Two of New York College’s eight students, recently recognized for outstanding achievements by the National Society of Health and Physical Education (SHAPE), are seniors at SUNY Cortland.
Jenna Kratz and Matthew Milana have earned the Major of the Year nomination, one of the highest pre-professional qualifications awarded by SHAPE to students in health, physical education, leisure and dance.
Among the other achievements of these two students:
- Kratz of Cochecton, New York, has partnered with the Office of Living and Housing to develop a mental health resources website for students struggling with pandemic-related stress and other issues.
- Milan of Miller Place, New York, led a successful September fundraiser last fall that raised more than $ 8,000 in donations from classmates, friends and family to support the Alliance’s research efforts and the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation.
The couple will join 113 college students from across the country hosting the Main Year Award in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the general session of SHAPE America’s annual national conference to be held April 26-30.
“This is our national governing body in the field of physical education and health,” said Helen Schmid, a lecturer in the Department of Physical Education, which nominated Krats and Milan for recognition. “This is a very prestigious award for our students. They are both exceptional specialties. “
Junior or seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher who have provided significant services to their school or community for a minimum of two years during their undergraduate career.
“Congratulations to these two students, this is a great achievement,” Joey Martelli, manager of advocacy and public relations at the Professional Society in Annapolis, Maryland, wrote in a recent email. “We look forward to honoring these outstanding specialty students this year.”
“They are introduced to other top students in the field from across the country, creating the next cohort of leaders in the field,” said Rebecca Brian, interim chair of SUNY Cortland’s Department of Physical Education.
“Perhaps this is the first time SUNY Cortland has sent two seniors at once to host the Major of the Year award,” Brian said.
“As far as I know, Jenna and I are the first two students from SUNY Cortland to represent New York State in the same year,” Milano said. “If it happened, it hasn’t happened in recent years.”
Brian noted that any institution with a major in SHAPE – physical education and health – offered by SUNY Cortland – can nominate two students for the major.
Normally, selecting a university must first win a New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Award for Outstanding Specialty, called the JB Nash Award. Neither Kratz nor Milan nominees won in November 2021 during the annual conference in Verona, New York
“But we received awards from the Strange People Association,” Krats said. This award is given to zones and sections in honor of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the profession.
“But I’m okay with that, especially because we got the SHAPE America Major of the Year awards,” Krats said.
Both Kratz and Milan are enrolled in a special program of four plus one, which means that in a year they will receive a bachelor’s degree from the Department of Physical Education and a master’s degree from the Department of Health.
They are very active in their field and in the wider community campus. Both joined in promoting their future profession by participating in SPEAK Out! A day when majors from all over the U.S. traditionally gather in Washington, D.C., to speak directly with members of Congress about the need to promote more vibrant physical education and health programs in America’s elementary and middle schools. Due to the pandemic, the recent SPEAK Out! The days passed virtually.
“Matt attended a propaganda training session, scheduled meetings with members of Congress, and advocated the importance of effective health and physical education programs for our New York State Delegation on Capitol Hill,” Brian said.
Kratz also met with his representative in the local congress to express his opinion.
Outside the classroom, Milan leans towards its concentration in adapted physical culture, using a wheelchair at the Center for Student Life to shoot hoops with classmates with different abilities during integrated sports club activities.
“He was an active member of our specialty club, the Alliance of Physical Education Majors (APEM),” Brian added, helping plan many club events. “He is an excellent student and a person who is fully engaged in his training, a bright young leader in our profession.”
“I think the important thing is definitely to stay involved,” Milano said. “That’s one thing I try to say to younger students when I have the opportunity.”
Kratz, in addition to participating in numerous student clubs and organizations, did an internship at the office of the University’s Institute of Civic Activity, organizing and managing a monthly Health and Wellness Day for students and a virtual 5K.
“She’s always a great student to have in class, but working with her outside of class really showed me her honesty, her communication skills, her organizational skills, and her passion for advocacy,” Schmid said. “Jenna is a leader in every sense of the word.”
“With the Institute of Civic Activity, I focused primarily on mental health,” Krats said. “As an athlete in high school, I got a lot of injuries, so I knew it really spoiled my mood. Also, if you don’t get enough food, if you don’t exercise enough, you feel lethargic.
“It’s such a stigmatized thing, and it shouldn’t be,” Kratz continued. “And I’m not afraid to talk about it. I’m not afraid to say, “It needs to change.” If you have to do something, you have to do it ”.
Kratz is currently teaching high school children in Liberty Central School District (New York), near his hometown. Milan will go to Start in May, but finish studying next fall.
Meanwhile, in New Orleans, they will be rewarded for hard work.
“I’m very excited,” said Milan. “It will definitely be a great opportunity to talk to other professionals, participate in various conferences and meetings and hopefully explore the city of New Orleans.”
“It’s such a culturally rich place,” Krats said. “In addition, I meet people who are involved in physical education and health from all over the country. Establishing all these connections and learning from these different people, and seeing what I can give back to my students, is important to me. ”