Tessa Mendoza plans on becoming a data scientist or sports analyst. In her free time, she enjoys coaching and playing volleyball, baking, attending game nights, and spending time with her friends.
Get to know Tessa
- Major: Kinesiology and health
- Class: Senior
- Hometown: Grimes, Iowa (Polk County)
- Career goal: Data scientist or sports analyst
- Clubs/activities: President’s Leadership Class, Neurophysiology Research Lab
- Awards/honors: Dean’s list, Winifred Tilden High Scholar Award, Barbara E. Forker Leadership Award, Richard O. Jacobson Legacy Scholar, George Washington Carver Scholar, James B. Morris Scholar
- Favorite place on campus: Central campus and Jack Trice Stadium
- Most influential ISU mentors: Associate Professor Elizabeth Stegemöller
- Favorite class: KIN 366, Exercise Psychology
- Why Iowa State: Grew up as an avid Iowa State fan
Tessa Mendoza combines love for kinesiology and data science, aids others through research
Tessa Mendoza grew up surrounded by many strong role models, including her mom, who is a personal trainer, and her dad, who coaches volleyball. Through them she learned important life lessons that encouraged her to pursue her two passions: kinesiology and data science.
To Tessa, being a helpful and guiding hand is of the uttermost importance.
“I have a strong passion for helping people become the best versions of themselves—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—in order to live their lives to the fullest,” Tessa said. “To help people in this way, it’s been important for me to understand all aspects of a person’s health.”
To further her understanding in the health and wellness field, Tessa started conducting research in the Neurophysiology Lab with Associate Professor Elizabeth Stegemöller during her sophomore year. There, she assisted with research centered around Parkinson’s disease and concussions.
Truly interested in gaining all of the experience she can, Tessa has completed multiple internships during her time at Iowa State University. She has worked as a patient care technician at MercyOne Hospital in Des Moines, a sports analytics intern at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and a financial technology programming intern.
Through these internships Tessa gained an abundance of experience, learned how to ask questions, and found the curiosity to seek out answers herself.
“During my sports analytics internship this summer, I got to work with a physician who was taking a team of medical professionals and applying new research about the coronavirus to sports, focusing on how to safely return athletes to competitions,” Tessa said. “I got to work with people who’re really advanced in their career and have done a lot of research.”
Currently in her final semester at Iowa State, Tessa is looking forward to applying all of the knowledge she has gained from her classes and internship experiences, and witnessing her hard work pay off.
“Although learning in the classroom setting is absolutely critical, nothing beats hands-on learning opportunities,” she said. “These experiences teach social and interpersonal skills, while also fostering a passion for the work itself.”
Tessa’s next step is to begin applying for jobs and gain more experience as she works toward her dream career of working as a data scientist or as a sports analyst.