I Am CHHS: Steve Zinder

I-Am-CHHS-Zinder-560x373.jpgAssociate Professor and Athletic Training Program Coordinator Steve Zinder grew up in Arizona. He entered college as an astrophysics major at the University of Arizona. “After my first 300-level astronomy class, I realized I was more interested in the ‘gee whiz’ aspect of astronomy,” he says with a laugh. After playing racquetball in the rec center one afternoon, Zinder noticed an old athletic training student meeting flyer on the wall. He made his way to the athletic training room and found dozens of people in the middle of football practice preparation. Susan Hillman, the director of the Athletic Treatment Center in the athletic department, greeted him and Zinder told her he was interested in athletic training. He ultimately changed his major to exercise and sport sciences, then stayed at the University of Arizona for his graduate degree in athletic training. Zinder worked clinically in the field for 10 years, then completed his doctoral degree at the University of Virginia in 2002.

Throughout his career, Zinder has volunteered in his field at the state, regional and national levels. “Volunteerism in athletic training is just what you did. You rolled up your sleeves and got involved,” he says. After 25 years of service and being honored with the prestigious Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Zinder stepped back to give the next generation of athletic trainers the opportunity to volunteer.

After moving to Tampa, Florida to join the faculty at the University of South Florida, Zinder found a sense of place and home in his Seminole Heights neighborhood. He joined the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association and was elected its president in October 2017. Days later, as incoming president, Zinder found himself helping his neighbors, along with the police chief and mayor, navigate four murders in the tight knit community. From organizing watches and speaking to the press, to organizing fundraisers for the victims’ families, Zinder says the experience solidified his interest in civic involvement. “I realized citizens can make changes and we have a voice,” he says.

Zinder moved to Wilmington in August 2018 to join the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences faculty. Here, his community service continues. Zinder now serves on the board of directors of the Terry Benjey Bicycling Foundation and was appointed vice-chair of the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO)'s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee in December 2021. As an avid cyclist, Zinder is enjoying learning more about local government, rules and regulations, advocacy and safety. “I realize now that I am still deeply involved in service, but it has transitioned from professional to civic service”, he says. And he appreciates that that shift keeps him involved in public health, outreach and interprofessional collaboration.