Health and Exercise Science outstanding graduate reflects on his time at CSU

Peyton Woolverton

Peyton Woolverton’s passion for making a difference in people’s lives shows in his academics and work. An outstanding graduate from the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, Woolverton is graduating with magna cum laude distinction.

Woolverton grew up in Durango, Colorado, and chose to attend CSU after falling in love with the beauty and welcoming atmosphere of campus and Fort Collins.

“You are able to receive the ‘big university experience’ with things like attending the football games or getting involved in Greek life,” said Woolverton. “But despite being a big school, you always feel like you fit in and that your voice is being heard. I also loved the city of Fort Collins. Old Town has amazing food, and, in the summers, you can swim in Horsetooth. It is just a couple hours away from some of the best ski resorts in the state. CSU just had everything to offer and more.”

Alzheimer’s research

Woolverton has conducted research in the Movement Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Laboratory under the mentorship of faculty member Neha Lodha where he is working on developing a study that will quantify vibration sensation for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

One of Woolverton’s grandfathers recently passed away from Alzheimer’s and another grandfather has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. With the help of Lodha and her expertise on these disorders, he was able to create a research project that he hopes will lead to earlier and more accurate diagnoses in Alzheimer’s patients so that preventative measures may be administered earlier and lead to decreased disease onset. This is critical given the lack of treatment currently for Alzheimer’s.

“These disorders caused change in my grandfathers that broke my heart and made me wish that no one else had to experience this,” said Woolverton. “When I saw I had the opportunity to learn about these neurological disorders and hopefully be a part of something that will be extremely beneficial to this population, I instantly gravitated toward it. It was fulfilling all my passions given I was going to be working in the field of medicine, as well as getting to use my platform to make change for the better. Given one of the biggest issues in medicine is socioeconomic equality and providing proper care to people who are unable to afford it, my goal was to find a technique that can be used for ALL.”

Adjusting to remote learning

During the shift to online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Woolverton struggled to adjust to the remote learning format. Not being able to engage with fellow students and professors while taking difficult science classes was a challenge that he needed to navigate.

“I adjusted to school during the COVID-19 pandemic by prioritizing time in my day to focus on completing my studies,” said Woolverton. “I had to prioritize time in which I got my classes done, and I would only focus on what I was learning. This allowed me to continue to be successful during tough times. I wasn’t able to work for most of the pandemic given we were locked down so that provided me more time to focus on classes.”

Plans after graduating

After completing his bachelor’s degree, Woolverton plans to apply to physician assistant schools in hopes of working in orthopedics. When reflecting on his time at CSU, he says he will miss the experience of being a student and the town of Fort Collins.

“I love the atmosphere and the people here. I will miss the football games and trips to Old Town,” said Woolverton. “College is an awesome experience and I couldn’t have imagined doing it anywhere other than CSU.”

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences