Caleb Ross has always had a heart for the hearts of others.
This Cardiac Exercise Physiologist at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha uses exercise testing to help discover cardiovascular issues and help cardiac patients test and understand their limits.
Ross said that heart patients, particularly children, may not like exercise or are hesitant to push their heart. “A lot of them assume they are limited,” he said. “What we’re trying to show them is their capability. Their limit is probably further than what they think.”
This Maverick’s journey to helping young cardiac patients began in the gym as a personal trainer. After a few years of helping others reach their fitness goals, Ross decided to pursue a graduate degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) to take his work a step further. He moved to Omaha with a graduate degree from UNO on his mind.
“I knew UNO was where I wanted to go because I feel like UNO was tailored toward me,” he said. “It was close enough to my hometown, affordable, the size was very good. I like how big UNO was because I enjoy relationships; I like to meet people. The classes were a little smaller, so I thought that was really going to benefit me. I wasn’t just going to be a number and people cared about my success.”
That feeling of belonging and individual connection was reinforced as Ross received encouragement from Dustin Slivka, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Health and Kinesiology, to apply for a research assistant position within the exercise and physiology lab.
“I couldn’t pass that up. It kind of just fell into my lap,” Ross said.
A research position was the first of numerous opportunities that came his way during his time as a graduate student at UNO. He also had his work published in a scientific journal, presented research at national and state conferences, served as an instructor for an undergraduate course, and worked as one of the lead researchers on a funded study. “That’s applied exercise science,” Ross said. “I was able to apply it in research, teaching, and writing. That was a huge blessing for me and helped my resume stand out.”
In his current role at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, he continues to help UNO students find opportunities of their own. Through lasting connections with faculty members and internship coordinators, Ross’s lab at Children’s receives plenty of internship applicants from the exercise science program. This provides him with a chance to continue exploring his passion for teaching exercise science while providing invaluable experience for students. “It’s all hands-on, which is really nice for our interns. They run the tests, they interact with patients, and they look at the data where a lot of exercise science internships are more hands-off.”
It was all made possible by Ross’s heart for others and the opportunities he received through his educational journey in a graduate program at UNO.
“UNO is one of the best decisions I ever made,” he said. “I like to advocate for people going to UNO just because of the opportunities. The opportunities I got there, I don’t know if I would have gotten anywhere else.”
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Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.