Student Profile: Kristen Green

B.S., Exercise Science
Year Expected to Graduate
Long Island
St. Catherine, Jamaica
Student Profile: Kristen Green

From the Army to the Classroom

“I was a scrawny, unathletic kid, so I didn’t think they would take me seriously,” recalls undergraduate exercise science student Kristen Green. “I told the Army recruiter I couldn’t do a single push-up and was a horrible runner.”

After graduating high school, Green left Jamaica, her home country, for New York. While considering her college options and the financial responsibilities that would follow, her mother suggested joining the U.S. Army, setting Green on a course that would chart her future.

Based on her Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score (an exam to determine a recruit’s best fit in the military), Green was eligible to become a physical therapy (PT) specialist—a position she was thrilled to accept as she’s been interested in the field since undergoing PT for knee pain when she was 14 years old. Seven years in active duty between Fort Drum, N.Y., Kuwait, and Scholfield Barracks in Hawaii, proved fruitful. Green rose from PT technician to manager of the PT clinic and later became manager of the musculoskeletal department, which included physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, and orthopedics.

After leaving active duty in 2021, Green stayed in the Army Reserve at Fort Meade, Md., until 2022, when she decided to formally pursue her studies in sports and health sciences. As she looked at potential universities, she was drawn to New York Tech for the School of Health Professions’ degree programs and veteran-friendly atmosphere.

Green’s extracurricular activities, past research, and ongoing lab work have helped her grow confident in her field of study. Being a member of the Exercise Science Club’s quiz bowl team has helped to boost her knowledge. Since joining in fall 2023, Green has become treasurer of the club and was a part of the team’s win that semester at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) mid-Atlantic regional conference in Lancaster, Pa., where she acted as team scribe. Green says the team wasn’t positioned to win, but they stole the game at the last minute when an earlier conversation between team members turned out to be the answer to the final question of the quiz bowl—the non-essential amino acid beta-alanine is a pH buffer in the blood.

In November 2023, she and graduate student Camille Palarpalar presented their scholarly work at the Greater New York Regional Chapter of the ACSM’s 2023 Annual Fall Meeting. Their study, “Physical Activity Assessment of People with Type II Diabetes in the Dominican Republic,” discovered the need for different medical interventions among men and women. Their research won the President’s Cup Research Competition, and their abstract was published in the International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings.

Now, Green works as a laboratory research assistant with Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences Haotian Zhao, M.D., Ph.D. She maintains the lab space, assists with genotyping mice, and performs cryosectioning (tissue frozen and cut for microscopical examination). The lab is currently researching pediatric brain cancer with the goal of discovering therapeutic treatments for the disease.

“Think about where you want to be, what is required for that career, and the necessary steps needed to fulfill those requirements,” Green advises. “I always knew I wanted to become a healthcare professional, so my exercise science major is a great perquisite to my goal of becoming a physical therapist.”

As she completes her final semester of exercise science undergraduate work, Green feels well-prepared to continue her education in June 2024 at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., where she will pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy.