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Student Research

One of the best ways to learn is by doing. In their coursework, students learn how to read and critique research studies. But our students go beyond reading research articles by designing, running, and analyzing their own projects. Understanding what goes into studies and how they are conducted is critical for being an informed professional. Exercise scientists who stay up-to-date on the latest scientific advancements can deliver the most effective interventions and treatment plans for their clients.

The Exercise Science Department is a campus-wide and regional leader in undergraduate student research. In the past 5 years alone, our students received funding for over 15 research projects and gave over 75 presentations at local and regional conferences. Students usually work together in small groups on these projects and presentations, meaning that the total number of students who went the extra mile is much higher. Our students publish in the Keystone Journal of Undergraduate Research, which is for high-caliber student research conducted at PASSHE institutions. And each year at least 20 students attend either the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (MARC-ACSM) or the Northeast Atlantic Sport Psychology Conference (NASP). We believe research is so important that we dedicated an entire course to it!

This focus on student research is one thing of many that sets the Exercise Science Department apart from other majors and universities. We invest a great deal of effort to support our students because students who understand how to analyze and conduct research studies make better practitioners. Research can help physical therapists test a new rehabilitation protocol, strength and conditioning coaches teach the biomechanics of a lift, and corporate fitness specialists determine the best way to encourage physical activity in the workplace. Our students graduate prepared to ask and answer tough questions by making use of the research skills learned from class, conferences, and experience.

Physiological Effects of an Elevation Mask on Endurance Trained Athletes vs. Non-Endurance Trained Athletes While Performing 100 Yard Sprints

Students testing blood pressure while wearing an elevation maskStudent Researchers: Tara Bicko, Jamie Blair, Kyle Fields, & Makenzie Magnotta
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Sam Forlenza & Dr. Turi Braun

Many athletes train with an elevation training mask, however, studies are still unclear regarding the effectiveness of these training tools. The purpose of this research is to observe physiological adaptations in collegiate endurance trained athletes and non-endurance trained athletes while performing a protocol with and without an elevation training mask. Participants were 10 collegiate athletes who had their heart rate, blood pressure, rate of perceived exertion (RPE), and lactic acid values recorded throughout the exercise protocol to assess changes over time. The results showed significant differences between pre to post time values, but no significant interaction effects between groups. The outcome of this experiment is the identification of significant physiological adaptations when training with and without an elevation training mask over time.

This project was funded by a 2017 Undergraduate Research Grant for $393.00 and presented at the 2018 Minds@Work Conference.