Steph Hammerman

Cofounder of FitWell Organization

Age: 24

Hometown: Long Island, New York

What program are you in?

I am working on my master’s degree in college student affairs from the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Why did you choose NSU?

The master’s degree program I am enrolled in is small. We are able to communicate with professors and a small community of students. We are taught by the dean of the college and professionals who have been in the business for a long time. They have the experience, and they know what they’re talking about.

You were born three months premature and diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy (CP). Tell me a bit about the limitations you had growing up.

There were physical limitations, like moving a little slower from one place to the next. The way that I walk is a little bit different. But I went to a mainstream school and had great friends. My life as a child wasn’t very different. The only thing that was different was that I used crutches, and, as I got older, I started using a wheelchair to get around. I try to equally balance the walking and using the chair. The chair helps me live an independent lifestyle.

You became the first woman with cerebral palsy to pass the Cross Fit Level 1 trainer test. How did your time at NSU aid in this?

I’m the world’s first female with CP to be a Level 1 trainer. There was a man with CP who was certified before me. I work for CrossFit Conquest in Davie about 20 hours each week. Basically, I train athletes and help them achieve things in the fitness realm that they aspire to achieve. We’re there to support them and encourage them. We train people from all walks of life—football players, musicians, firefighters, police officers, and undergraduate and graduate students from NSU.

What is the best part about being a Shark?

A sense of community. You can find people who have similar interests as you and can support you. It has been nice to be able to have that support on campus.

What activities are you involved with at NSU?

I’m a cofounder of the FitWell Organization that stresses fitness and wellness on campus. We’re a student-run organization that wants to see people be healthier by teaching them through interactive, yet educational, experiences. Anyone on campus can come to our events and participate. I also am an instructor of an extreme fitness class offered at the RecPlex. It’s a high-intensity workout for anyone looking for a more intense regiment.

What are your career aspirations?

I want to work with a university’s recreation department where I’ll be able to assist in creating an inclusive environment and help people understand that fitness is for everyone. Down the road, I want to open my own fitness facility.

What would you tell students considering NSU?

I would tell them to follow their passions, and if they are really and truly interested in something—even if something doesn’t exist yet, like the fitness and wellness organization—you can make your experience work for you.

Read more student and faculty profiles in the Spring 2014 issue of Horizons Magazine.