Kinesiology Department Newsletter – Winter 2013
Message from the Chair
Greetings from the Kinesiology Department!
At the half-way point in my first term as department chair, I can report that time passes quickly, and I enjoy the constant challenge of being chair.
The department accomplished a great deal during 2011-12, including hiring a new faculty member, purchasing new equipment, and planning for the future.
Students Design and Present Adapted Dart Launcher
Four kinesiology seniors hit a bull's-eye with a dart launcher adapted for use by people with physical disabilities.
The device resulted from a partnership between the kinesiology and mechanical engineering departments. During the design process, kinesiology students considered the ergonomics of a potential device and users' physical capabilities.
"The entire point of adapting a physical game is to make it as similar to the actual game as possible," said Kevin Bezerra (B.S, Kinesiology, 2012), part of a team that presented the dart launcher at a state conference on adapted technology in February 2012. "They play with the same darts, the same board, the same points, and the same rules."
Student Perspective: Kinesiology Embodies Learn by Doing
By Kevin Bezerra (B.S., Kinesiology, 2012)
During my time at Cal Poly, I grew as a student, a professional and a person. During my final two years, I served as an assistant instructor with the Adapted Paddling Program. I helped other students learn how to kayak and how to adapt the kayaks for use by people with disabilities. The program also connected me with my local community by giving me the opportunity to work closely with those using the adapted kayaks.
While I initially joined the program as a lab for a kinesiology class, I fell in love with the activity and with helping people get involved. This experience has been unique, and I am grateful to Cal Poly for making it available. Seeing the power of Learn by Doing in action has changed my way of thinking and given me a passion for practical experience.
Student Perspective: Learn by Doing Opens Doors Beyond the Classroom
By Terry Hackney (B.S., Kinesiology, 2012)
When I first toured Cal Poly, I heard about Learn by Doing, but it sounded like just another sales pitch. It wasn't until I started taking classes that I realized how legitimate Learn by Doing really is. I've completed a lot of lab assignments, such as exploring campus in a wheelchair to better understand life as a person with disabilities and evaluating my classmates' cardiac health, but Learn by Doing permeates many other aspects of life at Cal Poly.
During my second year, I worked as the special events supervisor for the Associated Students Inc. (ASI), planning and implementing entertainment programs for the Cal Poly community. Working with other students, I honed my professional skills by managing an annual budget of more than $50,000, conducting preliminary research and contract negotiations, formulating marketing plans, and executing and evaluating the final event.
STRIDE Hosts Presentation on Physical Activity in Public Health
During fall quarter, Gregory Heath, Guerry professor of health and human performance and assistant provost for research and engagement at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, spoke to faculty and students on the importance of physical activity for public health. Heath's work has been published in The Lancet, an international medical journal.
Heath reported that 6-10 percent of the world's major non-communicable diseases are attributable to inactivity. Through exercise, approximately 75.3 million deaths per year could be prevented.
New Faculty Member Focuses on Public Health
The department is pleased to welcome our newest member, Heather Starnes, who joined the faculty in fall 2012. Starnes earned her doctorate in health and kinesiology from Purdue University. Her research focuses on physical activity and public health, especially as it relates to the built environment.
Starnes is already making a mark in the department. In fall 2012, students in her Introduction to Research Methods class developed individual research proposals, which they presented in a conference-style poster session.
New Equipment Enhances Research Capabilities
The department gained a refrigerated centrifuge and a -80 degree Celsius freezer in the last year. With this equipment, students can immediately refrigerate and separate blood draws. This procedure is a necessary step in Suzanne Phelan's study of how to help low-income mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight after giving birth. The equipment will also help in studying hormones.
"This is the best equipment you can get," said Todd Hagobian, whose students used the centrifuge and freezer in an appetite regulation study.
Many Thanks to Our Generous Donors
Private support from our alumni, parents, friends, as well as from private businesses and other agencies are key to enabling our department to continue to provide exceptional Learn by Doing projects and opportunities for today’s students. Click on the link below to see the list of those who gave to the Kinesiology Department in 2011-12.
Alumna Conducts Research and Development for Cycling Industry
Christie O'Hara (M.S., Kinesiology, 2011) has returned to the biomechanics lab to collect data for her ongoing research. After graduation, O'Hara found employment immediately with a major cycling component manufacturer in Spain. She now travels to various international professional cycling and triathlon events, markets products, and conducts research and development.