KNS graduate student, Joel Ramirez, was awarded the Sally Cassanova Pre-Doctoral Scholarship. He was one of 73 students across all CSU campuses to receive this prestigious award. Joel is a graduate student working with KNS faculty members Dr. Christine Dy and Dr. Andy Cornwell.
What is the Sally Cassanova scholarship and how do you get it?
Sally Cassanova or the California Pre-Doctoral program is a way CSU supports the doctoral and teaching ambitions of its students. The scholarship affords awardees an opportunity to explore and prepare for a doctoral degree. To apply one must be a CSU matriculated upper division undergraduate or Master’s students to apply. Applicants are asked to develop a student plan and budget for research they would like to pursue, what has led the student to pursue it, why is this pursuit relevant, and what is already known about this research topic. Lastly, applicants are expected to procure and work with a faculty sponsor.
What is the funding used for?
The award provided allows students to reconnoiter a doctoral path by exposing the student to research through a summer research program at a doctoral granting institution in their chosen field; opportunities to visit and survey doctoral granting programs; funds to support professional development; and reimbursement of test and application fees.
Is getting a Ph.D. a goal of yours?
Initially, my aspirations were not, but now include a Ph.D. I not only want to apply the science developed to optimize an individuals recovery and increase their performance, but I would like to contribute to the growing body of work that develops our understanding of how and why we do so.
How did you get interested in research at Cal State LA?
Attending journal club was pivotal in my introduction to articles, research presentations and getting involved in research. However, I feel the largest factor was assisting then graduate students Gilbert Acosta in the Brain Performance Lab and Steve Guzman in the SCIER lab with data collection for their projects. Having a first-hand account of the process and the interaction between the students and principal investigators was what caught my interest the most.
Who helped spark this interest?
It began with brief conversations with Dr. Keslacy regarding topics discussed in KIN 4610. This was shortly followed by attending the Tsukuba Summer Institute in Japan and becoming aquatinted with Dr. Keslacy and Dr. Dy and their passion for knowledge and their contribution to their craft.
What undergraduate classes helped steer your towards doing research and why?
I would have to say that CHEM 362, MATH 105, KIN 461, KIN 437 and KIN465 did. In retrospect, it was more the instructor's passion for the subjects and the inclusion of old and new research in the course inspired me the most.
Tell us about the research you're currently working on for your thesis
I am currently looking at comparing multiple means of tracking physical activity and determining if we can use electromyography to improve tracking of physical activity in individuals that have sustained traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI).
How will this help people?
Increasing access individuals with SCI have to physical activity will increase independence and self-efficacy and maintain or increase health to avoid development of diseases such as metabolic syndrome.
Congratulations to Dr. Robbi Beyer of KNS. She recently published a new book, “Effective Coaching for All Athletes”. The book will teach coaches how to work with young athletes who have a varied range of skills. Dr. Beyer is an expert in adapted physical education and is the director of the Physical Activity Center for Education (PACE Clinic).
Food Science and Technology student, Jamin Masri, attended the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting in Las Vegas last June. Mentored by FST professors Dr. Jing Zhao and Dr. Sunil Mangalassary, this was an opportunity for Jamin to make valuable connections with other prominent food scientists and students.
KNS hosted the LAUSD Special Olympics Unified Basketball tournament on March 2nd. Adapted PE Candidates from our program cheered athletes and assisted in making this a successful event for all.
Congratulations to Dr. Anne Larson for competing in the 2017 NPC Fit World Pro and placing 4th in her category. Dr. Larson, who is the Director of the School of KNS, has been a long-time advocate for physical activity.
Lloyd Ruiz, an MS graduate student working with Dr. Keslacy won the Outstanding Presentation Award for his category at the 25th Annual Student Symposium on Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities held on February 24th, 2017. Lloyd presented the poster “Body weight supported training modulates muscle NF-κB P65 expression induced by spinal cord injury” which was a collaborative study between KNS faculty Drs. Keslacy and de Leon.
Jake Jelmini won the Norman James Award for Student Research at the 36th Annual Southwest Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Meeting held on October 22, 2016. His oral presentation “Acute effects of unilateral static stretching on handgrip strength of the stretched and non-stretched limb” was based on research he performed as an MS graduate student under the direction of KNS faculty member Dr. Cornwell. The award is given as a “recognition of the successful completion and dissemination of research performed by the top student investigators in the Southwest Regional Chapter”.