It’s senior week, and we are highlighting some of the members of the Class of 2022 as part of our #HumansOfLongwood series. Wherever life after Longwood takes them—a new job, graduate studies or an internship—these students reflect the goals and achievements made possible in a close-knit community that promotes student involvement, values inclusion and nurtures citizen leadership in whatever form it takes.

Noel Preece ’22
HOMETOWN: Buchanan, Virginia
MAJOR: kinesiology; minor in coaching
WHAT'S NEXT: pursuing a master’s degree in health and movement sciences with a concentration in exercise science at Virginia Commonwealth University while working as a PT aide at Richmond Physical Therapy

In four years, I feel like I have found a true home at Longwood, from being a member of the Cormier Honors College to being a part of the athletics family to my involvement in the general campus community. I served as captain of the cross country team through my sophomore year, then I had to step down due to an injury. I now serve as a volunteer assistant coach for the team. I’ve also served as the president of the Association for Medical and Professional Kinesiology (AMPK), a fledgling organization focused on improving educational and learning opportunities for KINS majors.

The hands-on learning and research experiences while at Longwood were a really important part of my growth and transformation. I took part in the PRISM summer research program in 2021 and helped with a pilot study on repeated sprint fatigue in athletes from various training backgrounds. I am currently performing research on the effects of self-selected music vs. no music on anaerobic sprint performance in the Wingate cycling test. Last summer I completed an eight-week remote internship with Dr. Sanat at the King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Center in Pune, India. I helped develop individualized exercise-as-treatment plans for patients with fibromyalgia. Working face-to-face with patients—through a computer screen, of course—was my favorite part of the process. It was inspiring to see their exercise progress from week to week.

Another transformational experience I had was being a photographer for two iterations of the Storytellers project. Jointly published by Longwood and the Moton Museum, these publications tell the stories of individuals who were affected by the Prince Edward County school closings in the 1950s and 1960s. As a white man who grew up in rural Virginia and had little knowledge of Prince Edward’s civil rights history, I found working on the publications to be a massive eye-opening experience.

From the moment that I moved to Farmville, I thought it would be a cool experience to run the entirety of High Bridge Trail. Until recently, this was not a serious goal. I usually run shorter distances, and, well, 31.5 miles is a long way! However, this past year I trained for and ran my first two 50K (31-mile) events. Shortly after these, one of my KINS classmates asked if I would like to join him in running High Bridge Trail from west to east for his 21st birthday. I happily obliged. On the morning of the run, the weather was good, the pace felt comfortable and, before we knew it, 4 hours, 43 minutes and 20 seconds had passed, and we were standing at the opposite end of the trail. It was a pleasantly surprising fastest-known time.

In my four years here, I have transformed from an overworried kid who had no idea what he wanted to do into a confident adult with plans and purpose. I will be working as a PT aide at Richmond Physical Therapy while completing my master’s in health and movement sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University. I am confident that I am prepared and can smoothly transition to graduate school.

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