I spent the summer in a sports biomechanics lab at Ohio State. I used my step funds to help defray the cost of my living expenses, as I am an out of state student.
Specifically, my research project involved studying the ideal way to steal a base in baseball. Many different studies have analyzed the sprint start, however, to our knowledge, research on the baseball start is sparse. With the help of my research advisors, I developed an IRB proposal amendment for my base-stealing project. I also read many articles and developed a refined hypothesis of the fastest way.
I also spent time conducting functional performance testing of many Ohio State athletes. This testing gauges an athlete’s performance ability and injury risk. For example, one of the tests we conduct is a single legged hop for distance. High-performing athletes typically jump the farthest (performance measure). Athletes at risk for injury typically demonstrate an asymmetry in the distance accomplished by each leg (injury risk measure). We also run “tertiary” testing of the athletes, which involved using force plates and infrared light reflective markers.
During the summer, I also spent time conducting modified versions of the aforementioned functional performance tests to the Columbus homeless population at the Stowe Mission food pantry. We provided clinical recommendations based on their performance. We also provided contact information for local physical therapists able to take Medicaid/Medicare patients.
My STEP experience was very rewarding. Thanks to STEP, I was able to participate in a cutting-edge research lab. Every day, there was a lot of work to complete. I was in a very large lab, and there were many research projects occurring. We had studies ranging form shock absorbance concussion studies to fMRI signals of the brain in ACL reconstructed individuals. Through being in this environment, I realized that it is very important to find something you are passionate about. Passion should drive my work, if I want to be successful.
My fellow lab mates were very inspirational, and inspired me to help serve those in need. Observing the contrast between Ohio State athletes and the Stowe Mission population was very humbling and eye-opening. I learned how to clinically interact with various populations, and I now realize the importance of this skill in a medical career. I learned that you couldn’t talk to every research subject in the same manner; I couldn’t just read off a script. I needed to determine if the subject was processing the information I was vocalizing, and I needed to adjust my manner of delivery accordingly.
My STEP experience enhanced my undergraduate experience. I learned how to deal with subjects, read scientific papers efficiently, and write scientifically. My STEP experience solidified my academic, personal, and life goals. My summer was incredibly exciting, and retrospectively, I now know why:
1.) I interacted with many different people – including OSU athletes, fellow undergraduate students, doctoral students, the homeless population, and my faculty advisor.
2.) I was immersed in an environment where my work effort directly correlated with my success
3.) I learned a lot about a specific field of research
4.) I used teamwork to help accomplish my goals, and I contributed my work to help accomplish others’ goalsI perceive these 4 traits to be inherent in a physician’s lifestyle. I am excited to continue pursuing my goal of becoming a physician.