"I applied to the Scholars program to give my research ideas some publicity. I did months of literature review before applying to the Scholars program and I am confident that this 9-week exercise intervention will significantly improve the cognitive functioning of the study's participants. In this case, I would like for the results of my research to be well-know and understood. Hereby, others will be able to continue research in this area, and together, we will make a real difference in the lives of many. I am excited to learn more about clinical research methods and the process of writing a paper and submitting it to a journal. For this year I will strive for a 4.0 GPA and I will complete my honors thesis. For my last semester, I will be an intern at the University of Florida's Brain Rehabilitation Center, which is going to be awesome."
I am very interested in neuroscience and exercise-science related research. As an Exercise Physiology major I have learned the importance of regular exercise. I honestly believe that exercise is the most comprehensive and best form of medicine available. I love reading papers that deal with neuroprotection, neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, and neuronal regeneration. Research in these subject matters could make a very serious impact in the treatment of a vast array of diseases and disorders. I hope to contribute to the field of neurology and neurosurgery.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Southwest Florida Junior Golf Association Scholarship
- Florida Bright Futures
- Franklin Merit Scholarship
- Certified Personal Trainer: Personal Training Academy Global
- College of Health and Human Performance Ambassadors
- Supplemental Instruction Leaders of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Sidney Lanier Program
Coordinator and Research Assistant for the Sidney Lanier Program.
Hobbies and Interests
- Golfing, working out, fishing, and cooking.
The Effect of Low-Intensity Aerobic Exercise on the Cognitive Function of Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
With this project, I will seek to find the effect that low-intensity, aerobic exercise has on the cognitive function of students with a wide range of intellectual disabilities (IDs). IDs are the most prevalent of all developmental disabilities (affecting 1-3% of the population) and are characterized by an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) around or below 70 and struggles with social skills, communication, and self-care. However, several large sample meta-analyses and research syntheses have reported that exercise induces significant improvements across a wide range of cognitive faculties. There are several mechanisms that can offer an explanation to this exercise-cognition phenomenon, but the exercise protocol of this study is designed to maximally induce neuroplasticity and neurogenesis; which should, in turn, yield improvements in cognitive function. In this study, fifteen young adults with intellectual disabilities will participate in a nine week exercise intervention program. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday these students will exercise for 45-60 minutes and their heart rates will be maintained in the 120-140 BPM range. Cognitive function will be assessed before and after the nine week intervention. With three subtests of a large test battery, I will test the students’ general intellectual ability, cognitive efficiency, processing speed, cognitive fluency, broad attention, and executive processes. This study and future dose-response studies may lead to the development of an effective exercise therapy that may dismiss the presumed permanence of IDs. Increasingly, persons with IDs are searching for independence, but low graduation and employment rates remain a hindrance to their success. An effective exercise therapy may catalyze their integration into society, while also significantly lowering their health care costs.