Invaluable Research Experience
Star Long ’23 came to DePauw with plans to major in kinesiology, go off to graduate school and become a physical therapist. And so far, she’s right on track. With senior year – and grad school applications – fast approaching, Long has spent the past 10 weeks in one-on-one research with kinesiology professor Brian Wright, putting the final touches on her academic resume.
This summer, Long and Wright have been using motion capture to measure something familiar to almost anyone in Indiana: a free throw shot. By analyzing kinematic variables – how a free throw shooter’s body moves through the shot motion – they could learn not only how to improve someone’s technique, but also how to speed healing an injury that might affect performance.
“Not only am I learning how to conduct research,” Long said, “but I’m getting a head start on my senior thesis, and it will all help with grad school.”
When it comes to student-faculty research, Wright said he and his colleagues in kinesiology offer a wide range of opportunities for students. “My educational background is in cardiopulmonary physiology,” he said. “But a lot of research experiences that I’ve had over the years have actually expanded into biomechanics. Having that flexibility has been really great to offer students the opportunity to have a little bit more choice in some of their projects.”
Wright said student-faculty research in the department is a team effort, “and that’s an important lesson for the student because that’s how science works. My goal is always to try to ensure that the project gives the student an opportunity to present at a regional conference, which this project most certainly will.”
Involvement: allocations board member; former women’s basketball team member