Q&A: Dr. Melissa Maskery, Assistant Athletic Director/Athletic Trainer

dr. melissa maskeryActions is a new editorial feature from Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child. Each week we will spotlight the dedicated faculty and staff across the PK-12 campus who make a difference in the lives of OKS students and the life of the school. This week, we feature:

Dr. Melissa Maskery

Assistant Athletic Director and Athletic Trainer

Q: Since the Governor of New Jersey recently pushed back winter sports into January, how can student-athletes stay engaged in their sport?
A: It can be extremely challenging to stay engaged when your season has been postponed. However, student-athletes can really make the most of this time to do some different team bonding that they may not otherwise have time for. Using this period to find a service opportunity to do as a team can not only be a great bonding activity, it would also be extremely helpful to the community. Another way that teams can stay connected is but utilizing zoom meetings that captains can run and do different ice breakers with the underclassmen so that by the time the team has their first day of practice there will be a comradery amongst the team that may not normally be there at the start of the season!

Q: With winter here, many families and students are feeling the burden of COVID fatigue. What recommendations do you have for families to stay active?
A: With the winter months come shorter, colder days and adding a global pandemic to the mix can be very taxing on us all. Some things that my family and I have been doing to stay active are as simple as having step challenges. My mom and my sister and I all live apart, but at the end of the week we total our steps up and see who won that week! This winter is also a time to take advantage to try something new. Always wanted to try yoga? YouTube has some great videos that you can do from your home. Always wanted to try a Zumba class but maybe you were a little nervous of dancing in front of people? Again, search on YouTube, find one with a playlist you like, and try it! Last spring I sent out workouts of the day every day while in quarantine and I sent out a dance workout and it was probably one of my favorite ones I did (even though I was horrible at it!)

Q: Oak Knoll emphasizes the importance of health and wellness year-round. In fact, next week the school plans to hold a virtual panel discussion about eating disorders. What do you hope students and families take away from this presentation?
A: I’m very excited about the panel we have coming up on Monday. I think we have really great experts on the topic who are extremely knowledgeable and will be great resources for both our students and families on navigating such a sensitive topic. My biggest hope is that our students and families learn just one thing that could help someone who may be struggling. I also hope that this panel starts a greater discussion in our community about healthy habits, both mental and physical, and leads to more open dialogue about challenging topics.

Q: When it comes to health and wellness, what are some of the main things you are seeing high school students doing these days that might be sabotaging their well-being and how can parents help?
A: I know that I’m not the only one who thinks that social media is amazing in some ways, and extremely harmful in other ways. I think it opens up so many wonderful resources to our students, but I also see a lot of people taking health and wellness advice from unqualified people because of it. My biggest suggestion would be to take a look at who you are getting your health and nutrition advice from, and if they aren’t medical professionals, I would think twice before following their advice. Health and wellness is such a personalized journey that it is hard to compare yourself to what someone else is doing. What works for one person, may not work for you, and that’s OK! We are all made to be different, to look different, so before you take advice from someone one social media, really check their credentials and make sure that it is the right move for you.

Q: If someone wants to learn more about health, wellness and mindfulness, what resources would you recommend?
A: I think within our community, for the Upper School, Mimi Hartnett, our PE Department Chair, is a great resource for all things wellness and mindfulness. Other resources I love have been “The Hidden Opponent.” They have a YouYube channel, an Instagram Page, and a webpage with some really great resources. We also have a Mental Health Club on campus that has done some really great programing in the past and I know they are working on ways to continue to do things while also trying to navigate our new normal at school. Another thing I would recommend is simply trying to start journaling or meditating. Google a couple journal prompts and try to write about your day a couple times a week. It doesn’t have to be long – just start and see where that leads you. If writing isn’t your thing, there are so many different meditations you can follow with a simple Google search, or different apps. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything long – give yourself 5 minutes to try it out! And as always, my door is open to be a resource as well.

Dr. Melissa Maskery joined the Oak Knoll community during the 2018-19 school year. She received a bachelor’s degree in athletic training with a minor in strength and condition from the University of Delaware. She later earned a master’s in kinesiology with a concentration in athletic training from Temple University. Maskery also earned an educational doctorate in leadership from Creighton University. She previously served as an assistant athletic trainer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, where she worked with the school’s Division I women’s volleyball and men’s lacrosse teams. At Oak Knoll, Maskery handles all day-to-day trainer duties, as well as student health and wellness initiatives.

Ruby Robertson Knox Photo