Alumna returns to teach exercise science

New to Hastings College’s exercise science faculty is Casey Krowlikowski, a 2019 alumna and  Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and completed her master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2021. 

Krolikowski was offered the opportunity to return to the HC campus, this time as a professor, due to her lasting connections with the college community after the department had a resignation late in the spring semester. Although she wasn’t expecting the position, the experience has so far been positive. 

“I don’t anticipate leaving Hastings anytime soon and I’m just getting my feet wet in academia, so far I’m really enjoying what I’m doing,” Krowlikowski said. 

Krowlikowski’s passion is nutritional science and performance nutrition, aligning with the strength and conditioning capstone and performance classes which she is teaching this block. She initially wanted to become a registered dietician, but quickly realized an interest in the learning environment. She also works with her own exercise and nutrition clients in addition to now being an instructor. 

“I lift weights in my spare time, that is my mode of choice when it comes to exercise, it’s really cool being able to help students pursue their strength and conditioning coaching dreams,” Krowlikowski said. 

Being not only a graduate but also a recent graduate, the relationship and power dynamics between her and her students is a challenge she commented on. However, she believes that also gives her an added element of relatability. 

“Two or three years ago I was sitting in the same seats that my students are in, and I’m only a few years older than them. It’s a very interesting power dynamic, creating that barrier of wanting to be their friend but still someone they respect enough,” Krowlikowski said. 

She was previously a teaching assistant during her time at UNL, mostly communicating with students virtually. While there was little to no classroom experience, she credits background fundamentals such as building assignments, implementing learning goals, meeting student needs and knowing when or how to have difficult conversations, to that time. 

“I’ve tried the social media aspect, and I just found that I didn’t like putting myself in the spotlight behind a screen. I really like being in front of students a lot, having that impact in their lives directly and the ability to be a resource anytime that they need,” Krolikowski said.