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Lessons Beyond Class

Professor Misti Neutzling’s devotion to students recognized with state award

Since arriving at Bridgewater State University, Professor Dr. Misti Neutzling has made it her mission to support students beyond the classroom. 

“I really love helping students beyond the (academic) content,” she said. “It boils down to the fact that I deeply, genuinely care about the presence of each student and their future. I get in early and leave late so I can help them. I love that part. It makes me excited to drive to campus each day.”

Neutzling’s above-and-beyond attitude was recently recognized when she was selected as the Massachusetts Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Honor (MAHPERD)Award recipient. The Honor Award is given to someone who has made significant strides in the association’s areas of focus. 

Dr. Karen Richardson, professor and chairperson of the College of Education and Health Sciences, will accompany and introduce Neutzling at the annual MAHPERD awards banquet on April 28. As a colleague of the honoree, Richardson said the recognition is deserved. 

“Misti is caring, she has high expectations for herself and her students,” Richardson said. “She has dedicated her time to helping students learn within our program and has established herself as a leader at BSU and in our health kinesiology department.”

Originally from Florida, Neutzling played volleyball at Florida Southern College where she earned her undergraduate degree. She also holds a PhD from the University of Northern Colorado. 

She started her career in education as a high school teacher and coach before transitioning to higher education. 

In every role, her goal has been the same, to help her students reach their full potential. 

“One thing I really dedicate a lot of my time to and attention to, is to be thoughtful and try to understand who my learners are,” she said. 

For example, Neutzling said this generation is very tech savvy. They want information expedited and expect answers to be delivered immediately.

“Sometimes I lean on them to better understand certain things, to get to know them in a way so I can create experiences for them that maximize their strengths,” she said. 

Relationship building is also key when it comes to better understanding her students. 

“I truly work to get to know each student on a level beyond their name, to develop meaningful relationships with them,” she said. “Students appreciate that. They are more excited to come to class when you care about them.”

To be acknowledged for her work has been humbling and to receive the MAHPERD award serves as motivation. 

“We don’t do our jobs to receive praise, but it does feel good. It encourages and inspires me to work even harder and do more,” Neutzling said. 

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