First Year Graduate Student Awarded Competitive NSCA Foundation Grant
Emily Horsch-Martinez, a first-year student in the Master of Science in Kinesiology program, was recently awarded a competitive $25,000 grant through the National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation – one of only two nationwide.
Horsch began her studies in the MS KIN program in January 2020, following four years of study in the department’s undergraduate program and her work in the Fitness in the Golden Age program. Under the supervision of her mentor, Dr. Sandor Dorgo, who directs both the Golden Age program and the department’s Fitness Research Facility, Horsch was lead writer on the grant requesting support to implement the Young Stars Strength and Conditioning Program. Horsch credits Dorgo and her fellow student researchers in the Fitness Research Facility for a smooth first experience in grant writing, saying the grant design and writing process was “truly a team effort,” with each member contributing their particular area of expertise.
The Young Stars program, a project that the lab team has been “envisioning for several years,” aims to assess and compare the impact of an eight-month strength and conditioning (S&C) program in local El Paso high schools. The research team will design and facilitate the intervention, along with a group of undergraduate S&C interns, in three El Paso high schools with varsity and junior varsity sport programs. The program findings will have both local and national implications.
“Findings from the proposed study could significantly impact policy for high school athletic programs nationwide,” said Horsch. “At the institutional level, principals and athletic directors observe the significant impact that a well-structured and supervised S&C program can have on their students. Possibilities include reduced injury rates and improving their athletic, academic, and psychological performance. Thus, school boards may pledge to adopt an athletic staffing model that insists on a certified, full-time S&C coach.”
Along with her responsibilities in leading the implementation of the intervention, Horsch will continue assisting her research team colleagues with their research projects. After completing her master’s degree, she plans to pursue a degree in Physical Therapy at UTEP and continue to conduct research with a strength and conditioning focus.
As for her advice to aspiring student grant-writers, Horsch recommends seeking the advice of mentors and peers throughout the process and choosing a topic that they are truly passionate about.
“I benefited greatly from the guidance I received from those with more experience in the grant writing process as well as using the resources that were available. I also advise choosing a topic that interests you. This will make the writing process exciting and worthwhile.”
For more information about the Master of Science in Kinesiology Program, visit: https://www.utep.edu/chs/kinesiology/academic-programs/graduate/graduate-program.html
For more information about the Fitness Research Facility, visit: https://www.utep.edu/chs/fitness-research-facility/index.html