Story by Kelsey Burket
Ever wonder how versatile a degree in health and exercise science can be? Just ask Eric Eads, a 2010 HES alumnus, who has experience in the fields of heart health, beer, and now yoghurt. Eads took a roundabout journey to find his passion in the field of fermentation – landing a job at Noosa Yogurt.
Hooked on science
Eads grew up in a small rural community east of Colorado Springs. After watching his older brother Mike head up to CSU, Eads decided to become a Ram, too. When he arrived on campus as a freshman, he was unsure which path he wanted to pursue. He considered being a teacher, but that was before he took two courses in HES: Health and Wellness; and Population, Health, and Disease Prevention. From that point on, he was hooked on health and exercise science. After declaring his major, Eads was mentored by Sheri Linnell the former director of the Adult Fitness Program and Wendy DeYoung, the HES coordinator for practicums and internships.
“At Colorado State, you can learn and explore countless disciplines and degree programs,” Eads said. “There are so many great academic options but the resources and the networking connections are even better. Always express your interests and passions to your professors and advisers. These people are the connectors. They will help you find a path that is right for you.”
Thanks to Linnell’s and DeYoung’s mentorship, Eads fully immersed himself in HES. While a student, he assisted with cardiovascular research in the Human Performance and Clinical Research Lab, where he helped run EKG stress tests under the guidance of Linnell and then graduate assistant, Jessica Fluck.
By the close of his senior year, Eads had two student practicums under his belt. One with Adult Fitness, a program aimed to help adults regain or improve their health through exercise, and the other at Poudre High School, where he served as a strength conditioning coach for their football and baseball student athletes. Additionally, in his last semester, he served as an AmeriCorps Community Health Advocate with the City of Fort Collins where he assisted with their Wellness Program.
Thanks to all of these hands-on learning experiences, Eads developed an appreciation for heart health promotion and had the right skill set to join the UC Health team. Shortly after his graduation in 2010, Eads landed a job at UCHealth as a cardiovascular technician. As a cardiovascular technician, Eads was responsible for performing EKGs and monitoring patients on telemetry throughout the hospital. He also was a first responder for code blue, cardiac alert, stroke alert, and rapid response situations.
During his time with UCHealth, Eads’s work schedule allowed him to pursue other passions on his days off – one being beer. “While working at UCHealth, I maintained a passion for brewing so I started working part-time at breweries like Odell, New Belgium, and Fort Collins Brewery,” he explained.
While working part-time at in the field of brewing, Eads developed a taste for fermentation sciences. After five years at UCHealth, he decided to switch gears and pursue a new career path. Today, Eads is a quality assurance scientist at Noosa Yoghurt in Bellvue, Colorado, and he couldn’t be happier. He was even asked to star in a recent Noosa commercial.
Stay passionate, stay curious
Eads shared some advice for current students. “Don’t be afraid to explore. Go out and talk to new people. More importantly, go down different streets in Fort Collins. You never know who you will meet. And remember, it’s OK to check out different career paths. The important thing is to stay passionate and stay curious. A degree from Colorado State will give you the foundational tools you need to be successful in multiple areas,” he said.
Eads and his wife Jessica, who is a CSU alumna with degrees in psychology and business administration, are both very grateful for their time at Colorado State. Together, they are happily living in Fort Collins and remain very active members of the northern Colorado community.
They volunteer annually at the Children’s Water Festival, participate in a handful of local 5K races, and help the Downtown Fort Collins Business Association with parades or other community events.
The Department of Health and Exercise Science is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.