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Exercise Science Major Attends International Conference

Exercise science student Jessica Zeiner uses motion capture technology in the human performance lab at Lebanon Valley College

It’s not every day that an undergraduate student finds themselves at an international conference networking with professors, scientists, and other professionals in their field of study.

In fact, at the XV International Symposium on 3-D Analysis of Human Movement in England, there was only one undergraduate student in attendance—LVC’s Jessica Zeiner ’19.

Zeiner, one of the College’s first students in the newly-created exercise science major, shared some of her thoughts on this incredible opportunity.


What prompted you to attend the conference?

Dr. [Georgios] Stylianides [associate professor of exercise science and director of the Lewis Health Performance Lab] invited the students in his class. Immediately after that lecture, I knew I was interested. Being able to apply what I have learned and see things in 3D is what really drew my interest. While learning any new information, I tend to learn better with visuals. 


What have you gained from this experience?

I was introduced to an entirely new pathway my major can pursue. Obviously, I knew that research took place in the exercise science field, but I had no idea about the depth. It was amazing to meet graduate students, professors, and scientists from around the world, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Thailand, Canada, Japan, and others from many different fields of study including biomechanics, physiotherapy, orthotics, and prosthetics. Not only did I get to meet these individuals, but I also now have a global network and community. 


How are you applying lessons learned to your major, especially with the new Lewis Health Performance Lab?

I was never one to ‘enjoy’ research, but this experience has opened my eyes to a new dimension of research available through exercise science and human performance. Two of the companies we purchased equipment from attended the conference as well, Motion Analysis and Delsys, and I had conversations with the representatives for both. Through this, I gained knowledge about the research technology that LVC exercise science students have at our fingertips. It is like nothing I have seen before.  


What was one of the most impactful moments of the conference?

Being an athlete, I have worked with Coach [Jared] Hatz in the weight room. The first keynote speaker, Dr. Mounir Zok, spoke about technology, innovation, and the super-athlete. He works with the U.S. Olympic team and maximizing all aspects of being a world-class athlete. One of his first statements put a smile on my face—“How do athletes find that 1% edge?” I immediately thought of Coach Hatz and the passion he shows working with our athletes at LVC. 

Dr. Zok focused more on where the technology is going to help athletes find that edge, but also spoke about a man who inspired me from a young age—Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Dr. Zok shared some of his experiences working with Phelps, including the understanding that when he was coming back to the competitive life, what he was doing in the water wasn’t going to cut it. He needed to optimize time out of the water, including maximizing his sleep time. As he went into detail about new technologies being developed for athletes at the super level, I could not help but think about how my possible research could impact future athletes at LVC, or even how athletes at LVC could help our new research environment. I see a lot of opportunity and potential with these new Arnold Health Profession Pavilion labs.  


Note: Lebanon Valley College opened the $20 million Jeanne and Edward H. Arnold Health Professions Pavilion in August 2018.