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Student Researchers Present Findings in Sports Medicine

News June 26, 2024

Four students enrolled in or recently graduated from the School of Health, Science & Technology along with faculty mentor Dr. James Sackett represented Cornerstone University at the national meeting of American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in Boston, Massachusetts, in late May. Three of the undergraduates, in addition to Dr. Sackett, presented their results from multi-month scientific research studies on sports medicine conducted at the university.

“Conducting research on human performance allows me to naturally integrate my Christian worldview [while mentoring students in the research process],” said Dr. Sackett, associate professor of kinesiology. “We regularly discuss our Creator and how intricately designed the human body is. In the same token, we discuss the fall and the fact that our body is broken on many levels. In fact, this is the very reason why we conduct research on the human body; to try and identify any possible way to heal or improve the performance of the great gift we were given by our Creator.”

Each year, Dr. Sackett undertakes new phases of research with the involvement of five to 10 undergraduate students. With access to state-of-the-art equipment in Cornerstone’s De Witt Center for Science & Technology, the bachelor’s students receive individualized preparation, mentoring, and support in academic research methods — a hands-on learning experience often only accessible to graduate students. As a result, Cornerstone’s exercise science student presenters ranked among a few of the only undergraduate conference presenters.

Traveling over 800 miles from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to give poster presentations at ACSM’s Annual Meeting, Cornerstone student, alumni and faculty trip participants included:

  • Jaye Fuller (’26), an exercise science major with a concentration in pre-occupational therapy and student in the Creativity & Innovation Honors Institute. She presented her research titled “The Effect of Compression Garments on Cardiorespiratory Variables Following Anaerobic Exercise in Healthy Adults.”
  • Benjamin Cunningham (B.S. ’24), an exercise science major with a concentration in pre-physical therapy and student in the Creativity & Innovation Honors Institute. His poster presentation showcased data from a research study titled “Donning A Full-Body Compression Garment During Recovery Does Not Improve Anaerobic Performance in Healthy Adults.”
  • Benjamin Minier (B.S. ’22), an exercise science graduate with a concentration in pre-physical therapy, who presented a poster titled “Training with Full Body Compression Garments Does Not Improve 40-meter Sprint Performance in Healthy Men.”
  • Dr. James Sackett who presented data on “The Effect of Wearing Compression Garments on Muscular Oxygenation Following Anaerobic Exercise in Healthy Adults.”

Curtis Cornell (B.S. ’23), an exercise science graduate, also attended the conference with the Cornerstone group.

In addition to a shared passion for growing their skilled experience in kinesiology research from a Christian worldview, the student presenters all share the characteristic of having completed a research assistant internship under the supervision of Dr. Sackett during their bachelor’s degree program.

“Dr. Sackett provided continued knowledge and encouragement through hands-off mentorship, which allowed us to discover the realities of research,” Fuller shared. “Thus, I have gained not only second-hand knowledge, but first-hand experience within the research field. One thing to admire most is that he allows us to troubleshoot situations, and in turn, we can become rooted in what it means to be both a reliable researcher and a lifelong leader.”

For Minier and Cunningham, their active engagement in the research process provided market-ready skills and prepared them to continue their education in graduate school.

“After my junior year internship, I decided physical therapy was not a career for me, so I started to explore other options in the field,” reflected Benjamin Minier while describing his vocational journey toward a career goal of becoming a college professor. “Dr. Sackett provided an internship opportunity for me to teach as well as opportunities to help in the lab even after I graduated. This allowed me to build my resume, eventually landing me a teaching assistant position at the University of Georgia where I will pursue graduate work in the fall.”

Benjamin Cunningham, who will attend physical therapy school next year, added: “I believe that the knowledge I have developed will allow me to share the love-driven design that God has created us with. Since I will be working directly with those struggling with pain and other sufferings that require rehabilitation, I think my knowledge and passion for kinesiology as well as for Jesus will hopefully inspire others to take initiative with their own physical and spiritual well-being.”

To discover more innovative learning opportunities available to Cornerstone students in the university’s 65 plus degree programs available on campus and online, request information online or by calling 616.949.5300!

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