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2023-24 President's Medallion Recipient

Daniel Gans

Every year, the President’s Medallion honors one student from each college, school, and institute who excels in leadership, scholarship, and service. The recipients exemplify the true meaning of being a Loyola student by empowering their community with integrity. This year's recipient from the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health is Daniel Gans, a graduate student in Exercise Science.

Hometown: Winchester, Massachusetts
Major: MS, Exercise Science
Expected Graduation Date: May 2024

1. What is your program and why did you choose it? 

I’m in the Master of Exercise Science program. My road to Loyola began studying Kinesiology and Pre-Medical studies at Miami University in Ohio. Although I had some uncertainty about the next step in my academic journey, I found what felt like a rich opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute in the classroom, lab, and community at Loyola. Once here, I found a tight community where everyone knows each other, and students work closely together and with faculty throughout their time in the program.

2. What community service or extracurricular activities are you involved in? What have those experiences meant to you? 

Under Professor Tyler, I’ve had the privilege to serve as a fitness instructor for two community-based organizations. As a volunteer at Chicago Lights, the nonprofit at Fourth Presbyterian Church, I had the opportunity to lead a weekly 30-minute exercise class. My students consisted of under-resourced elementary and middle school aged youth hailing from Chicago’s Near North, West, and South Side neighborhoods. Alongside Dr. Tyler, I also volunteered at the Hollywood House Senior Living Center. My service role there involved collaborating with undergraduates from the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing implementing fall risk and prevention strategies for the senior residents residing in the facility. I presented the findings from helping these vulnerable seniors in preventing life altering falls at the Parkinson School’s Evening of Excellence in May.

3. What is the most important/valuable lesson you’ve learned from your time at Loyola and in Parkinson? 

What you put into things is what you get out of them. I’ve learned you need to apply yourself to what you’re doing and the importance of taking initiative.

4. What does Loyola’s Jesuit mission mean to you? How has it influenced your experience as a student? 

It means caring for the whole person, which includes exercise and physical activity.

5. What are you planning to do with your degree? How has Loyola prepared you for your future goals? 

I want to work in cardiac rehab. The connections I’ve made and experience I’ve gained at Loyola have given me the confidence to feel prepared and helped me mature as a person.

6. What experiential learning and research opportunities have you been involved in as a student?

For the past year I have served weekly in the Alfie Exercise Science Lab alongside Professor Deldin, assisting the men’s and women’s varsity volleyball teams by providing countermovement vertical jump testing. I was also able to conduct research under Professor Mackey, investigating the efficacy of post-activation potentiation implementation on improving power and velocity outputs during back squats. I presented our findings at the Loyola Graduate Interdisciplinary Research Symposium in April and the 2023 National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) National Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

7. Have you received any scholarship support? If yes, what has that support meant to you and your family?

Yes, I received the presidential scholarship. It inspires me to work harder knowing Loyola has invested in me. I also have two younger siblings and want to consider those that have helped me get here. 

8. What has been the best or most memorable part of your Loyola experience?

Being on the rugby team and solidifying a spot on the active roster and eventually earning a starting role on the squad. For the first time in Loyola history, we were crowned Midwest Regional Champions and competed in the National Semifinals in Houston, TX. It meant a lot to me that my teammates and coaches recognized my hard work and dedication and trusted me to start in the most important game in program history. We’re looking to repeat this year.