Student Profile: Griffin Feinberg

Griffen Feinberg with Concussion Center Director Steve Broglio looking at football helmet sensor map

Name: Griffin Feinberg

Program: Movement Science

Level or Degree: Senior

What are you involved in?

Research Assistant in the Michigan Concussion Center; Movement Science Honors Program; President of Phi Epsilon Kappa Kinesiology Professional Fraternity

How has the School of Kinesiology prepared you for your post-graduation goals?

With my ultimate goal of becoming a surgeon, the School of Kinesiology has provided me with a course load that is clinically relevant, as well as the opportunity to get involved with research early in my undergraduate career. I was able to learn from leaders in the fields in Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, and Motor Control, while also getting an exemplary foundation through research-based statistics and writing courses. These courses have carried over into my work in the Michigan Concussion Center, my honors thesis, and will carry over as I make the transition to becoming a clinician.

What makes the School of Kinesiology unique?

The University of Michigan has every opportunity an undergraduate could ever want. With that opportunity though, comes the reality that in a university home to over 40,000 students, you can get lost in the sheer size of it all. The School of Kinesiology solves this problem and gives students the best of both worlds. The U-M resources, with the addition of small class sizes, a focused course load, and readily accessible professors. This gives students the perfect balance of big school opportunities while maintaining an intimate scholastic environment.

What is your most memorable moment with the School of Kinesiology?

My most memorable moment in the School of Kinesiology is actually my first day in Movement Science 110. The first day of class, Dr. [Rebecca] Hasson walked into the room with more energy than I'd ever experienced from a teacher or professor at any level of my academic career. She was passionate about her work, the field of exercise physiology, and about us the students. She spoke thoughtfully and deliberately and delivered the material in a clear and understandable way. She also emphasized mid-class or at the end of class "activity breaks," where she would get students on their feet, moving around, and giving us the ability to be active in order to refocus us. Her student-focused style of teaching and her passion for the material is something I will always remember.

What is you’re a-ha moment – a time when your perspective shifted?

Mental health was something that no one talked about when I was growing up. I was always told that adversity helps us grow and that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Additionally, I thought and was told that mental health was simply an issue for those with severe mental illnesses. But that changed drastically when I entered college. Specifically, my sophomore year during fall break I lost my second friend (and former teammate) in two years to mental health issues. My two friends who passed were multiple sport athletes, extremely sociable kids, and showed no outward signs of struggling. It was at this time I decided I needed to take action and reshape my belief of what mental health looked like. Over the next year, I became Mental Health First Aid certified and created a mental health program for my professional fraternity, Phi Epsilon Kappa. I became an advocate for mental health through social media, began work with those around me to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and I have personally served as an intermediary for those struggling or in crisis to get them the help that they need.

Tell us about your favorite experience in your program/degree.

My favorite experience thus far in Movement Science has been my Pediatric Disability class with Dr. [Dale] Ulrich. As part of the class, students are required to volunteer at practicum sites that work with children with various cognitive and motor disabilities. For my practicum site, I was assigned to work with the Ann Arbor Special Olympics. Once a week for the semester, I would go play flag football with local high school students with special needs, emphasizing motor development and socialization. From a clinical side, it is a tremendous opportunity to work with the athletes and take what we have learned in the classroom and apply it directly. From a personal standpoint, put simply, it has been incredible. To be able to play a role in the athlete’s progress, to see the joy on their faces when they catch a pass or win a game, is something I will always remember.

How have you changed academically, personally, or professionally since being admitted to the University of Michigan and the School of Kinesiology?

I think professionally I've come a long way since entering U-M. Through my work in the Michigan Concussion Center, I have learned how to be a professional. Prior to starting at U-M, the only jobs I had ever held were in retail and in restaurants. I consider working in the Michigan Concussion Center my first "real" job. Through my work with Dr. [Steven] Broglio, I have learned what professionalism looks like and how to not just do good work, but great work from a leader in the field of concussion. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to apply those lessons. This past year I was published in a scientific journal, and in my three and a half years in the lab I have learned how to present myself and my work, and how to work collaboratively with a team from all different disciplines and backgrounds. These lessons, experiences, and achievements will be assets for me as I transition to my post-graduate life.

What is your favorite thing to do in Ann Arbor?

I love food. Ever since I was a little kid I loved trying new things and helping in the kitchen with my family. So, when I arrived in Ann Arbor I made it a priority to try all the wonderful and diverse foods Ann Arbor had to offer. Whether it was bibimbap at Kang's, burgers at Frita Batidas, or Ethiopian feasts at Blue Nile: I tried it all. To this day, I love exploring the restaurants of Ann Arbor and cooking when I have a chance.