Skip top navigation Skip to main content

Discover Lasell

Visions for the Future: Students Explore Pathways to Becoming ‘Change Makers’

January 09, 2023

Changemakers panelists on Zoom
Industry night panelists | Top L to R: Professor Tim Hanway; graduate student Alahna Mild '22 G'23; Lenna Salbashian, licensed mental health counselor and art therapist and CEO of Creatful. Bottom L to R: Kaleena Ladeairous, head coach and owner, Just Fitness CrossFit; Daryl Nelson, director of organizational development, New England Patriots; Sandra Ciavarella, executive well being coach and consultant; and Nate Robitaille, professional football player.

The School of Health Sciences hosted its fifth annual Exercise Science Industry Night in December, “Change Makers: Shaping Lives and Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion Through Health, Human Performance, and Creative Expression.” The virtual conference invited current Lasell University juniors and seniors studying exercise science to “come as you plan to be” — that is, to attend as their future selves, envisioning where they might be in 10 years and selling that narrative as a means of networking with current industry professionals.

More than 170 attendees attended the keynote panel featuring Daryl Nelson, director of organizational development for the New England Patriots; Kaleena Ladeairous, head coach and owner, Just Fitness CrossFit; Sandra Ciavarella, executive well being coach and consultant; Lenna Salbashian, a licensed mental health counselor and art therapist and CEO of Creatful; and Nate Robitaille, professional football player. Lasell University Adjunct Professor Tim Hanway and graduate student Alahna Mild ’22 G’23 moderated the event. 

“Industry nights help our students enter the workplace well skilled, knowledgeable, and ready to help the future well-being of others,” said Cris Haverty, dean of Lasell’s School of Health Sciences. The goal of the evening, according to Hanway, was to explore the holistic landscape of human betterment beyond just fitness or exercise science and gain “insight into the power of human movement, innovation, and creative expression to change lives.”

Robitaille, who plays for the Rhein Fire in the European League of Football, described being a professional athlete as a balance of “competitive drive, joy, and playfulness.” Nelson, who recently transitioned from an athletic trainer position with the Patriots to his current role, described the ways he has incorporated art and other creative outlets into his programming to help players and coaches thrive.

“My job is rooted in elevating the team as they grow and develop, but also helping them find their delight,” he said. “The idea is to unlock potential and creativity,” he added, noting that helping team members express themselves, connect with mental health coaches, and find their strengths helps them do their jobs at the highest level. 

Hanway asked the panelists to speak on the impact of community and culture in health and human performance fields. Ciavarella emphasized that coaching, whether for fitness, careers, or other areas, is about “maximizing someone’s potential and helping them navigate challenges.” To that end, Laddeairous encouraged attendees to always read their clients “as a person, not just a prescription,” looking at sessions beyond specific goals such as rep counts and thinking more broadly about what they need to achieve success. “We are here to help people be better in some way, shape, or form,” she said.

Exercise science major Katrina Abouzeid ’24 was grateful for the opportunity to learn from the panelists.

“The course leading up to the event and then the panel itself gave me a better understanding of what I hope to do in the future,” she says, noting that the panelists instilled in her the idea that great relationships with clients in the field leads to great success.