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Exercise science students present at Harvard University’s national research conference

Georgia Southern University exercise science majors Kali Todd and Regan Thomas in the Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology presented at Harvard University’s National Collegiate Research Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Todd and Thomas, who are both University Honors Program students, completed their research under the guidance of Professor of Kinesiology Daniel Czech, Ph.D., in the Waters College of Health Professions.

Todd, a junior from Claxton, Georgia, presented, “The Relationship between Perceived Level of Support and the Fear of Falling among Elderly.” Her study expanded on previous findings that determined the fear of falling increased the likelihood of an actual fall occurring. Specifically, she focused on whether social support had any effect on the fear of falling, which may lead clinicians and health professionals to a better idea of how to treat this sociological issue.

“This conference was a very specialized research conference, allowing me to obtain a better grasp of how advanced research is conducted and analyzed,” said Todd.

A junior from Statesboro, Georgia, Thomas presented, “Rehabilitation Protocols for Total Hip Replacement Patients: A Comparison of Physicians and Physician Assistants versus Physical Therapists.” In her study, she compared the opinions of physical therapists, physician assistants and physicians on the rehabilitation process of patients who have undergone total knee replacement surgery. By replicating and expanding on a study originally conducted in Germany, Thomas evaluated factors such as each clinician’s years of experience, occupation and relationship with patients to determine if these factors affected the clinician’s opinion on the rehabilitation protocol.

Thomas noted the conference to be beneficial as she was able to receive feedback on her presentation.

“I’m very thankful Georgia Southern gave me the chance to attend the conference,” she said. “It will not only set me apart when applying to a Doctor of Physical Therapy program, but it gave me the opportunity to visit a school and city I would not have visited otherwise.”

The students also attended workshops with Harvard doctoral candidates and listened to distinguished keynote speakers and other students from across the country discuss their research.

Both students received University funding to assist with the cost of the three-day conference and had the opportunity to tour historical sites in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Overall, this was an awesome opportunity not only to see other scientific discoveries in the making, but also a chance to see Boston, one of the most historical cities in America,” said Todd.


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