Research and Practica
One of the advantages of the Kinesiology major is the potential for research and practicum (internship) experiences. These opportunities utilize our small class sizes and emphasize hands-on student/professor and student/professional interactions.
Exercise with older populations is one example of research conducted by Westmont students that also benefits the community. Westmont students taking a class entitled “Fitness for Older Adults” have teamed with Vista Del Monte Retirement Center to study the effects of Nordic pole walking on the balance, confidence and upper body endurance in the elderly. The average age of the subjects was 86 years old. Our students have been involved with the research from beginning to end, and have developed the testing protocols, conducted the pre and post-tests and supervised the exercise training sessions.
Westmont’s human performance laboratory provides a number of other opportunities for research. Here, students delve into the methodology and data collection in the areas of biomechanics, exercise physiology, and cardiovascular dynamics.
Students enrolled in the “Biomechanics” class spend time using our Vicon Motus® motion analysis software system to assess and quantify specific sport movements in two-dimensional analyses. An advanced biomechanical research opportunity is also available to those students who develop an affinity for this type of research. The current advanced research line in this area is related to three-dimensional running analyses.
The exercise physiology laboratory research experience includes testing for maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max), calculating caloric expenditure, performing underwater weighing to determine body composition, muscular strength and power testing, and blood lactate accumulation assessment. Further research experience is available as an elective in a specific area of exercise physiology.
Through the “Cardiovascular Dynamics” course, students take blood pressure readings and assess the activity of the human heart through 12-lead EKG treadmill testing. Students are prepared for the clinical rehabilitation setting through this experience.
Kinesiology majors also have a number of opportunities to put theory into practice by observing in the Santa Barbara community at various practica sites. For example, in our very first course in the major, students spend 12 hours during the semester observing physical therapists, occupational therapists, physicians, orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers and other allied health professionals. This gives our students exposure to various populations such as children, athletes, older adults and people with disabilities. Several other major courses have similar requirements and opportunities. Early interaction with potential career professionals helps our students to develop informed career goals and complete the necessary pre-requisites for graduate school.