James Madison University

Alec McKenzie Shares Research Experience

Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology - Exercise Science, Class of 2013

Under the mentorship of Dr. Nick Luden, senior Exercise Science student Alec McKenzie is submerged in research this semester. He wrote the following about his experience.

PHOTO: Alec McKenzie

About Alec

I became interested in research through the material that is covered in the upper level kinesiology courses. I have been physically active my whole life but connecting the physiological adaptations and responses we learn about to what I have experienced makes my courses enjoyable. I decided I wanted to be involved in research my junior year when I volunteered to be a subject in a study going on in the human performance lab. I had to wake up early and do two VO2max tests but I still really enjoyed the environment and learning about what was going on. I was required to complete a practicum my senior year and after having experienced being in the lab, I decided that I wanted to work in the lab and help collect data. I chose to help with the RecIT study and work mostly with Andrew DíLugos. My responsibilities now are to be present during all the treatment trials and soon we plan to begin analyzing the data collected thus far. Currently, I spend around 30 hours a week in the lab. Iím also enrolled in Dr. Saundersí KIN 428 course which also places a heavy emphasis on exercise science research so I feel completely submerged in research but I still really enjoy every part of it.

About the Study

The research study Iím involved with now is basically about the effects of a nutrition intervention on experienced cyclistís performance. There are two phases each subject must complete and each phase consists of 5 time trials, 3 VO2 max tests, and 3 muscle biopsies taken from the vastus lateralis.

For the Future

My immediate professional aspirations are to attend an exercise science masterís program where I can continue my involvement in research. I really enjoy the environment the lab provides. Itís refreshing to be around students and professors that are interested in what Iím interested in and that are also so motivated to continue learning. Working in the lab has taken up a lot of time this semester but itís the best learning experience Iíve had at JMU and I wouldnít change any of it.