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Exercise Physiology Student Opportunities

In the Saint Francis University exercise physiology program, you will have plenty of opportunities in the classroom and beyond. Below are just a few of the opportunities waiting for you as a future exercise physiology student.

  • Hands-On Experience

    EXPH Hands-On Experience

    Exercise Physiology is a very hands-on critical thinking and problem solving field. Lab experience, research opportunities, internships and community outreach activities are critical to your success. That’s why we believe you should have plenty of these opportunities at the undergraduate-level, and we offer them.

    Networking

    Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine

    Connecting with the discipline, connecting with experts in the field, and connecting with other exercise science students is part of what it means in becoming a professional. As a student you may participate in professional activities including attending and presenting at professional conferences as you learn new things and are ready to share your research. It is called networking. We are part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, and each year we “Connect” at the annual meeting in Harrisburg. We expect all seniors to attend this meeting, and encourage juniors and anyone else who wishes to attend to do so. This meeting provides lots of opportunities to hear talks on a variety of research projects, and learn more about the field of exercise physiology.

    Academic College Bowl

    The SFU Exercise Physiology College Bowl team won in 2012 and 2013.
    The repeat victory is the first in the competitions history!

    The college bowl is a Jeopardy-style quiz when student teams showcase their knowledge in areas such as Exercise Physiology, Anatomy, Biomechanics, and Clinical Exercise Physiology. 

    The competitions included 12 teams from schools in the region, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Washington DC, and New York State. Team members included Katrina Wilhite, Steven Mosey, and Brandt Beck (pictured below).

    EXPH - Networking 1

    In 2012, team members included Brandon Winters, Irene Boyle, Ryan Seiler, and alternate Jennifer Nicholson. After winning the regional competition, the teams competed in the National finals at the ACSM meeting in Indianapolis, IN and Orlando, FL. The team finished in 5th place in Indianapolis and 3rd place in Orlando (pictured below).

    EXPH - Networking 2

    Research Presentation

    EXPH - Networking Seth Gray

    At the 2013 MARC Conference, Seth Gray presented a poster titled "The Relationship between Aerobic Fitness, BMI, and Measures of Perception while at Very High Altitude."  Co-Authors on this work include Daniel Drozdowsky and Marie Schoenenberger of the environmental engineering program, as well as Dr. Kristofer Wisniewski and Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald.  This work was the result of the groups trip to Bolivia in the summer of 2013, along with the environmental engineering program lead  by Dr. Bill Strosnider. 

    EXPH Networking - Katrina Wilhite and Steven Mosey

    In November 2014, Katrina Wilhite and Steven Mosey presented their senior research project at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, in Harrisburg PA. The project was titled the "Association  Between Exercise Blood Pressure, Na+ Ingestion And Cold Pressor Test: A Pilot Study."

    EXPH Networking - Christopher Foore

    As part of his internship in the DiSepio Human Performance Lab, exercise physiology student, Christopher Foore, examined the physical activity habits of Saint Francis undergraduate and graduate students.  He presented this research as a poster titled “Are Saint Francis University students meeting current physical activity recommendations?” at the 2014 Saint Francis University Annual Student Research Day.

    EXPH Networking - Robert Nickels

    As part of his internship in the DiSepio Human Performance Lab, Exercise Physiology Student, Robert Nickels, examined the accuracy of rating exercise intensity in young adults during treadmill exercise.  He presented this research as a poster titled “How do individuals perceive aerobic exercise intensity?” at the 2015 Saint Francis University Annual Student Research Day.  Robert also received a $500 grant from the Saint Francis Office of Student Research to continue this research.

    Research

    Faculty Research Focus

    Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald

    My research interests include those of the applied and translational types. Principally these areas of interest include topics that will enhance what and how I teach. The greatest reward for me results from mentoring students in the research process. My recent research adventures have included describing the effects of traveling to very high altitude on student and faculty affective responses, ratings of perceived exertion, and resting and exercise physiological parameters. Other research interests are related to areas of body composition assessment, soldier performance, and educating strength practitioners on how to prevent heat related illness and death in clients and athletes.

