Health and exercise science student gains valuable research experience on campus

Hailing from Castle Rock, Colorado, Jordan Acosta is a recent CSU Department of Health and Exercise Science graduate (B.S., ’21) who is completing her internship this summer. Acosta worked with Professor Brett Fling in his Sensorimotor Neuroimaging Laboratory within the Human Performance Clinical Research Laboratory (HPCRL) on CSU’s campus. She will be pursuing her master’s degree in health and exercise science this fall. Learn about Acosta and her internship experience in this Q&A. 

Jordan Acosta smiles in a green top.

Where are you from and what brought you to CSU?

I am from Castle Rock, Colorado. I wanted to come to CSU due to the remarkable academic opportunities, the Honors program for my undergraduate degree, and the softball program is incredible. For my undergrad, the inclusivity and opportunities within academics and athletics were my priority.

Why did you choose to pursue your B.S. and M.S. in health and exercise science?

I have always loved physiology and understanding how we are able to move efficiently and effectively to accomplish tasks. And as I took more courses during my bachelor’s degree, I became passionate about what occurs when our neurological functioning is impaired and wanted to have a role in understanding sensorimotor deficits.

What has been your favorite experience at CSU?

Throughout my undergraduate degree, I have had several favorite experiences at CSU – probably too many to count! I have enjoyed growing in my academics and expanding my expertise in interesting topics. I loved my years with CSU Softball and all the amazing friendships I have built. And lastly, I have loved embarking on new adventures and opportunities that pushed me outside my comfort zone to become a more well-rounded individual.

What has been your favorite part about your major?

My favorite part about my major is the mentoring and ability to be surrounded by such remarkable professors. The health and exercise science instructors invest in your future and care deeply about your growth in not only the content of the course but also in who you are as a person.

How did you apply for your internship?

Jordan Acosta walks on a treadmill attached to research apparatuses.
Jordan Acosta in Professor Brett Fling’s lab.

I applied for this internship because I had prior experience within the lab as an undergraduate and I knew I was pursuing a master’s degree in HES within the Sensorimotor Neuroimaging Lab. It was a perfect fit to be able to continue working with an incredible group of individuals and learn a lot more as I prepared for graduate school.

What did an average day at your internship look like?

There really wasn’t an “average” day at the lab. Every day consisted of something new that blew my mind and made me so excited to start my master’s degree. I would help run certain studies involving motion capture, research more information and protocols for upcoming studies, and read a lot of articles to expand my knowledge of various subject matters.

How are you applying what you’ve learned from school to your current position?

I am applying the exact content and background information that I learned from a variety of different courses such as physiology, neurophysiology, biomechanics, etc.

What is the biggest lesson that you will take home from this experience?

The biggest lesson I will take from my internship at the lab is to allocate your time and energy to the things that spark passion in your mind and make you excited to continue doing. I love working within the lab and find myself craving more opportunities to engage in anything and everything neuro-related. And I find myself wanting to be at my best for the people I work with, which I think is extremely important for the camaraderie of any group.

What’s next? What do you hope to accomplish in the coming school year and beyond?

For the upcoming years as a graduate student, I hope to learn even more from the department, engage in remarkable research, and strive to be a little better each day. I know that our lab and the department are comprised of incredible people and very intelligent minds, so I hope to bring the same level of professionalism, excellence, excitement, and passion to everything I am involved in.

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen in your major?

I would urge incoming HES students to be open-minded and engaged with each of the classes they take. And reassure them that they are exactly where they are supposed to be, so be proud of what they have accomplished before and excited for what their future holds.