Emily Hodges’ life has always revolved around sport and exercise.
She gave everything a go at a young age, her pursuits including netball, volleyball, swimming, athletics, harriers and gymnastics. Then at the age of 10, she discovered her passion – surf lifesaving.
Her dedication earned her a place in the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Development Squad at the age of 14 and selection in the national team that contested the 2012 World Championships in Adelaide.
Emily no longer competes at international level, but her love of sport continues. The Otago Polytechnic student is about to complete a Post Graduate Diploma of Applied Science (Strength and Conditioning).
“I still love being in that competitive environment. I think that is what drew me to pursuing a career in Strength and Conditioning, because I am able to help others and watch their growth.
“I have always been described as a people person. That is the first thing people typically use to describe me. ‘Bubbly’ is a word I heard all through my schooling.
“I think a strength of mine is that I am able to develop respectful, positive and trusting relationships with the staff and athletes I work with.”
As part of her studies, Emily did a placement with the Otago University Rugby Football Club’s premier team, which she describes as one of the highlights of the year.
“I got to meet and work alongside some pretty amazing people.”
Emily’s studies have also taken her overseas this year – firstly to Tonga, where she worked within the Tonga Rugby Union, then to Shanghai, courtesy of a Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Asia.
Accompanied by three other Otago Polytechnic Post Graduate Diploma of Applied Science students, Emily spent six weeks at Shanghai Institute of Technology, where she was involved in an American Football physical conditioning project.
‘In terms of personal growth, this year has been massive for me. I have consistently pushed myself out of my comfort zone and it has been the best thing I could have done.”
Having completed a Bachelor of Physical Education degree at Otago University in 2017, Emily plans to complete a Masters in Physical Conditioning at Otago Polytechnic next year.
In the meantime, she is applying for internships at High Performance Sport New Zealand in 2019 and is exploring another placement with the Tonga Rugby Union.
“Other than that, I hope to keep gaining experience in the field of Strength and Conditioning, pursuing what I love.
Emily has nothing but praise for Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health.
“Having been here for nearly a year now, I can’t think of a more facilitating, positive and progressive place. The practical and learning opportunities available to not only myself but the other students have been unbelievable.
“It is truly an awesome place to study.”