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A Sporting Mind

Interests in kinesiology reflect a family affair with athletics for M.Ed. student Tiffany Hoffmann

Pursuing a master's in applied kinesiology with an emphasis in sport management seems to represent a natural progression for Tiffany Hoffmann, who hails from a line of athletes.

"My family is very sports-oriented," she says.

Hoffmann's father was a high school state champion wrestler and her brother plays Triple A minor league baseball within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as an outfielder. She and her brother both played a variety of high school sports in their hometown of New Ulm.

"When we were growing up, every weekend was spent at a different tournament throughout the state," Hoffmann says.

Despite an aptitude for and inclination toward athletics, Hoffmann did not have a career involving sports in mind when she arrived at the University as an undergraduate in the fall of 2007. After beginning a job as an official with the Department of Recreational Sports and taking some classes in the School of Kinesiology, however, she discovered her calling and declared her major in kinesiology the following year.

"I got into it because I liked it," she says. "I started taking classes, and I thought, 'How can this be part of a major?!' ".

Hoffmann confesses that before starting at the University, she didn't know the meaning of kinesiology, which is the study of physical activity and human movement. For Hoffmann, who plays intramural volleyball, softball, and kickball, the thrill of physical activity lies in people improving their well-being while enjoying themselves. Her master's-level coursework has focused on sport management, and she appreciates how sporting events bring people together and energize both players and fans.

For the past two years, Hoffmann has served as intramural program assistant for the Department of Recreational Sports. In that role she oversees all intramural sports for the University.

"Everyone that takes part in sports is so passionate about it and gets so excited about it," she says. "If you're planning an event or if you're planning a league, it's fun because you know the people participating in it really want to be there."

Hoffmann graduated with her B.S. in kinesiology in the fall of 2010 and will graduate with her M.Ed. at the end of fall semester 2011. She said one of the highlights of the master's program has been the ability to explore an interest in public health.

Outside of the University, Hoffmann has spent the past two summers leading summer programs and sports programming, respectively, for the Southwest Area YMCA in Eagan. After receiving her master's, she says she may pursue a career in community recreation. Ultimately, she says she would be open to any type of work focused on helping individuals lead healthier lives through physical activity.

"I think I would be satisfied working for anyplace that has a goal to improve people," she says.

Story by Jenny Woods | September 2011

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