Unusual majors at Asbury: Ben Okenge on exercise science Leave a comment

We are all familiar with the popular majors to study at Asbury (if media communication doesn’t immediately come to mind, have you been living under a rock?). What we’re not necessarily as familiar with is the wide range of majors that are available to study at Asbury, especially those in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Ready to meet a fellow Asburian and frequent visitor of Hamann-Ray? Keep reading. 

Senior Ben Okenge is a man of many talents. He is an exercise science major with a concentration in kinesiology, but he also plays basketball for the Eagles, and, in the 2019-2020 season, was given a River States Conference Scholar-Athlete award. He is a dual citizen of Canada and Rwanda, has lived in several other countries, including Uganda, and traveled for a good portion of his childhood. His passion is exercise science: even in high school, he knew that eventually he wanted to become a physical therapist.

“I’ve known for a long time that I want to do PT, so in high school as I was looking into what it takes to become a PT, I learned there’s a lot of different courses and ways that you could get there as far as your undergrad goes,” said Okenge. “I wasn’t as interested in the biology route or any others. The kinesiology route seemed to make the most sense to me as that’s learning about the body.”

For someone who’s experienced life in many different areas of the world, why was Asbury’s corner of the world Okenge’s choice for his college experience? It turns out, it’s where he felt that he needed to be. 

“The school I went to for my junior and senior years of high school — the principal and her family all went to Asbury, so when I was trying to get recruited to play basketball somewhere, I was put in touch with Coach [Will] Shouse and that’s when I began looking at Asbury. It really seemed clear the way things fell into place for me that this is where God wanted me to be. It was the most natural choice.”

Okenge intends to take a gap year after receiving his undergraduate degree. From there, he’ll go to graduate school for physical therapy.

“I don’t know where yet,” he said. “That’s a big part of where I want to take a year off, explore some more, and think about where I want to be. I plan on doing a dual degree: a DPT, a clinical doctorate for physical therapy, but I also want to pursue a Ph.D. in physical therapy as well. There are a few programs that would allow me to do that, so it’s just picking where.”

Okenge is adamant that Asbury was the best choice to study exercise science for him. It allowed him to explore the different areas of the major without having to choose from as many classes as other colleges, as well as learn in smaller classroom environments. 

“A huge part of why I came to Asbury is because of the small class sizes. I came once and visited my senior year and I could immediately tell that my engagement with professors would be much stronger than anyone else. I’ve really taken advantage of that,” said Okenge. “My advisor, Dr. Sutlive, has been super helpful to me and has really helped me navigate since freshman year what my college journey would look like.” 

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