Michelle Kurtyka holds a ball in a classroom in the gymnasium

Michelle Kurtyka: On the Ball

Michelle Kurtyka enjoys teaching fitness and a healthy lifestyle

Michelle Kurtyka, assistant to the director of academic affairs and lecturer in kinesiology, doesn’t just get to work with students in an administrative setting.

She also gets to teach them how to live more fulfilling lives.

“I have the best job on campus because I get to do both,” she said. “I would be disappointed if I didn’t get to teach students.”

Kurtyka has taught kinesiology classes such as yoga, fitness theory and practice, first aid and personal safety, strength training, and stress management at Penn State Beaver since 2005. She now typically teaches two kinesiology classes a semester in addition to her duties in the Office of Academic Affairs.

“I like what I teach. It’s interesting how exercise benefits the body,” she said.

She said her favorite class is fitness theory because it’s the basic information needed for living a healthy lifestyle that will be most beneficial to the students.

In 2003 Kurtyka got her start in teaching at Beaver by helping out with “Wizardry Camp," a summer youth camp based on the Harry Potter books and offered through the campus' Office of Continuing Education. Fourteen years later, she creates the schedules for the week and is head of the Slytherin House.

By creating the schedule, she is “making sure all the students get to experience all aspects of Harry Potter equally and have fun learning and doing it.”

She enjoys working with the other “Wizardry Camp” instructors to make it more fun and more exciting than the previous year.

“Kids ages 8 to 15 participate in crafts, science experiments, writing exercises, and, of course, quidditch,” Kurtyka said. “That's where I come in.”

Quidditch, a competitive sport played by the fictional character Harry Potter, is a mix of dodgeball, rugby, and tag. As the Quidditch Coach, Kurtyka said she helps the campers have magical fun without the horror of falling off of a flying broomstick.

When she’s not on campus, Kurtyka enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. They love vacationing in historic locations as well as activities such as skiing, fishing, biking, going to movies, and playing board games and video games.



Master of Education in Curriculum, Penn State University

Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health, Slippery Rock University