SC State student captures first place at national research symposium

Monday, April 22, 2013

A SC State University student took home the coveted first place win at a national research competition for outstanding poster presentation in the category of Food Safety, Nutrition and Health.
Junior Rebecca Dale competed for the top prize at the 17th Biennial Research Symposium, hosted by the Association of Research Directors, held April 6-10 in Jacksonville, Fla. Dale defeated nearly 40 student competitors who are also earning degrees at the nation’s 1890 land-grant institutions.

R. DaleThe win astonished Dale, a member of the Lady Bulldogs soccer team.

“I was surprised because I never really win anything. I prepared by practicing and participating in the mock presentations that the 1890 Research Program held for students participating in the competitions,” said Dale, who noted a fear of public speaking. “I thought the presentation went well and that I pre­sented my information well; but, you just never know what the judges think of your work.”

A psychology major from Karlskrona, Sweden, Dale received a plaque and a $300 award for presenting, “The Correlation between a Soccer Coach’s Per­ception of Players’ Strength and Endurance and Physiological Measures.”

As part of the project, Dale recruited several of her teammates to measure their fatigue when performing physical activity. The subjects performed strength and endurance tests before and after their two-week intensive pre-season training on a HUMAC Norm machine, common equipment used in exercise science and physiotherapy research.

Dale compared the measurements with the outcomes that SC State strength and fitness coach, Marcus James, perceived the players would achieve. While the coach did predict the players’ rankings of strength and endurance with a positive correlation, it was not found statistically significant in differences in strength or endurance from the pre- to post-testing.  What was significant, however, is that in order to analyze the fatigue index, which was the measure used for muscular endurance, Dale had to investigate each subjects’ data curve individually.  

Under the guidance of her research mentor, Health Sciences Professor Dr. Barry A. Frishberg, she developed a superior formula to calculate the fatigue index and has recommended that the manufacturer of the HUMAC Norm ma­chine alter its program’s calculations to provide a more accurate picture of muscular endurance and fatigue. By looking at the individual curves, Dale and Frishberg were able to come up with a more flexible approach that yield­ed a truer picture of endurance.

Dale, along with other SC State students, faculty and staff, attended and par­ticipated in the symposium. In all, 19 undergraduate and graduate students from SC State competed and presented on research projects whose topics ranged from reducing the presence of E.coli from beef products, understand­ing the economic impact of  corn exports in the southeastern region of the U.S.  due to the Panama Canal expansion to combatting obesity through the use of technology. Several faculty members, who are conducting 1890 Re­search-funded studies also presented non-competitively.

“The 1890 Research Program is extremely proud of Rebecca Dale’s accom­plishment in winning first place, and we are equally pleased with the excel­lence in knowledge which our students demonstrated in the oral and poster presentation competitions,” said Dr. Louis Whitesides. “Likewise, the faculty research presentations were well received by peer institutions. The universi­ty’s participation in the Association of Research Directors’ symposium con­tinues to serve as a fine example of this institution’s capability to conduct life-changing research,” he continued.

The association, in cooperation with federal, state and private partners, pro­vides coordination of research initiatives among its 18-member 1890 institu­tions, historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890.

Held every other year, the forum allows the nation’s 1890 institutions and its partnering agencies opportunities to discuss how they are providing solutions, through research, scholarship and public service, to the varied and complex national and global challenges in the areas of: food security and hunger; cli­mate change; sustainable energy; childhood obesity and food safety.