Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
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School of Health Sciences and Human Performance | Exercise Science
“My job is pretty cool, especially on those days when I get to fly in an F-18.” For Pat Dougherty, those flights are the culmination of years of study that started at Ithaca College.
The exercise science graduate had always played sports, but his professors turned him on to running studies, which he immediately found himself drawn to. “I was curious about how the body worked and exercise physiology is a lot about running at its core. If I was going to study it, I might as well do a lot of it. So that’s when I started running marathons and since then I’ve switched to triathlons.”
Pat’s passion for exercise science led him to pursue his master’s degree and later his doctorate, but that’s where things took a turn. “I realized an academic career wasn’t for me. I wanted something a little more exciting, so I applied and was eventually commissioned as a lieutenant in the Naval aerospace physiology program in 2009.”
Now Pat spends his days providing training for anyone in the service who might be involved in flying. The physiological threats a member of a flight crew can be exposed to include hypoxia, which is a special disorientation that occurs when there isn’t enough blood flow to the brain. This happens sometimes in flights that reach multiple g-forces, and it can have catastrophic results. One of the tools Pat has at his disposal is the only “high-G” human centrifuge in the U.S. Navy, which spins its subjects under multiple g-forces to mimic the sensations hypoxia may bring.
“It’s like a wicked carnival ride. There’s a big motor in the center, and we spin them around in this room, which exposes them to increased accelerations like they would feel in the air. I’ve gone through it a few times, so I can safely say that it’s pretty intense.”
Come February, Pat will move to Corpus Christi, where he will become an air medical safety officer. It’s another challenge he feels completely ready for. “I haven’t taken the most linear path since I left Ithaca, but everything I learned on South Hill has helped push me to the next level of my career.”
>> More on this story: Watch a video of pilot training in the human centrifuge
Odds are good the technology you’ll use 20 years from now hasn’t been dreamed up yet. For modern-day communications experts like Susan Cort, things like websites, blogs, and social media are industry basics today. But they weren’t when she was a student at Ithaca College.
“It’s funny because everything I’m in charge of now was not invented when I was at IC,” she says.
Susan coordinates public relations for an integrated communications company that helps clients with marketing solutions across multiple media platforms. Her position builds on a varied career as a TV news anchor and reporter, PR director for the Hershey resort, high school broadcast journalism teacher, and successful communications freelancer.
Despite the technological change she’s witnessed firsthand, she says IC gave her the foundation to understand how to communicate and tell stories regardless of media evolution.
“You’ll need to be flexible so you can take everything you’ve learned in school and in your career and apply it to whatever the next thing is--whatever the latest technology is and however people are communicating,” Susan says.
Hands-on opportunities at Ithaca helped Susan focus her passion for communications. She immersed herself in the college TV and radio stations, anchoring news programs, hosting shows, and working on coverage during the 1984 election. She also interned at CNN in New York City, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (during a semester abroad in London), and the New Jersey Nightly News in Newark.
“I had real-world experiences at 18, 19 years old,” Susan says. “When I was ready to get a job, not only did I have a fabulous education from a college that had a terrific reputation; I had experience. I had demo tapes that showed I could be a broadcast journalist.”
On a recent tour of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at IC, Susan says the evolution of technology between her time as a student and today boggled her mind. “The student guides were showing me the Macs and all the high-tech equipment they had there and I said, ‘Wow. When I was here, we sat in the hall and wrote our news scripts on electric typewriters.’ The whole group got really quiet. They couldn’t imagine that.”
Whether you graduated in 1986 or will graduate in 2016, the benefits of Ithaca College are constant. “The combination of a quality education and real hands-on experience make me feel like, as IC grads, we’re kind of unstoppable,” Susan says. “We can do anything we set out to do.”
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