    Dr. Kristofer Wisniewski

    My research focuses on the use of different perceptual measures in exercise testing and prescription. Specifically, I am interested in the beneficial effects of using Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to self-regulate exercise intensity over other common methods, such as using heart rate to judge intensity. The RPE scale is numbered from 0 to 10 and attempts to link a number to how hard a person feels they are exercising. The rationale is that the RPE scale is easier to use by both adults and children, and is not influenced by the factors that can alter a person's heart rate including the individual's body weight and fitness level, the environment, and various medications. I also have research experience in the effects of dietary and exercise interventions on weight loss in both adults and children. My other interests include barefoot/minimalist running, the relationship between flexibility and running performance, and muscle fat as a fuel source in athletes or a cause of Type 2 Diabetes in sedentary individuals. I am always open to other projects and ideas, and am willing to mentor students who wish to conduct their own research.

    Dr. Stephen LoRusso 

    My research interests are broad and cover a variety of topics. Most recently my work has focused on Exercise and Cancer. The specific areas are lifetime physical activity and cancer, and the effects of exercise on cancer biomarkers. Other areas of research include the use of exercise and its potential effects on musculoskeletal injuries and physical therapy. “Cross Education” is a paradigm whereby you strength train one limb to effect the strength in the opposite limb. This technique may be used post surgically, or following periods of immobility to augment strength loss in the involved limb. 

    Student Research Opportunities

    EXPH - Networking Seth Gray

    At the 2013 MARC Conference, Seth Gray presented a poster titled "The Relationship between Aerobic Fitness, BMI, and Measures of Perception while at Very High Altitude."  Co-Authors on this work include Daniel Drozdowsky and Marie Schoenenberger of the environmental engineering program, as well as Dr. Kristofer Wisniewski and Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald.  This work was the result of the groups trip to Bolivia in the summer of 2013, along with the environmental engineering program lead  by Dr. Bill Strosnider.

    EXPH Networking - Katrina Wilhite and Steven Mosey

    In November 2014, Katrina Wilhite and Steven Mosey presented their senior research project at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, in Harrisburg PA. The project was titled the "Association  Between Exercise Blood Pressure, Na+ Ingestion And Cold Pressor Test: A Pilot Study."

    EXPH Networking - Christopher Foore

    As part of his internship in the DiSepio Human Performance Lab, exercise physiology student, Christopher Foore, examined the physical activity habits of Saint Francis undergraduate and graduate students.  He presented this research as a poster titled “Are Saint Francis University students meeting current physical activity recommendations?” at the 2014 Saint Francis University Annual Student Research Day.

    EXPH Networking - Robert Nickels

    As part of his internship in the DiSepio Human Performance Lab, Exercise Physiology Student, Robert Nickels, examined the accuracy of rating exercise intensity in young adults during treadmill exercise.  He presented this research as a poster titled “How do individuals perceive aerobic exercise intensity?” at the 2015 Saint Francis University Annual Student Research Day.  Robert also received a $500 grant from the Saint Francis Office of Student Research to continue this research.

    International Research Opportunities

    EXPH - Research Bolivia 2013In May 2013, nine Saint Francis students had the opportunity to travel with three Saint Francis professors to the South American country of Bolivia. The group was a mix of students studying environmental engineering or exercise physiology.
    The main purpose of the journey to Bolivia was for students to conduct various scientific studies. Dr. Fitzgerald led the exercise physiology students in conducting research on the effects of high altitude on a person's body and oxygen saturation levels. During the trip, the participants were consistently at an elevation of 14,000 to 16,000 feet. At Saint Francis, the elevation is about 2,000 feet. Therefore, the oxygen levels in the air were much lower in Bolivia than what students were accustomed to at home. Testing was done on the participants prior to, during, and immediately following the trip to Bolivia. These tests showed the effects of living and working at high altitude as well as how the body and oxygen saturation levels change upon returning to a lower elevation after becoming accustomed to the high elevation.

