Kinesiology Department Newsletter – December, 2011
Greetings from the department chair’s office! I hope this newsletter finds you well. I'm excited to be able to share a few recent success stories and provide a few updates on the Kinesiology Department at Cal Poly. My name is Kevin Taylor, and on Sept. 1 this year, I became the new department chair. Originally from England, I have been at Cal Poly since the fall of 1999. As incoming chair I am profoundly grateful to Dr. Camille O’Bryant for her leadership and contributions to the department during her three years as chair. Camille selflessly took on the role when no one else was willing or able to, and she steered the department through some challenging times and difficult transitions. Thank you Camille!
Professor’s $3 Million Research Grant Will Aid Low-Income Mothers
A Cal Poly professor has received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop new ways to help low-income mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight within a year of giving birth. Kinesiology Professor Suzanne Phelan of Cal Poly’s STRIDE center (Science through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise) will work with low-income mothers in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties for the study. Helping women return to their pre-pregnancy weights within a year of giving birth is important for their long-term health, Phelan explained. Professor Phelan’s research on pregnancy weight gain also made headlines.
Details on the study of low-income mothers
Details on her earlier study on post-pregnancy weight loss
STRIDE Research is Mapping Hunger and Making Headlines
Cal Poly students and volunteers spent October and November canvassing San Luis Obispo County, talking to more than 700 low-income residents to get more-accurate data on how many people go hungry. “We think the rosy picture on hunger in San Luis Obispo County comes from the fact that those most in need have been undercounted in previous studies,” said Cal Poly Kinesiology Professor Ann McDermott, director of the university’s STRIDE (Science through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise) center.
STRIDE is partnering with the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County on the study. It’s being funded by a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The study is one of only 14 Hunger Free Communities grants awarded across the nation this year by the USDA. Cal Poly received $30,000 from the grant to design and carry out two data-gathering and analysis efforts: a countywide food availability survey, conducted in spring 2011, and the ongoing hunger survey.
Cal Poly students and professors participating in the adaptive paddle program successfully launched an upgraded SoloQuad kayak for disabled users. The SoloQuad is an adaptive kayak designed for a pilot with quadriplegia or paraplegia.
At the first launch of the SoloQuad in spring 2008, the motor overheated, requiring the kayak to be towed back to shore. A new team of students working on the project redesigned and improved several elements of the kayak.
Kinesiology Professors and Students Adapt Wii for Quadriplegics
A team of Cal Poly professors and students have created a modified Nintendo Wii system that allows people with quadriplegia to play Wii Sports. The Wii-B-Fit project created a universal remote design to incorporate game play of the popular Wii console for individuals with all levels of quadriplegia.
The design includes a laptop playboard with simplified action buttons to aid those with limited hand mobility, and a hat with sensors. The hat allows the wearer to mimic the functionality of the Wii-remote to achieve normal game play. Retired Central Coast firefighter Mike Ward, who is now in a wheelchair, helped the university develop and test the Wii-B-Fit project.
STRIDE Brings National Expert on Healthy Communities to Campus
Cal Poly’s STRIDE center hosted a panel discussion on obesity that included a nationally known physician and local government and health officials. The talk focused on the environmental factors influencing America’s obesity epidemic and the community changes needed to combat it. Richard Jackson, M.D., chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health, spoke on “Confronting the Crisis, Crash and Collapse: Creating Co-beneficial Solutions for Healthy Communities, Economic Growth, and Sustainable Resources.”
More on Jackson's presentation
Thank You, Kinesiology and STRIDE Donors
More than 166 alumni, parents and friends donated nearly $58,000 to the Kinesiology Department and to STRIDE (Science Through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise), the university-wide center based in the Kinesiology Department. Your financial support allows our department to offer the experiences and programs that bring Learn by Doing alive to benefit not only our students, but also the community at large.
Alumni Notes: Keeping Up with Classmates
Lisa Neirotti earned a doctorate and is director of Sports Management at The George Washington University. Lynn Dyche started the first California Interscholastic Federation statewide high school wrestling tournament. Jani Johnson and Michelle Zulim-Clark teach kinesiology at Cuesta College on the Central Coast.
Alumni Questionnaire: We'd Love to Get Your Feedback!
Click on the link below to complete a brief questionnaire that will provide us with helpful feedback to continuously improve the Cal Poly Kinesiology program.
Professor Camille O’Bryant
Cal Poly’s three summer physical education workshop directors met with Kinesiology faculty and staff and representatives from CAHPERD (California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) to discuss the possibility of embarking on a collaborative effort. Working together on the physical education workshops held on campus would be beneficial to everyone, especially the in-service educators and coaches who are seeking professional development opportunities during the summer.
Professor Bob Clark
During spring quarter 2011, Christie O'Hara and Francesca Castellucci collected data from elite cyclists (the Cal Poly Wheelmen) in the biomechanics lab. They were examining the effects of a non-circular bicycle chain-ring on cycling performance and physiological measures. These oval-shaped rings have the potential to increase cycling effectiveness and efficiency due to alterations in mechanical advantage during the power phase (pushing down the pedal).
Professor Steve Davis
In the spring of 2010, I collaborated with Kinesiology Professor Kellie Hall, Dairy Science Professor Rafael Jimenez-Flores and his graduate student Jacob Heick, Statistics Professor Andrew Schaffner, and kinesiology students Nero Evero, Francesca Castellucci, Jacob Kelly-Strong, Robert Best, and Arya Alami. Using students who had just participated in simulated military mountain skirmishes, we compared the recovery-boosting effects of consuming a high-carbohydrate bar vs. a high-protein bar made from milk. The study is known as the "Milk Goes to War" study.
Greetings alumni and friends! I continue to have the pleasure of being an adjunct faculty member of the Kinesiology Department and thoroughly enjoy working with our great students. I am also continuing my volunteer activities with the American Heart Association and am active with the Women and Heart Disease prevention luncheon, held each February. Several of our students and alumni also assist with this important event. This past year, I had the pleasure of having an article regarding my research published in the National Association of College Auxiliary Services’ College Services publication. I continue to help organizations control their workers’ compensation costs by increasing employee job satisfaction.