The Strength of a Gael

Although a world class education is the main focus of all Saint Mary's students, we often come across exemplary students who learn to balance their studies with hands-on experience outside of the classroom. Spending all lot of their time in Saint Mary's Strength and Conditioning Center, current kinesiology students Max Bayer MA '17 and Roberto Arellano BA '18 illustrate what it means to learn and train as a Gael. They recently sat down and shared with us their Saint Mary's experience, both in the classroom and in the gym.  


Roberto Arellano
BA in Kinesiology ‘18
Saint Mary’s College of California
Emphasis: Health and Human Performance


Why did you choose to attend Saint Mary's College of California?

I originally came to Saint Mary’s for two reasons. One of them obviously is the Kinesiology program here and the small class sizes and how close you could really get with the teachers and students; I absolutely love the tight knit community. The other reason was because of rugby. I played all throughout high school and as well as my freshman year at SMC. However, I decided to no longer continue playing after my first year, in order to focus a little more on my schoolwork.

Next year will be your final year at Saint Mary’s. What has been your favorite part about Kinesiology so far?

My favorite part about Kinesiology has to be the teachers, not just in the classroom but in the workplace (i.e., Steve DiLustro, Volney Rouse, Max Bayer, and Jon Gregory) as well. These individuals are the people who challenge you to become a better version of yourself. It’s people like Professor Deane Lamont that would send you an email saying “I know we have not yet seen the best out of you” at the end of the semester that really make you think to yourself, I can do better and I will. I would not be the individual I am today if it wasn’t for these people that encourage and light the fire underneath me to be a better person every single day. Another stellar professor would have to be Professor Sonya Schuh, my Anatomy and Physiology teacher. It’s individuals like her and Professor Wendy Lacy (Biology) that teach with such passion and excitement that really engage you with the material and want to make you learn about the stuff that they are teaching. It’s an amazing experience and they are both amazing teachers. It’s teachers like them that really make Saint Mary’s “The Place To Be.”

You are very lucky to have built such great relationships with your professors. Looking into the future a little bit, what do you hope to accomplish after you graduate?

After I graduate I hope to attend graduate school, whether it is here at Saint Mary’s or elsewhere. The end goal would be to get a master’s degree that allows me to work as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the collegiate level, hopefully Division I.

What has your overall experience been thus far working with SMC Strength and Conditioning?

Beautifully amazing. I don’t know how else to put it. Saint Mary’s Strength and Conditioning has made me into the person that I am today. I have learned and gained more experience than I could have ever imagined, made more friends and connections than I could ever ask for, and, to tell you the truth, I never want to leave. Everyone from the athletes to the teachers that have passed through those doors and walked that rubber floor with me have been a blessing from God. I consider myself to be a lucky individual to be able to work as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for Saint Mary’s.

Have any of the classes you have taken so far aided in your understanding of SMC Strength & Conditioning?

As of right now only my Anatomy class and my Research Methods & Writing in Kinesiology class have seemed to help me in what I do as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Anatomy in the aspect of knowing the human body on a very detailed level, and Research Methods has helped because I actually did my research project on burnout in Athletic Trainers and Strength and Conditioning Coaches. But, for example, this semester I am taking Human Physiology, Sports Nutrition, and Care &  Prevention of Athletic Injuries, and I know those classes will do nothing but help me even more in the work I do for Strength and Conditioning. I am constantly learning and it is nice to be able to go into the classroom and already know what we are talking about. I have been in the field of Strength and Conditioning for so long that I am, in a way, ahead of a lot of people both in the classroom and in the field.

Any additional comments you think are important for others to know about your Saint Mary's College experience?

Strength and Conditioning is not a job for the faint of heart. It consists of a lot of early mornings and long nights, but it’s filled with a lot of fun moments. The classes are great, and the teachers as stated before are phenomenal. The athletes can be a challenge to work with, but they are what make my world go round and the highlight of my day, even at 5 in the morning. I love Saint Mary’s, and I think it would be a great choice for anyone searching for a small school and wanting to get their feet wet and hands dirty with experience as an undergraduate student.

Max Bayer
MA in Kinesiology ‘17
Undergraduate: Saint Mary’s College of California
Undergraduate Major: Kinesiology; Health and Human Performance

Max Bayer

Out of the many graduate programs in the country, what made Saint Mary's College of California the right choice for you?

I chose to attend the Master of Arts Kinesiology Program at Saint Mary’s College of California because of the continuing opportunity to work in a high-performance environment coaching the NCAA Division I student athletes.

I can see how that is appealing! Overall, what is your favorite part about the Graduate Kinesiology program?

The Graduate Kinesiology program allows me to interact with other young professionals in the field of kinesiology. This has helped me to further develop my personal coaching philosophy and my identity as a professional in the discipline.  

Throughout the program so far, have there been any particular classes or professors that have made a lasting impression on you?

Over the years, Professor Craig Johnson has served as a mentor and I aspire to live life similarly: with passion for my work and an easy-going attitude.  

What do you hope to accomplish after you graduate?

One of my 10 year goals is to work with the US Olympic Ski and Snowboard team as a Strength and Conditioning Coach.

How has your experience been working with SMC Strength & Conditioning?

Working with the SMC Strength and Conditioning department has allowed me to hone my skills as a coach, my knowledge of the scientific principles, and develop some professional savviness.  My colleagues in the department are well-rounded intellectuals who have become good friends over the years.

Have any of your classes aided you in your position with SMC Strength & Conditioning?

Professor Craig Johnson’s philosophy class has helped me to become comfortable with my own values as a coach. Professor Shari Otto’s research course provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge of a subject of my choice, and Professor James Barber’s Applied Concepts in Exercise Physiology course has helped to cement my scientific foundations.

Any additional comments about your Saint Mary's experience?

SMC is above all else, a community.  The personal attention from staff and professors is to be cherished, and the personal and professional relationships that I have developed with my peers in the program and in Strength and Conditioning will serve me well in the coming years.