    Clubs

    Exercise Physiology Club (EXPO)

    Get Involved! “EXPO” is the student exercise physiology club. The purpose of this organization is to represent all exercise physiology majors and the university community by providing information and services associated with the profession of exercise physiology. Not only can you join a social club to talk about all things Exercise, but also to serve as a fund raising and outreach organization for the major. Membership is open to all currently enrolled full-time students. In addition to participating in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine and the Academic College Bowl, Expo also participates in fund-raising events such as...

    Annual Run with LoRusso 5K

    EXPH Clubs - Run with LoRusso 5K

    The Run with LoRusso 5K, which is held in the spring, raises money to support the trip to the National ACSM meeting, as well as other special projects or events we may wish to have, such as inviting speakers to campus. Plus it’s a lot of fun!

    Fitness Games

    EXPH Clubs - Fitness Games

    Who is the fittest on campus? The Exercise Physiology Club holds an annual Fitness Games competition. The competition consists of a team made up of four members to compete in a Cross-fit style manner. The events are physically demanding so being crowned the fittest is not easy. Prizes are awarded and music and entertainment is provided.

    Internships

    EXPH - Internships

    Exercise Physiologists may practice in a variety of settings, with most positions requiring experience with hands-on skills. Classroom courses aim to develop a knowledge base in Exercise Physiology and to improve analytical skills. The main objectives for the internship/practicum are for students to further develop their problem-solving abilities, their interpersonal communication skills, and to become ready to seek full-time employment. Internship/practicum education is a vital part of the total curriculum.

    In order for students to be educated as Exercise Physiologists they must be competent in a variety of settings.

    The Saint Francis Exercise Physiology program offers site assignments in the following areas:

    • Athletic Training
    • Cardiac Rehabilitation
    • Community Health & Wellness
    • Fitness Facility Management
    • Prosthetics and Orthotics
    • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
    • Research
    • Sports Performance Enhancement
    • Strength & Conditioning
    • And more!
    Facilities

    The DiSepio Institute for Rural Health & Wellness

    EXPH Facilities - DiSepioThe DiSepio Institute for Rural Health & Wellness is state-of-the art 30,000 square foot education and research center provides a clinical training area for students as well as an outreach services for under-served rural populations near the university. It houses a student health center, rehabilitation services, a human performance lab. fitness and spiritual wellness areas, and conference facilities.

    Human Performance Lab

    EXPH Facilities - DiSepio HPLThe DiSepio Institute's Human Performance Lab (HPL) is a state-of-the-art facility offering the latest in physical fitness assessments. Through a combination of cutting-edge technologies and world class multidisciplinary experts, including exercise physiologists and physical therapists, the HPL enables individuals to attain their maximum physical conditioning. Using a preventative model of care combined with in-depth assessment tools, the HPL staff can help people of all-ages accomplish their goals by clearly identifying their current health and fitness status and establishing a road map forward.

    Study Abroad

    Service Learning: Hugs Mission Trip

    EXPH Study Abroad - HUGS Spring Break

    The Hugs United Spring Break Mission Trip is comprised of a dedicated group of volunteers of students, faculty, and alumni head to the Dominican Republic to work closely with an orphanage and provide much needed love and support. A team that includes students from Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant Science, Nursing, and Education departments help administer health services for patients and children.  It is exciting to see so many of our students dedicate their break to providing medical service in this truly blessed service-learning opportunity.

    International Research Opportunities

    EXPH - Research Bolivia 2013

    In May 2013, nine Saint Francis students had the opportunity to travel with three SFU professors to the South American country of Bolivia. The group was a mix of students studying Environmental Engineering or Exercise Physiology.

    The main purpose of the journey to Bolivia was for students to conduct various scientific studies. Dr. Fitzgerald led the Exercise Physiology students in conducting research on the effects of high altitude on a person's body and oxygen saturation levels. During the trip, the participants were consistently at 14,000 to 16,000 feet of elevation. At Saint Francis, the elevation is about 2,000 feet. Therefore, the oxygen levels in the air were much lower in Bolivia than what students were accustomed to at home.Testing was done on the participants prior to, during, and immediately following the trip to Bolivia. These tests showed the effects of living and working at high altitude as well as how the body and oxygen saturation levels change upon returning to a lower elevation after becoming accustomed to the high elevation.