The Office of the Vice President for Student Life and the Office of the Provost has awarded the Kelly S. Bender Choose Award to our own Department of Recreational Services student staff member and personal trainer, Elena Volfson. This award recognizes students that carry on the legacy of Kelly by choosing a path that is right for the student, setting priorities, taking risks that explore their goals, and taking their choices seriously. Ms. Elena Volfson is an exceptional and well-deserving student on our staff that embodies the spirit of this award.
Elena Volfson is a dynamic leader on our team and has done an exceptional job as a student employee. As a freshman, it was clear that Elena had very high expectations of herself and was married to her goal of becoming a doctor. In her role as a personal trainer, she has inspired many students, faculty/staff, and members from the University of Iowa community to be their best selves, coaching them toward achieving their goals and helping them understand the best approach to health and wellness. It is obvious with the work that she does as a Personal Trainer on campus that Elena is dedicated to improving the lives of others. She has also worked hard in her role as a personal training lead to be certain that all people are comfortable, included and treated equally when they walk into our facilities and become our clients.
Since the first day Elena stepped on the University of Iowa college campus, she has sought out opportunities for learning, self-development, and growth. Elena arrived with the goal of gaining admittance into medical school after graduation and each step along her four-year college career here has brought her to achieve that dream. As a student, Elena has worked or volunteer for several areas across campus to assist others in being successful in and outside the classroom. Elena worked with the Academic Support and Retention as a discussion facilitator, accepted the role as a Teaching Assistant with the Department of Chemistry to help build weekly lessons plans that would tailor learning opportunities for students with all different learning styles, and had the experience working as a research assistant with the Department of Internal Medicine. These opportunities clearly show her dedication to gaining experience for her career of choice.
Elena has pre-professional experience that is impressive. Along with being a personal trainer and team lead, she has completed over 30 hours of shadowing in the field of medicine at multiple medical clinics, she has trained and scheduled clinical research participants for The Community Outreach Lab, she is the Vice President of a University of Iowa Honor Fraternity, she is a family planning advocate for The Emma Goldman Clinic, she served as a member on the Recreational Services student leadership committee and has served as the service chair of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. It is obvious that this young woman chose to be a phenomenal University of Iowa student (and soon alumni!) and clear that she was the right choice for the Tom Rocklin Meet the Challenge Award-Kelly S. Bender Choose Award. She is an inspiring young woman, and we are confident that many people in the future will reap the benefits by one day being in the care of future Dr. Elena Volfson.