Swimming from an early age, Vipa Bernhardt grew up with a passion for human performance. She grew up in Germany and perfected her swimming style which led to participating in such competitions as the German Olympic Trials and World Championships. During her senior year, Dr. Bernhardt was offered a scholarship from the University of Florida. She took this opportunity and combined her education with sport to further her education. Her fascination with physiology and exercise performance grew throughout her graduate work to the point that she integrated her neuroscience and physiology background with her love of athletics. Now, she shares her experiences with future health and human performance professionals through her professorship and teaching. Beyond teaching and researching, Dr. Bernhardt loves to crochet and play underwater hockey.
A Conversation with Dr. Bernhardt
Besides teaching in the classroom, how are you involved in helping students succeed?
I am the coordinator and faculty advisor of the B.S. Kinesiology & Sports Studies-Human Performance degree. I can answer questions related to the coursework and potential career paths after graduation (there are many!). I am also the director of the Human Performance Laboratory providing research experience to interested students. I regularly serve as a mentor for master's and honor's students completing a research thesis as well as McNair Scholars.
What has been your favorite course to teach?
Exercise Physiology, which is the study of how the body responds while we exercise and how it adapts with exercise training. We cover the main systems of the human body: respiratory, cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous system and study how they interconnect.
Tell us about an academic project you are working on or recently completed.
In conjunction with the Morris Recreation Center, we are working towards a healthier campus community by providing education on and opportunities for physical activity. We were honored by the American College of Sports Medicine with an “Exercise is Medicine” on-campus recognition.
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center, 2011-2014
- Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Florida, 2010
- B.S., Neurobiological Sciences, University of Florida, 2006
- B.A., Music, University of Florida, 2006
Honors and Awards
- Faculty Development Grant, TAMUC, 2015-19
- Phi Pi Delta “Lion Heart” Award, TAMUC, 2018
- Junior Faculty Research Award, TAMUC, 2017
- Global Fellow, TAMUC, 2015
- Exercise Physiology
- Shortness of breath during exercise
- Fitness and performance measurements
- American College of Sports Medicine
- American Physiological Society