Graduate Spotlight: Iris Saar

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By Published On: January 26, 2022

Iris Saar was an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM-CPT)  with her own company when she decided to earn her Master of Science in Applied Exercise Science at Concordia University Chicago.

“I’m going to say something that a lot of people say, but for me, it really is the essence of it; I was always drawn to the science behind exercise,” she said. “I actually had no reason, no practical reasons to pursue a master’s degree, because I was already doing what I will most likely continue to be doing, which is training people. But I wanted to find out the science behind the exercise.”

As a mother of two, business owner, fitness instructor certifier, flight attendant, and high school track coach, the format of the program allowed her to pursue her master’s degree in addition to her other commitments.

“Concordia gave me the flexibility that I needed,” she said. “But it also seemed to be a program that was thorough enough, because that was something that was very important to me. I’m someone who started this program for that desire to know. So it was very, very important to me that the evidence-based content of the program would be high quality, and Concordia seemed to have all that.”

Saar said that the program went beyond her expectations.

“The way Concordia makes certain subjects approachable to people, it opens up a lot of future fields of knowledge for someone.”

With her new degree, Saar is looking into entering the teaching field.

“What I’d like to do now is actually teach,” she said. “I will be applying for community colleges, and possibly some high schools that have AP classes. I’m not a native speaker of English — I’m not from the US, I’m from Israel, so my undergrad is from there. So I’ve already applied to one of the universities in Israel to teach over there in Hebrew.”

Saar is considering pursuing her doctorate, as her dream career is to work in a lab, studying the association between biomechanics and exercise physiology. 

“Because I’m 45, I’m seeing a lot of people that have so much wear and tear on their bodies. If we could preserve some of the muscular skeletal systems abilities, and extend it towards people that are approaching their 50s who used to be athletes, that would significantly improve their quality of life,” she said. “And it would open up new age categories in elite competitions, even.”

As far as advice for future students of the program, Saar suggests students be prepared to be disciplined in their studies. 

“There has to be some realistic expectations when people take on online degrees, especially a master’s degree,” she said. “I think the program maybe even requires a little bit more than going in person. So be prepared to put in the work, enjoy the journey. It’s incredible. Just do it.”

Interested in learning more about our master’s program? Check out our webinar hosted by program director Dr. Theresa Miyashita, that goes over everything you need to know about our Master’s in Applied Exercise Science.

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