Katherine Brady Peterman ’13 came to Shenandoah University to be a member of the field hockey team. However, the field hockey team wasn’t the only thing Shenandoah had to offer Peterman. The small classes and personal relationships with her professors also gave her a sense of family, making Peterman want to get everything she could out of her time at Shenandoah. “The small class sizes made a difference,” said Peterman. “I loved knowing everyone and being on first name basis with my professors.”
Peterman always wanted to pursue a career of sports/fitness/physical activity, which is why she originally majored in kinesiology. However, after taking a few public health classes, she fell in love with that major as well. So Peterman added public health as her second major and graduated from Shenandoah with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology and public health. She realized this was the way she could promote a healthy lifestyle and help an entire population at the same time. Peterman went on to receive a master’s degree in public health from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Peterman is currently the interim director of educational programs in the department of epidemiology at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU.) In this role, she administers the masters of public health program from an academic and student affairs perspective and maintains data for accreditation reporting for the program. She also supported the development of VCUs new school of population health. Prior to her current role, Peterman was the graduate programs coordinator for VCU.
Peterman previously worked at Corporate Fitness Works as an exercise physiologist. She also served as an assistant field hockey coach at Monacan High School in Chesterfield County, Virginia. At Corporate Fitness Works, she provided health education and healthy heart screenings to 1,000-plus employees, and maintained gyms in multiple locations. One of Peterman’s most rewarding experiences in this position was helping employees meet their health and wellness goals.
Peterman believes that Shenandoah was able to give her the exercise science background she would need in her career after graduation along with the teamwork and public speaking skills.
“My coaches and professors helped me succeed on the field and in the classroom,” said Peterman. “Shenandoah helped me grow as a student, athlete, and person because everyone always believed in me and pushed me to do my best, even when I wanted to give up.”
Peterman’s advice to students is: “Be open to change in your career trajectory and interests. I never planned to be a higher education professional, but it’s the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had and I finally found my fit.”