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.
My senior project grew out of my interest in the adapted paddling program. For the project, I served as part of the leadership team for a STRIDE (Science through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise) program called "Activity for All." Together with students from the College of Engineering, I worked on a number of different projects that focused on enhancing independence and levels of physical activity for people with disabilities in the local community.
For one project, we adapted a tandem kayak to allow someone with quadriplegia to pilot the boat on their own with the use of a sip and puff mechanism. For another project, we built a "strider" that allowed a young boy to stand and walk under his own power. We also developed a unilateral kayaking device that allows a person with hemiplegia (total or partial paralysis of one side of the body) or an amputation to kayak using only one arm. These projects gave me priceless, hands-on learning experiences that cemented my belief in Learn by Doing.
In addition to working with adapted physical activity programs, I gained valuable research experience by working with clients in a professional health environment during the FLASH College Health Study. I worked specifically with the Heart Health Team, collecting blood samples and analyzing those samples for indicators such as cholesterol, glucose levels and triglycerides. This knowledge has been invaluable to my education and professional growth.
These programs have proven to me that I chose the ideal field. I will always be grateful to the Kinesiology Department for following the Learn by Doing model.