Two pairs of Plattsburgh State undergraduate students were the recipients of two scholar awards at the Nov. 11 American College of Sports Medicine conference held at the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan.
Seniors Kimberly Beach and John Purcell presented their study, “What experiences are needed to become a Division III athlete? A Retrospective Study of the Quantity of Deliberate Play,” to an ACSM panel after first submitting an abstract to a committee of experts, which reviewed and accepted the students’ work. The pair won fourth place at the conference and a check for $200.
Fellow seniors Jordynne Ales and Forrest Scott conducted their study on “The ‘unregulated’ world of collegiate strength and conditioning: Are CSSCa coaches the most effective?” The team placed fifth and received a check for $50.
Beach said hers and Purcell’s study focused on surveying Plattsburgh’s student athletes.
“We found a lot of athletes participated in a wide range of activities. [They practiced] not only sports, but art, music and organized games with rules – things like chess,” Beach said. “Parents were also very influential in getting their children involved with sports.”
Using data from the NCAA and contacts from other schools, Ales and Scott studied the certifications of coaches who work with athletes particularly during the offseason.
“We looked at national champion teams and tried to see the connection between that and the effectiveness of strength and conditioning coaches certified through the [Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association],” Ales said.
Purcell called the experience “humbling.”
“It showed me what it takes to come in first or second, how to be a good presenter and how to network professionally,” he said.
The four fitness and wellness majors were the only SUNY system representatives at the conference, which showcased work by students from other New York and New Jersey schools. Plattsburgh was the only school to send two teams.
The spark was ignited by Dr. Andreas Stamatis, who noticed that no students in the department, which was created eight years ago, had yet participated in undergraduate research.
“For me, it’s always about the students,” Stamatis said. “Always.”
He noted that while none of the students received degree credit for their work, it was more important to “help them go places.”
Stamatis, originally from Greece, is in his second year at PSUC and holds fitness degrees from Baylor University, City University at Seattle and University at Indianapolis.
He said he called the ACSM, around which much of the school’s program revolves, last summer, and was shocked to learn the organization hadn’t heard of the school.
“I tried to change that,” he said.
With the support of department chair Dr. Vincent Carey, Stamatis hand-picked the two teams in September based on certification, GPA and service.
Stamatis said undergraduate research and the networking it creates holds the power to take these students, and others, to grad school and beyond.
“If we build on this, the degree will be more valuable,” he said. “And if it doesn’t come back to the students, then we’re not good educators.”
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