylor, Scott, and White Sports Therapy and Research campus.
It’s better known as the headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys.
Her journey began when she chose to come to the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences for her Sports Science degree. Instead of pursuing other more established programs, she came to Pitt because she wanted an experience that would immerse her in the world of athletics. Considering the knowledge of the faculty, the location of the University and the resources Pitt offers its students, “the decision was easy to make,” says Munson. To top it off, she was able to get her degree in a timeframe that aligned with her personal goals.
“As I was exploring different programs, Pitt was the only program that was a yearlong, immersive-education experience,” mentions Munson.
Pitt’s Sports Science program sets students up for success, but also looks to make sure students are up for the challenge.
“It’s important to be a go-getter in this program. Leaders and students looking to be in a program that is open-ended, thrive with this curriculum,” says Munson. “Adaptability is a great skill to have in this field. From my years as a dancer, working as a PT aide, and training my own clients, I had gained experience in being flexible with schedules. It also taught me to communicate clearly and consistently,” which greatly influenced her work at Pitt.
Much like the field itself, the education style and coursework move and change in the same way that the field of sport science does. Pitt’s program teaches young professionals how to utilize every resource available to them to create their own paths to reach their career goals.
“The great thing about the way Dr. Darnell [program director and assistant professor] has built the program is how open it is for the student to create their own experience through the facilitation and resources that Pitt provides. If you are the kind of person who wants to explore new approaches to sport science with curiosity, in real time outside of the classroom and are enthusiastic about sports performance, then this is a great educational experience for you,” says Munson.
Application and Practice
Application of learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. Before completing her degree, Munson was working as an intern with the Pitt Panthers Strength & Conditioning and Sports Science Team as an Olympics Sports Performance coach. As part of the Sports Science program, students are required to find a place to apply their skills and test their knowledge. Internship openings change each term but always offer opportunities to work with Pitt athletes, or more.
"I enjoy being able to learn from a wide variety of coaches and working with a multitude of sports. 'Olympic Sports' is a unique internship with so many athletes and teams, so there are ample opportunities to gain experience with several modalities and projects,” explains Munson.
Most of her days were spent with the Volleyball and Women’s Basketball teams. She helped with anything the coaches needed, such as jump assessments on force plates, or interpreting data into visualizations, and then using the information gathered to assist her team with training decisions.
“A lot of time is spent reading and understanding the research so that when you speak with coaches about the data you are collecting, or are asked to provide insights, you can share an informed perspective rooted in research,” says Munson.
“There are so many directions that sport science can take. At Pitt, I was able to explore each area from working with data and coding, to being more hands-on in the training, to learning how to use cutting-edge technology in assessing athletic performance. I believe these skills, and the ability to gain and apply them in practice, will help me as I pursue a career in sport science and high-performance training.”
Featuring: Megan Munson
SHRS Alumni, MS '22