From invisible identities to interdisciplinary collaboration, undergraduate students in the College of Health and Human Sciences earned accolades at Colorado State University’s Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity 2023. The annual symposium featured in-person and virtual components including student poster sessions, oral presentations, visual and performing arts, a keynote speaker, and awards. Explore the impressive research and impact demonstrated by CHHS students at CURC.
Highest Honors – Research
Matthew Scarsbrook garnered Highest Honors – Research award for the College of Health and Human Sciences. Scarsbrook is a junior with majors in health and exercise science with a sports medicine concentration, and in biomedical sciences with an anatomy and physiology concentration. He presented research conducted in the Sensorimotor Neuroimaging Lab in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. View his presentation and explore his poster titled “Tibialis Anterior Maximal Force Capacity and Balance Assessment Scores in People with Multiple Sclerosis.”
Scarsbrook explored the tibialis anterior – a large muscle of the lower leg that is important for balance and mobility – and its role in strength and balance for people with MS. “I hope that the results from my project help inform rehabilitation efforts that are both effective and efficient in reducing falls and other musculoskeletal injuries in people with MS,” he noted.
“Being recognized with this award is a great honor,” he said. “It is an incredibly rewarding feeling to see your work get recognized and honored. This award is truly a reflection of all the support and the amazing members of the Sensorimotor Neuroimaging Laboratory. I am privileged to be a part of it.”
Scarsbrook credits his research mentors, Dr. Brett Fling and Ph.D. student Chris Patrick, with inspiring this project. Patrick’s “passion for research and neuroscience inspired me,” Scarsbrook said. “I truly cannot express how much I learned while working with Chris on this project and how thankful I am for his help. The passion and work ethic of the whole group really motivated me to want to pursue my own project.”
As he looks ahead to his senior year and beyond, he intends to continue his research. “I plan to look at more specific neuromuscular aspects that contribute to a quick and powerful force output in muscles of the lower leg,” he said. “I hope to see how MS may affect this and what methods can be developed to improve force capacity in people with MS and ultimately reduce falls and improve quality of life. I would also like to repeat my previous study with a different muscle of the lower leg to see how the force output from other muscles affects balance.”
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Research
Emma Oredson, Elise Golyer, and Madison Guzman were celebrated for their research in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice realm. Their research explored “Invisible Identities in CSU Undergraduate Students.”
“There are many identities that are not inherently visible but create additional obstacles to self-disclosing,” their project description stated. “An inventory and understanding of these identities allow for insight into aspects of how individuals interact with learning environments, relationships, and self-efficacy.”
Oredson and Guzman are seniors, and Golyer is a junior, all students in the School of Social Work. The team surveyed undergraduate students at CSU, and found that students reported their race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+ community, disability, first-generation status, and others as invisible identities. The investigation further explored respondents’ comfort level disclosing their invisible identities to peers and instructors, whether they felt pressure to disclose, and whether they felt supported by campus resources.
College Honors – Research
Josh Survis, a senior majoring in nutrition and food science and concentrating in nutrition and fitness in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, was presented with the College Honors – Research award. View his presentation and explore his poster titled, “Phytochemical compound, PB125, improved mechanisms of proteostasis in a guinea pig model of musculoskeletal decline.”
Survis conducted his research in Karyn Hamilton’s Translational Research on Aging and Chronic Disease Laboratory, and collaborated with Tom LaRocca, who runs the Healthspan Biology Laboratory. Both Hamilton’s and LaRocca’s labs host researchers like Survis who share their interdisciplinary approaches to health in the Human Performance Clinical Research Laboratory in the Department of Health and Exercise Science.
Through this research, Survis and his collaborators identified that Hartley guinea pigs are a model of human musculoskeletal aging, opening doors to further discovery. “These results provide a foundation for human trials with PB125 to slow the progression of musculoskeletal decline,” Survis’s poster concluded.
Other interdisciplinary awards
Students in other colleges also collaborated with research mentors in CHHS. Those who earned CURC awards in 2023 included:
Highest Honors – Research
Chaia Geltser, a biomedical sciences major in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, conducted her research in the Sensorimotor Neuroimaging Lab, which she presented on her poster titled, “MSWS-12 as a Predictive Tool for Gait Asymmetry Reduction in People with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS).” Her profile on the lab’s web page notes: “Chaia is a senior biomedical sciences student interested in pursuing medicine, particularly surgery. She is fascinated by sensory and motor neuroanatomy and is eager to engage in clinical research that applies her undergraduate coursework.”
College Honors – Research Award
Sydney Lacy is a neuroscience major, also in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She cited Fling and Jaclyn Stephens from the Department of Occupational Therapy as research mentors on her poster, “Neuroimaging of Vestibular and Oculomotor Function in Healthy Athletes & Athletes with Concussion?”
Learn more about CHHS research and mentorship
Fling, LaRocca, and Stephens each shared their research inspirations, academic journeys, and important mentors in interviews on the CHHS research podcast, Health and Human Science Matters. You can find all episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.
The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Department of Occupational Therapy, and School of Social Work are all part of the College of Health and Human Sciences.