Our Students

Experiencing research through the eyes of subject and scientist motivates one student to learn more

Jess Dahmus knows that the College of Health and Human Development and Penn State can give her the education she needs to succeed in life. She has been active in several student organizations (treasurer of the Tennis Club and member of the Kinesiology Club), but her mind comes to life in the research lab.

Her first experience in the lab was as a subject during her first year at Penn State. Researchers were testing an approach to an experiment examining hypertension that used microdialysis. After discussing the science behind the experiment with the researchers, her interest in research piqued. She became more involved with the researchers (Dr. Lacy Holowatz, assistant professor of kinesiology, and Dr. Larry Kenney, professor of physiology and kinesiology) as a research assistant, and she gradually gained enough knowledge and expertise to run her own experiment.

Using the cutting-edge equipment available through the Department of Kinesiology, Jess has been examining how dehydration affects people who use Plavix and aspirin. The work she does in the lab will form the basis of Jess’ honors thesis, which is something all Schreyer Scolars have to do at Penn State.

The Movement Science option has allowed Jess not only to become involved in cutting-edge research, but to develop close friendships, too. In her core Kinesiology classes, she sees the same group of people, and because of this she has been able to develop lasting friendships.

After graduation, Jess plans on attending medical school to become an emergency room doctor, a role that will allow her to “see and help as many people as possible,” she says. The Kinesiology major, she says, is the best preparation for this pursuit. “The Exercise Science option is the best way to go, for people interested in going on to medical school. It deals with exercise and it also is so ingrained with biology; you really get a good sense of how the science applies to people.”