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Nov. 7, 2011
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SRU exercise science majors win ‘College Bowl,’ research award

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. ­­– Slippery Rock University exercise science majors won the “College Bowl” competition and outstanding research award at last weekend’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American Sports Medicine Conference in Harrisburg.
     College Bowl students answered questions about aspects of exercise science and sports medicine. SRU’s Eric Geiselhart of Monroeville; Ryan Spiardi of Cranberry; and Colleen Thomas of Hudson, Ohio, defeated teams from the University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University, the University of Delaware, Ithaca College, West Chester University and others.
          “We were asked questions that ranged from topics such as anatomy and exercise physiology to nutrition and sports medicine,” Geiselhart said.
        Spiardi won the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research Award for his research on whether exercise science majors chose an ideal weight for themselves.
       The regional chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine is a non-profit organization that disseminates information regarding exercise and physical activity to the public and at-risk population. It supports research and employment networking.
        SRU’s performance at the conference underscores its leadership in exercise science, including “Exercise is Medicine,” an international movement that works to incorporate physical activity into everyday living.
         Geiselhart, who plans to become a physical therapist, said participation in the conference benefited him in several ways.
         “Attending this conference allowed me to further expand my knowledge with regards to the field of exercise science,” he said. “I was able to attend numerous lectures and research presentations that ultimately exposed me to some of the latest trends and discussions occurring within the exercise science field. This ultimately helps in facilitating a higher level of comprehension within the classroom.”
        Geiselhart said SRU faculty prepared students well for the College Bowl. “The exercise science program does an outstanding job at producing competent individuals who can further contribute to the field. SRU faculty hold their students to a very high academic as well as professional standard and do an excellent job ensuring that students not only comprehend the material, but are capable of applying it to practical situations.”
        As the top research project winner, Spiardi won $250. He presented “Perception of Ideal Body Weight Using Body Mass Index Standards in Men and Women Exercise Science Students.”   Spiardi said he wanted to study whether freshman and senior exercise science majors chose a weight for themselves that falls within the healthy range.
      Spiardi measured height and weight of 198 freshmen and 99 seniors and administered a questionnaire asking them to report idea body weight.
        “This research concluded that freshmen and senior women exercise science majors chose an ideal weight for themselves that lead to an ideal body weight index that was significantly lower than their actually body mass index,” he said. “Freshmen and senior men exercise science majors exhibited no difference between their actual and ideal body mass index.”
        Spiardi, who plans to enroll in osteopathic medical school next fall to become a physician, said he has attended the sports medicine conference two consecutive years. “Both presenting and listening to presentations of other research helps me stay current in the field,” he said.
     He said his SRU education has prepared him for medical school.  “The best aspect about the exercise science major is the professors,” he said. “They are intelligent, supportive and really prepare you for the next step in your academic or professional career.”
    The exercise and rehabilitative sciences department has launched new programs in the past year to raise awareness of the importance of exercise as a means for improving the public’s health and reducing health care costs. They include the “Exercise is Medicine” program that promotes daily activity as a means for preventing and treating diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and SRU’s version of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s 10,000-Step Challenge walking program.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.