As a Westfield State University junior, Christine Andrews attended her first-ever national conference in Orlando to present her research findings on the relationship between academic and exercise motivation in kinesiology undergraduates. She likened the experience at the meeting to “being a kid in candy store.”
“There is no other way to describe it. I found it amazing as
an undergraduate to come from Westfield State and go to a conference with all these other schools from across the nation,” said the 22-year-old senior. “We were able to communicate and network with other students and professors and learn about new technology.”
Andrews will have another opportunity to showcase new research when she once again attends the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, this time in San Diego in May. The Movement Science major will present a poster on her findings on adherence to a strength-building program stemming from her senior seminar in exercise science with Melissa Roti, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Westfield State Exercise Science Program.
“We worked hard over the years to give our students opportunities to maximize their professional readiness for graduate school or a job working in their field,” Roti said. “I never had these options when I was an undergraduate. Students get a lot more out of these hands-on experiences.”
Andrews’ research project had her developing a one-on-one exercise program for Claudia Moore- O’Brien, assistant director of marketing at Westfield State, as part of Roti’s senior seminar on the topic “Community Fitness Partners Program.” The goal of the project was to work with Moore-O’Brien over an eight-week period so that she not only learned exercises that would strengthen her upper body, but also how to increase her self-confidence in order to stick with a program. Moore-O’Brien, who suffers from polio, has partial paralysis in her right leg and full paralysis in her left leg.
At times, the project called on Andrews to be creative in working with her subject. Besides having Moore-O’Brien work with weights, Andrews came up with a new way to improve her shoulder’s range of motion by hitting balloons back and forth to each other—an effective alternative to traditional exercise routines.
Samantha Corcoran, a senior in exercise science, is Andrews’ co-author on the abstract and poster that will be presented at ACSM.
Andrews credits her experiences in a pre-practicum last year at a local YMCA and the knowledge gained in sports psychology and other classes at Westfield State with her successes related to the ACSM conferences.
After graduating in May, Andrews plans to attend graduate school to study athletic management or nutrition, goals that were formulated by her undergraduate research and presentation experiences.
“It really says a lot about Westfield and how much the school wants to help students succeed. We are all working hard and our success is also about how much we put into the school and what we get out of it.”
Professor Melissa Roti
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, MOVEMENT SCIENCE
When Melissa Roti, Ph.D., is not teaching exercise science or concepts of nutrition classes at Westfield State University, she relishes her involvement as president-elect of the New England Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine.
That’s because she finds her participation in the organization is a benefit to her professional career as well as those of her students.
“I try and impart that involvement on my students as a resource for them to connect professionally,” said Roti, who has taught at Westfield State since 2003. “I have found many mentors through my association with ACSM.”
Roti is co-director of the Exercise Science program.
Christine Andrews ’15
Now in her fourth year at Westfield State, Christine Andrews fondly recalls the benefits of attending a small, affordable school.
“I like that you can walk across campus and no matter who you are you are going to find one person you know. It’s a nice, close-knit community,” said Andrews.
As she prepares to graduate in May, Andrews is currently in a four-credit, 20-hour-a-week internship at a personal training gym in Lexington. She is observing trainers and assisting clients one-on-one with exercise programs.
That experience dovetails nicely with the multiple classes she has taken under her Movement Science major and research projects that allowed her to present her findings twice at a national conference.
Andrews is considering graduate school in athletic management or nutrition—two areas that would fuel her passion in culinary arts and exercise science.