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Exercise Science Students Travel to Spain

December 4, 2013

Dr. Lonnie Lowery, assistant professor of human performance and sport business, and three senior exercise science majors, had the opportunity to travel to Spain in September to present their research from a caffeine study conducted at the University of Mount Union.

Lowery’s Scholarship in Exercise Science course collaborated with Dr. Jeff Buth, assistant professor of chemistry, in developing the groundwork for testing a new highly caffeinated coffee product and its effect on explosive exercise performance. Senior exercise science majors Caitlin Goggin of Mantua, OH; Mary Catherine Powers of Seven Hills, OH and Sarah Kirk of Broadview Heights, OH, members of the course, expressed their interest in continuing to work on the study by taking a follow up research course, as well as volunteering in the lab.

“Science and research are the foundation for any health care field, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and clinical exercise physiology,” said Kirk. “This research has taught us to reach a graduate school level of critical thinking.”

The group had the privilege of traveling to Spain to present their research at the International Congress on Nutrition (ICN). The ICN is a large conference that only takes place once every four years. The research was presented in the form of an E-Poster, which is a large LCD screen that displays their findings.

"It’s an honor to have our research accepted there,” said Lowery. “The broad international exposure to academics from all over the world enriched us all.”

Not only were they able to present their research, but the group was also able to explore Spain. They visited Alhambra, a historical Islamic Palace, as well as Mediterranean Coastal Villages.

“We learned a lot about the culture of Spain, which really tied in with the theme of the conference, Joining Cultures Through Nutrition,” said Powers.

The trip became a memorable experience for everyone involved.

“I am grateful that our science – and support from the University – can bring such things,” said Lowery.

The group will present follow-up research in 2014 examining whether men differ from women in their response to the coffee, as well as whether habituation to caffeine produces any benefits.

“This was such a beneficial experience with which we hope to lay the ground work for future students to have the same opportunity to present research in a real-world setting,” said Goggin.

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