Exercise science faculty and students present research at regional conference

Exercise science faculty and students present research at regional conference

April 28, 2019

A group of three Maryville College exercise science faculty members and seven MC exercise science majors attended the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine’s (SEACSM) annual meeting in Greenville, S.C., Feb. 14-16. SEACSM is the regional chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine.

“This conference provides our students and faculty the opportunity to attend scientific sessions hosted by some of the brightest minds in exercise science and has proven to be an enriching experience for faculty and students alike,” said Dr. Jeremy Steeves, assistant professor of exercise science, who added that this year’s group of 10 Maryville College representatives at the conference is the largest MC group that has attended the conference in recent years. “It is a very undergraduate student friendly conference with several special activities geared towards helping students meet and interact with others in a comfortable non-threatening environment. It is a wonderful opportunity for the students to gain an appreciation for many different levels and types of research and learn about an almost unlimited number of interesting research topics and questions that still need to be answered.”

Five senior exercise science majors had the opportunity to present their research.

Colby Beach ’19 of Maryville, Tenn.; Lilly Marttala ’19 of McMinnville, Tenn.; and Trevor Perry ’19 of Seymour, Tenn.; gave poster presentations and presented projects related to their Senior Study research.

Rasmus Callerhorn ’19 gave a thematic poster presentation for his project, titled “Differences in Characteristics and Behaviors of College Students Attempting to Lose or Gain Weight,” which required him to present to a group for five minutes, followed by five minutes of open questions during a 90-minute session on similarly-themed research on body composition, energy balance and weight control.

Callerhorn, who is from Sweden, said it was interesting to be grouped with people who studied similar research, and it was a “great first experience presenting the data and conclusion.”

He said the conference was a learning experience for him, and he enjoyed the lectures about various SEACSM policies or new research.

“It was extremely interesting research, since it was recent and related to my field of study,” he said. “There were opportunities to talk to people and get my foot in the door with some of the researchers or professors.”

Marigny Smith ’19 gave an oral presentation for her research on “College Students’ Resistance Training Habits and Motivations.” The research is part of her Senior Study, and she said it was exciting to have the opportunity to take the research beyond Maryville College and share it with a broader population.

Steeves said that giving an oral presentation at this conference – which required a 12-minute presentation during an oral free communications session on psychology, psychiatry and behavior – is “relatively rare, and getting one at her first professional conference as an undergraduate is exceptional.”

“I was one of the only undergraduate students presenting in my session, so it was definitely an intimidating situation,” said Smith, who is from Birmingham, Ala. “I received a lot of support from my classmates and advisors, as well as positive feedback from the audience. Multiple people came up to me after and said they were impressed that I was doing research at an undergraduate level.”

Smith described the SEACM conference as “a great experience,” and she enjoyed seeing so many presentations from a wide variety of topics.

“It was really interesting to learn about the current research going on in the field I am pursuing,” she said. “The conference also provided a lot of networking opportunities, with the main one being a graduate school fair. Many different schools were there representing a variety of different programs. Even though I had already committed to a graduate school, it was helpful to talk to representatives about the different programs and curriculums.”

Additionally, two students attended the conference with the group: Emilianne Guigou ’22 of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Meagan Eiselstein ’21 of Hixson, Tenn.

Steeves, along with Dr. Traci Haydu, chair of the MC Division of Education and associate professor of exercise science, and Jennifer Oody, MC assistant professor of exercise science, presented with colleagues from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and University of Tennessee-Knoxville in a joint symposium, titled “Exercise is Medicine: Going for Gold, Lessons Learned from Small, Medium and Large Campuses.” The Maryville College Faculty Development Committee awarded the three professors $2,466 from the Naylor Fund to help cover the costs associated with attending and presenting at the conference.

Steeves and Oody also served in a leadership capacity at the conference as chairs of sessions.

“Attending and presenting at conferences like this is good for our students, as it provides learning, career development and networking opportunities,” Steeves said. “Specifically, the poster presentation sessions are a low-pressure atmosphere that provide students the opportunity to share. Additionally, it provides a unique opportunity for them to engage in similar experiences with other students from other schools. It was impressive to see the students get excited about sharing what they worked so hard on for months with others. Students gain so much from getting out of the classroom and getting real-life practical research experiences. Attending such meetings with our students is also an important mentorship opportunity.”


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2019 semester is 1,148.