Student Follows Siblings to UM for Double Major

Cesar Hidalgo shares big goals for combining disciplines into one career

Cesar Hidalgo (left), a junior from Meridian, meets with adviser Susan Tyler to go over his degree plan in exercise science and dietetics and nutrition. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss – A trip to the chiropractor and a passion to help his mother open her own restaurant prompted Cesar Hidalgo, a University of Mississippi junior from Meridian, to pursue a double major in exercise science and dietetics and nutrition.

“I went to the chiropractor, and that got my attention,” Hidalgo said. “I thought to myself, ‘This is actually pretty interesting.'”

After reflection on his chiropractor visit, he realized how much kinesiology, or exercise science, is involved with chiropractic work. He shared his interest in kinesiology with his family, and his sister, Carolina, a senior biology major at UM, told him about the exercise science program in the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management.

Exercise science is the study of human movement performed to maintain or improve physical fitness and improve health outcomes. An average of three to five students a year go into chiropractic training from the program.

Besides staying busy with his coursework, he is heavily involved in the School of Applied Sciences Ambassador program, where students represent the school at campus visit events and orientation.

“Cesar is so involved in the ambassador program,” said Kelley Jenkins, assistant to the dean in the School of Applied Sciences. “If we have an event, he is always the first one to volunteer and does an excellent job. Cesar is fantastic.”

Susan Tyler, coordinator of advising, recruitment and retention, echoed Jenkins’s praise for Hidalgo.

“From the first time I met Cesar, it was obvious how dedicated he is to his family and his studies because they are so important to him,” Tyler said. “He is everything you look for in a student from the School of Applied Sciences.”

Hidalgo plans to put both majors to use in one profession after graduation. He wants to use his knowledge in exercise science to open his own chiropractic practice, and he also has a goal of becoming a registered dietitian so he can offer nutrition advice to patients who seek consultation.

Dietitians translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living.

Beyond his desire to incorporate nutrition services into his chiropractic clinic, Hidalgo said he also chose to major in dietetics and nutrition because of a personal interest in cooking and his goal to help his mother achieve a dream.

“My mom wants to open a restaurant, and I like to cook myself,” he said. “I want to help her with that dream.”

Hidalgo is close with his family, including three siblings: older brother Jesús, sister Carolina and younger brother Aaron, all of whom attend Ole Miss.

Carolina enrolled first, and her brothers followed in her footsteps. She attended Meridian Community College before coming to UM, and her plans are to become a cardiovascular physician. Jesús is a senior majoring in accountancy, and Aaron is a freshman, also studying exercise science with a goal of becoming a physical therapist.

For more information about dietetics and nutrition programs at UM, visit For more information about exercise science, visit