Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

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Exercise Science Senior Students Present Research at Sport Psychology Symposium

Exercise Science Students Present Research

From left to right, Zachary De Coster, Brittany Prange, Konrad Koczwara, Stephanie Wilson, instructor and director of Exercise Science Program, and Jeffrey Williams.

Four seniors from the Exercise Science Program at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing participated in the Chicago Sport Psychology Network’s Annual Symposium held at the University of Illinois, College of Applied Health Sciences, on December 8, 2012.

Zachary De Coster, Konrad Koczwara, Brittany Prange and Jeffrey Williams presented “The Effects of Interpersonal Relationships on Sport Performance:  physiological and psychological perspectives on student athlete performance” to an audience of faculty members, graduate students and peers.

Their presentation was born out of the course work they completed during the “Psychology of Health and Exercise” course, one of the nine required 300-level courses offered within the Exercise Science Program. The nine major courses, as parts of  the full curriculum, prepare students for continuing education in nursing, exercise physiology or physical therapy.

“The ‘Psychology of Health and Exercise’ class introduced students to theories, models and approaches in the field and applied them to exercise and movement behavior,” says Dr.  J. E. Coumbe-Lilley, clinical assistant professor and director of kinesiology internships at University of Illinois at Chicago's Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition.

“Students were shown how to locate, review and critically assess a range of literature from case study to random control trials. Over the course of the semester, students completed three research presentations that culminated in 42 articles being reviewed and presented. The capstone experience of this course was acceptance into the Chicago Sport Psychology Network’s Annual Symposium to present a summary of the research done over hundreds of hours by four students. This course is designed to stretch each student as far as they can go academically and challenges them to perform at the top of their capabilities,” Dr. Coumbe-Lilley added.

“The first day of class it was hard to believe what we had to do,” said student Konrad Koczwara of his introduction to the EXCM 390 course. “But, as the semester went on, it did not seem as difficult as in the beginning.”

The bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science prepares students for myriad health and exercise related fields. Graduates can look forward to careers in adult fitness and personal training; assessment, design, and implementation of individual and group exercise; and fitness program development for healthy people and those with controlled disease. Through coursework and hands-on experience, students develop skills in evaluating health behaviors and risk factors, conducting fitness assessments, writing appropriate exercise prescriptions, and motivating individuals to modify negative health behaviors.