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Howling Success

Howling Success: Gillian Torr Helps Keep the Pack Moving

The Division of Academic and Student Affairs’ newest Howling Success award recipient has played a key role in keeping the Pack active and safe at the new Wellness and Recreation Center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masked student Gillian Torr in the gym of the new Wellness and Recreation Center Play Video

When Gillian Torr (applied nutrition ’21) started working for NC State Wellness and Recreation almost four years ago, she never thought her part time campus job would convince her to change her major and help shape the trajectory of her career — but that’s exactly what happened.

“I originally came to NC State as an animal science major, but working here opened my eyes to where my passions actually lie and showed me the things I really wanted to continue doing long past my time in college,” Torr said. “It’s been so much more than I ever expected. When people get a college job, lots of times they just think of it as a good way to make some money and make some friends, but it really did help me develop my future career goals and aspirations.”

Now a senior majoring in applied nutrition, Torr has worn several hats during her time with Wellness and Recreation. She started by supervising the floor spaces as a fitness assistant, and since then has become a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and F45 coach. She is currently a program assistant and oversees Wellness and Recreation’s entire personal training staff of about 30 personal trainers.

Gillian Torr checks in with one of her colleagues at the Wellness and Recreation Center

Torr has shown exceptional leadership and adaptability in her role, especially in the last year. When most of the student population left campus last fall due to COVID-19, Torr continued her work with Wellness and Recreation and even took the lead on many of its projects and initiatives. She helped facilitate virtual fitness courses and helped shift the popular “Exercise is Medicine” course to an online format for referred students with chronic conditions who were uncomfortable returning to the gym in person. Additionally, she assisted Wellness and Recreation staff with COVID-19 safety training sessions and led multiple presentations to keep gym-goers safe in the new Wellness and Recreation Center. She also helped build many of the “fitness pods” around the treadmills, ellipticals and other equipment.

Gillian Torr helped build many of the “fitness pods” around equipment in the Wellness and Recreation Center to keep students and gym members safe as they work out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Gillian is one of the most dedicated, coachable and hard-working individuals I have had the privilege of supervising,” said Naomi Matley, fitness coordinator. “As the fitness program assistant for personal training, she has helped grow our fitness programs at NC State Wellness and Recreation, even in the midst of a pandemic. I am excited to see her continue to grow, and I am so proud of this young woman.”

All of these experiences have prepared Torr well for her next step after graduation this spring. She plans to attend graduate school at the University of Kentucky, where she will pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology and exercise physiology. She will also work as a graduate assistant overseeing the university’s entire personal training department. 

Gillian Torr helps a student with their technique during a fitness class

“Wellness and Recreation has probably had the biggest impact on my future career goals, and it’s given me a lot of skills that I can bring with me to Kentucky,” Torr said. “My mentors here have been nothing but supportive of everything that I want to do later on in my career. My time working here has really shown me where my passions lie, and it’s brought me to sort of where I want to go career-wise. I’m hoping to stay in health and fitness for many years to come and continue to help people strive to be the best versions of themselves and continue to live a healthy lifestyle.”

Outside of Wellness and Recreation, Torr is involved in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association and even had the opportunity to speak at the organization’s student-led conference. Last summer and fall, she was a sports performance intern at Athletic Lab, a research and performance training center, where she learned from a wide variety of mentors about their experiences in sports performance research.

Most of all, Torr treasures her experiences as a member of the Wolfpack, and being named a Howling Success has further affirmed the value of her work for Wellness and Recreation and the university.

“It’s definitely a great honor and it’s something that I didn’t expect, but it’s great to do all this hard work and be recognized and know that the work that I’m doing is making an impact on other people,” Torr said. “My job has created so many career opportunities for me, and it’s one of the most rewarding things that I have done in my life, so it continues to motivate me to spend my next few months here continuing to strive to motivate others and kind of leave my mark on NC State.”