Community Engaged Scholarship - Biomechanics Lab Hosts Health Professions Academy
In honor of National Biomechanics Day, held this year on April 10th, the Stanley E. Fulton Biomechanics and Motor Behavior Laboratory hosted a group of thirteen high school students from the Socorro High School Health Professions Academy for a day of hands-on activities and demonstrations.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Eggleston, assistant professor of Kinesiology and lab director, the National Biomechanics Day movement has not only helped drive interest in the up-and-coming field of biomechanics, but also has helped in the effort to make science in general more appealing to school children.
“This day is not just about exposing students to biomechanics, but about using biomechanics as a vehicle to demonstrate how fun science is and how theory meets application. Biomechanics is unique in that it touches on each of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) components and thus, is a great sub-discipline to highlight the intricacies of sciences as a whole,” he said.
All of the lab’s master’s level and doctoral students participated in the day’s events, as did two of their undergraduate peers. The group decided to split the high school students into smaller groups of three or four to ensure there was little “down time” between activities taking place at five different stations – 1) balance and coordination; 2) muscle testing for leg strength; 3) simulated falls on a treadmill; 4) gauging the difficulty of completing specific tasks while using a walking work station; and 5) single and double leg balance testing with eyes opened and then closed.
According to Eggleston, the students enjoyed themselves and were eager to learn more about the science behind each activity. “We spoke to them about what each activity meant for human movement and from a physics perspective. This was to ensure they knew the theoretical foundation for the activity and were able to experience the practical application,” he said.
The high-school students weren’t the only beneficiaries of the day’s events. According to Eggleston, his decision to engage his lab members was intentional. “It allows them to them to get out of the monotony of grad school and to have fun while also teaching younger generations about science. It also helps them learn how to communicate our foundational ideas to others easily,” he said.
For more information about the Stanley E. Fulton Biomechanics and Motor Behavior Laboratory, please visit: https://www.utep.edu/chs/stanley-e-fulton-biomechanics-and-motor-behavior-laboratory/index.html