As a Summer Fellow and FUTURE mentor, I conducted research over the summer (2014) for two months in The HEART Lab with participants present on campus, including students, faculty, and staff. My study aimed to understand any relationship between cardiovascular health and joint angles and ranges of motion of the knee and foot. The connection between a patient’s cardiovascular health status, joint alignment, and range of motion could be used to better understand joint pain, reluctance to exercise regularly, and risk factors for obesity. As a mentor for the FUTURE program, I aided in another student’s comfort with the lab and introduced him to data that would lead him to then write a research paper of his own.
The methods that were used to test cardiovascular health included a cardiac stress test, blood vessel ultrasounds, body composition measurements, blood glucose/cholesterol finger stick test, 24 hour blood pressure monitoring, and diet analysis. Joint measurements were taken with goniometers. The study has continued during my independent research this year, and the results are currently being used for an abstract submission to the Journal of Experimental Biology.
This program was the perfect opportunity to become familiar not only with the workings of a research laboratory, but with a clinical setting. It was great to also bond with other students doing research and appreciate the uniqueness of different research labs on campus. I enjoyed meeting new people that I still had not gotten to know in my first three years at Ursinus. The extra responsibilities and discussions that were involved with the FUTURE program were also unique experiences that I really enjoyed being a part of.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The best part of this experience was definitely the opportunity to design my own study and get my voice out there. I liked that I was able to present my proposal and results to those on campus so that others could hear mine and The HEART Lab’s research ideas, interests, and conclusions.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
It’s difficult to say only one person who made a difference for me in this experience. The friends I made throughout this program inspired me with how much effort they put into their research, and the professors who presented us with their inspiring life journeys were truly a positive influence on me. I thank my advisor, Dr. Feairheller, very much for everything she taught me and for giving me the confidence to be a researcher, a mentor, and hopefully a future doctor.
Women’s Volleyball, UC Ambassador Program, Fitness Center employee, Phi Epsilon Kappa distinguished honors fraternity