Erin Waterman

Erin Waterman
Mentor: Dr. Stephen Coombes
College of Health and Human Performance
"The reason I got involved in research is because I enjoy learning through practice. Inclusive Fitness and Unified Sports (IFUS) is a community-based participatory research program that aims to increase the quality of life of students ages eighteen to twenty-two with intellectual disabilities. Volunteers work with students as exercise buddies and participate in fitness and sport activities. The more time that I spent at the program, the more curious I became about how we could improve the lives of these students and enable them to reach their full potential. The reason that I got involved with research is that I started asking questions that I could not find the answer to."


Applied Physiology and Kinesiology



Research Interests

  • Developmental disabilities
  • Rehabilitation sciences
  • Exercise interventions

Academic Awards

  • Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Scholarship
  • President's Honor Roll
  • Dean's List
  • University Scholars Program 2016


  • Outdoor Adventure Recreation (OAR)
  • Phi Epsilon Kappa (PEK)
  • Tri-Gators


  • Inclusive Fitness and Unified Sports (IFUS)
  • Camp Boggy Creek
  • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Hobbies and Interests

  • Sports
  • Fitness
  • Adventuring in the wilderness
  • Reading

Research Description

Effects of Exercise on Students with Intellectual Disabilities 
Adaptive behavior is the collection of conceptual, practical, and social skills that have been learned and are executed in everyday life. Individuals with an intellectual disability exhibit impaired adaptive behaviors. Impaired adaptive behaviors result in decreased independence. Exercise has been shown to increase the physical and cognitive functioning of individuals with an intellectual disability but it has not been analyzed with respect to adaptive behavior. My goal is to determine if exercise can improve adaptive behavior for individuals with intellectual disabilities.