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My name is Alejandra Plascencia, and I am a recent Waukee graduate. During my high school experience, I was enrolled in Waukee APEX’s Exploration of Exercise and Sports Science course. I first heard of the APEX program back when my sister was a senior in 2016. She was enrolled as a student associate in the finance sector. After hearing about her experiences and opportunities, I was filled with excitement about what it could do for me.

I decided to take the Sports Science course during my senior year, as I knew I wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy. From the start, I noticed that APEX differed from what I initially expected, but in a good way. I soon realized that I would be exposed to opportunities that not many others my age would have the privilege of taking part in.

Through this course, I had the opportunity to job shadow various physical therapists and personal trainers. These job shadows helped me get a glimpse of what a day for them looks like. I especially took advantage of the physical therapist job shadows because I had a huge interest in studying something like that at Iowa State. I am extremely thankful for that opportunity because it helped me realize that in reality, I do not want to pursue a career in the physical therapy realm. This was very difficult to accept mainly because for as long as I can remember I always dreamed of being a physical therapist.

Another thing I really enjoyed about APEX was the project work and getting a feel for what the real world entails. A big part of entering the real world comes with discipline, deadlines, and accepting feedback. Through this course, I was assigned to lead two projects. Both projects required a lot of organization and responsibility in order to meet deadlines. They both helped me in different aspects, for example, one of the projects I led was a field day for people with all types of disabilities. This was challenging because I had to think critically, problem-solving as I went. I used my creativity to further and better the outcome for the client.

In my other project I led, I worked with Ryan Esdohr from Superhuman Labs. With him, I worked on finding what he needed to improve in terms of marketing. In turn, we created a lot of content on sports rehabilitation and gave him a lot of advice on how to better his social media marketing strategies. We quickly saw results as his videos got thousands of views, and he got more clients. What was very rewarding to see was that Ryan got published on an account with twenty-eight thousand followers. This alone opened a big door for more people following and wanting his services. The experience I gained from this project would not have been possible if it weren’t for the APEX program.

Every opportunity that APEX has offered has brought so many benefits, and I will forever be grateful for it. It offers such a unique experience that many other schools do not have. It has truly prepared me for what the future entails!