Scholar Profile: Building and Supporting Healthy Communities

Author: Sarah Kubinski

“Today, after our warm up, I’ve got a pyramid for you guys: three sets of the first group, two sets in the second group and then one for the last exercises. I’m going to put the sequences in the chat, in case you get ahead of me. And remember to ask for modifications if you need them. You got this!” Groans and smiles came from the grid of faces on the screen. It was Tuesday evening and time for Get Fit with La, a three-times weekly HIIT/cardio blast workout session run by sophomore Carlondrea (Lala) Petty. Staff, scholars/alums, family and friends were logged in and ready to get fit. Program Manager, Amanda Hammond approached Lala in the Spring to start workouts and mental wellness breaks to connect with students who were wound tightly from trying to do Notre Dame’s rigorous curriculum from their bedrooms. Greatly surpassing the original idea of quick drop-in workouts, Lala created an amazing community of friends getting mentally and physically stronger and more confident in what their bodies could do. 

Rising to a challenge and surpassing goals is second nature to Lala. A nationally-ranked competitive runner in high school, Lala stood out in our applicant pool for her inclusive leadership as Student Body President at local Marian High School. Her resilience jumped out at the search committee when her call had the inevitable technical difficulties that come from a call with many listeners and lines. Being Lala, rather than crumble, she rallied and managed to put everyone at ease with humor and her self-possession. Her positivity is infectious and her joy at connecting with people is tangible. The committee left the call and knew she needed to be a part of the 2023 Cohort. 

Lala is a leader who seeks to unite people through appreciation of differences and similarities. While at Marian, she celebrated different cultures and heritages each month with foods and traditions. She wanted everyone to feel valued. She has carried this importance of value, advocacy and education into her years at Notre Dame, appearing on multiple panels and taking part in initiatives meant to show all of the faces of Notre Dame. Voices matter and Lala uses her voice to lift up others.

Her professional aspirations echo this sentiment. Lala plans to be a physical therapist and is combining her theoretical knowledge with work as a personal trainer. She started Get Fit with La with the express purpose of creating a community for people of ages and abilities who were united in their desire to support each other on their fitness journeys. This summer, when she wasn’t challenging us in workouts, volunteering at a local community garden, and serving as a virtual camp counselor at AnBryce’s Camp Dogwood, she was hard at work getting her Physical Therapy Certificate. Her plate is constantly full, but her eye is always looking for those who need support on campus and off. She wants to share the things she learned with as many people as she can. When it comes to Lala, never doubt it: she's got this.