Health and Exercise Science outstanding graduate plans to serve as a healthcare provider

Tiana Hernandez smiling in sunlight
Tiana Hernandez

A Fort Collins native and second generation Colorado State University student, Tiana Hernandez grew up surrounded by all things Rams. When she decided to pursue health and exercise science after high school, CSU was the obvious choice. Hernandez majored in health and exercise science with a concentration in sports medicine.

Ready to take on the world

Hernandez describes her years on campus as a series of wonderful people and moments. During her time in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, she worked with UCHealth and completed her capstone in the Human Performance Clinical Research Lab.

With the help of her advisers, Hernandez created a challenging but manageable plan to finish her degree in less than four years. Her professors collectively pushed her to evolve into a young professional ready to take on the world.

“They make the overwhelming seem achievable,” said Hernandez.  “It really does take a whole village.”

Thankful for wellness

During her sophomore year, Hernandez experienced many health issues. After a few months she was diagnosed with a heart condition that is thankfully manageable. However, in the midst of her studies on human health and wellness, she was forced to deeply consider how truly valuable health is.

“I was young and healthy, working as a personal trainer and immersing myself in my HES classes. I never thought I would experience an issue like that,” said Hernandez. She was determined to press ahead with her academics and prioritize her health more than ever before.

Her own experience helped her to realize that many people aren’t as lucky when they begin to have health issues and must face much more serious illnesses and obstacles.

“That’s when I really knew my calling was to enter into the field of healthcare, and I approached every class with that unshakable mindset,” said Hernandez.

The road ahead

The transition to online learning in Spring 2020 proved to be a significant challenge for Hernandez and the rest of her cohort. However, Hernandez was pleasantly surprised when some of her professors personally reached out to offer individual support. That made a world of difference in this difficult time.

“I’ve learned that patience and empathy are more useful tools than complaints and despair. Life will go on if we do,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez will be moving across the country to pursue schooling as a physician assistant and fulfill her dream of becoming a healthcare provider. In the fall, she is marrying a CSU alumnus.

“The girl I sat next to in my very first freshman class will be one of my bridesmaids,” added Hernandez.

Hernandez won’t stop being surrounded by Rams anytime soon as she continues to pursue an exceptional career.

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.