Honors in Action: Presenting at the National Collegiate Research Conference
With original research topics and strong commitment to academics, Georgia Southern’s honors students are on par with students from some of the best institutions in the country. Lacey Dennis (athletic training ’17), Eva Blais (exercise science ’17), Chelsea Rodriguez (exercise science ’18), and Kolyse Wagstaff (exercise science ’17), proved this by presenting their research at Harvard University’s National Collegiate Research Conference, a symposium whose application process is highly competitive and attracts scholars from all over the world.
Dr. Czech, honors coordinator in the School of Health and Kinesiology, urged them to seize this opportunity. “To me, transcultural learning experiences like our trip to Harvard can increase a student’s intellect, motivation and of course multicultural mindset,” he said. “I asked Kolyse, Lacey, Chelsea and Eva to apply, and I am so proud of them for saying yes and following through.”
Blais, Dennis, and Wagstaff’s theses are part of a three-part project, mentored by Dr. Li Li, looking at the effects of static stretching on the gastrocnemius muscle, while Rodriguez’s thesis, mentored by Dr. Czech, explores how different motivational climates affect the motivational perspectives of different races. In addition to sharing their research, the conference presented them with multiple opportunities for engagement with other like-minded individuals.
“The conference was a wonderful experience for me personally,” said Blais. “I was amazed by not only the intellect of others attending the conference but the open-mindedness and friendliness I received as a fellow researcher. I would definitely recommend it to other Georgia Southern students thinking about attending conferences in the future.”
Even their down time was full of educational experiences, such as visiting the Spalding National Running Center to see the latest research in Running Science, exploring Boston, and touring a lab at Harvard Medical School.
Rodriguez said, “We got to make connections with students from other renowned universities and participate in public discourse with different keynote speakers, some of whom were Jill Abramson and Harold E. Varmus. We were are able to participate in various workshops which included discussions about graduate school, entrepreneurship, ethics in research, and much more. It was incredible getting to hear about all the participants’ research. From neuroscience, to research in curing cancer, it’s amazing to discover how much new knowledge is out there.”
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