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Danielle D’amato, a senior physical education teacher education major from Genoa, Illinois, doesn’t have a lot of downtime. She is a student performer in Gamma Phi Circus, a member of the Physical Education Teacher Education Club, a resident advisor, a teaching assistant, and holds two jobs for Campus Recreation: a group fitness instructor and a member services associate.

  1. You are busy! How do you balance it all? Are there any time management tips you’d like to share with other students?

That’s a great question; sometimes I have no idea how I balance it all! For me, I need to write everything down to stay on track. I have a planner, use sticky notes on my laptop, and have a dry erase calendar on my wall. I color code everything, making all of my different jobs, classes, and miscellaneous items each a different color so it’s easy for me to distinguish. Other time management techniques I like to use include making lists, scheduling free time, and making self-care a priority.

  1. Why do you think it is important to be involved on campus?

It’s important to be involved on campus because it’s fun to fully incorporate yourself within the ISU community. Meeting new people, establishing connections, and participating in something you’re passionate about are fulfilling to both you and the school.

  1. You presented at Midwest FitFest: That’s a big deal and you should be very proud. What made you step out of your comfort zone and decide to go the extra mile and present instead of just attending?

I presented two formats called Hip-Hop Step and Barre to the Beat which I co-created. Hip-Hop Step is a fun and upbeat class that utilizes an elevated platform to enhance cardiovascular endurance and strengthen the muscles of the lower body. Various hip-hop dance techniques are added in addition to step movements to give the class a unique and fun twist while adding upper body strengthening/toning. Barre to the Beat is inspired by Ballet, Pilates, and Strength Training. This class is designed to sculpt long, lean muscles. You’ll move to the beat of fun, energizing music while improving your muscular endurance, balance, and flexibility. My passion for teaching and performing pushed me to want to present at a prestigious conference such as Midwest Fit Fest. I wanted other instructors to experience something new and unique to the fitness industry.

  1. What excites you most about your future career as a PE teacher?

I am excited to be a positive influence for my future students and make a difference in their lives. I want to contribute to the reason why they should choose to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

5. What is your favorite thing about ISU?

My favorite thing about ISU is the atmosphere. I love how the campus makes you feel right at home. The Student Fitness Center was my second home at ISU. When I was there, I was either working or working out; spending the majority of each day at the Rec. My major of study is another favorite of ISU. The PETE faculty members are great, so inspiring, and are extremely good at what they do. They produce great teachers; I’m very lucky to have been a part of this unique program.

Author’s note: D’amato graduated in December 2019 and has accepted her first teaching position: starting in August 2020, she will be the newest physical education teacher at Genoa-Kingston High School. We are #RedbirdProud of Danielle!


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