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Kinesiology alumni keeping UofGH close

Muhammad Kathia

Coming back to work as a TA makes me feel like I am still part of the UofGH community."

Photo courtesy of Muhammad Kathia.

Although University of Guelph-Humber Kinesiology program alumni Muhammad Kathia and Michael Silvestri are both pursuing post-graduate degrees, they both decided to keep the UofGH community close by returning as Teaching Assistants.

“In both my first and second year as a TA, I chose to apply to UofGH because I believe that I can relate better to the students as I was once in their shoes,” said Kathia, who is pursuing his M.Sc. in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph. “Coming back to work as a TA makes me feel like I am still a part of the UofGH community.”

“The professors in the Kinesiology program are great people and I knew that it would be a learning experience for myself as well as a TA to see all the back end work that goes into being a professor,” agreed Silvestri, who enrolled in the same University of Guelph master’s program, with an emphasis on biomechanics and neurophysiology. 

“I also just wanted to be able to give back to Kinesiology studies in the years after me and be of any assistance to them,” he added.

“Coming back to work as a TA at UofGH was an easy decision.”

The path to post-graduate education

Kathia and Silvestri aren’t alone among Kinesiology alumni who have returned to work as TAs at UofGH, and they’re two of many Kin graduates who decide to pursue post-graduate education.

“A high proportion of fourth-year Kinesiology students are interested in pursuing graduate studies,” said Kinesiology instructor Robert Gumieniak. “Our graduates make for excellent candidates because of the robust theoretical and applied curriculum at the University of Guelph-Humber.”

The well-rounded and full spectrum of applied and theoretical learning at UofGH is what put me on the correct path for furthering my education."

Michael Silvestri


Photo courtesy of Michael Silvestri.

Both Silvestri and Kathia discovered their interest in research while undergraduate students at UofGH. For Kathia, it was the fourth-year thesis course that cemented his drive to continue pursuing research.

“The course gave me a great insight into the research world as I was involved in generating a thesis proposal, recruiting participants, analyzing data, and writing the final paper. I also loved working in the lab because I had wonderful lab mates and a great advisor,” Kathia recalled. “In the end, I was hungry for more, which is why I decided to pursue my master’s in the same lab.

“The thesis course, taught by Dr. Leslie Auger, was instrumental in my applying for a research-based master's. Without that course, I do not think I would have applied to a master's program and would have missed out on such a wonderful experience. Overall, the Kinesiology program provided me with all the necessary skills I needed to be successful in graduate school.”

During the pandemic, new measures have been taken to ensure students don’t miss out on those kinds of interactions with TAs and instructors.

“Although remote delivery of courses due to COVID-19 has presented pedagogical challenges this year, we’re proud to offer our students opportunities to engage in virtual synchronous labs where they can interact in real time with instructors and TAs,” said Interim Assistant Program Head Dr. Justine Tishinsky. “This commitment to maintaining real connections with our students is a foundational value of the Kinesiology program at UofGH”.

Indeed, both Silvestri and Kathia felt well-prepared for the transition into a post-graduate program, and now in their capacity as TAs, they hope to help future Kinesiology grads similarly meet their own goals.

“The well-rounded and full spectrum of applied and theoretical learning at UofGH is what put me on the correct path for furthering my education,” Silvestri said. “UofGH is most definitely a leader in the Kinesiology programs nationwide, and I have heard this from many professors and practitioners across the country to date. UofGH has most definitely done a great job in blending theoretical and applied learning to help its students grow to the greatest potential.”