Now in its second year, the Career Pathway Enhancement Initiative, which is funded by OTP, consists of two scholarships for graduate students at each of the seven Canadian Sport Institutes/Centres in Canada. The idea is to support and develop the next generation of sport scientists in Canada’s sport system through education and mentorship.
“We recognize that there is a need to develop more capacity in the area of sport science across the country,” says Rosie Neil, Director of Development and Strategic Programs at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary). “This OTP program helps us bring in young, motivated scientists who are passionate about high performance sport, and use the knowledge base of our experts to help them grow.”
At CSI Calgary, recipients of the scholarships are Andrew Smit and Nate Morris, both pursuing their Masters of Kinesiology degrees and receiving mentorship support from Scott Maw, Lead Sport Physiologist and Integrated Support (IST) Team Lead for long track speed skating, and Dr. Matt Jordan, Director of Sport Science, respectively.
Smit is focusing his work on the physiology discipline in the sport of long track speed skating, and will receive mentorship from Maw, as well as from Neil and CSI Calgary Director of Research and Innovation, Dr. Erik Groves.
“Learning from Scott's breadth of knowledge and experience is an amazing opportunity for me,” says Smit. “Specifically, I think that it will benefit me by learning the expectations of a physiologist as a part of an IST, how and what to examine when monitoring athletes in their daily training environment and the system of developing a YTP (yearly training program) for high performance athletes.”
“The mentorship from Matt has tremendous value for my development as a sports scientist and coach,” explains Morris. “Having a mentor with his level of experience and knowledge to constantly challenge my thought process and provide direct feedback on my work is a fantastic learning experience and is an opportunity that I don’t take for granted.”
Morris is thankful for the chance to work at CSI Calgary. “The OTP scholarship has provided me with this unique and synergistic opportunity of being able to conduct research and coach at a high-performance sport institute.” Smit agrees, saying that the scholarship has further cemented his desire to pursue a career in high performance sport.
Neil says these scholarships open the door to education and employment opportunities that haven’t existed before. “It’s very difficult for students to get into high performance sport, as there are limited jobs available.” This program helps those with a passion for high performance sport take that first step and get mentored by experts who have spent decades developing their skills and knowledge.
So far, Neil says that Smit and Morris are doing fantastically well in the program, which bodes well for the future of sport science in Canada, and for Canada’s best athletes. “We want to broaden the team and expand the capacity of our sport science program,” she says. “Ultimately this will help us develop not only new experts, but medal winning athletes too.”
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto