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LETU students present wheelchair research

LONGVIEW, April 5, 2013-- LeTourneau University’s Wheels senior design team recently traveled to Austin to present student research at the annual meeting of the Texas chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (TACSM).

The wheels team presented research from their "on-campus" wheelchair studies that we had been working on months from September 2012, until February 2013.

They showed the measured results of wheelchair subjects (fellow students on campus) push two types of wheelchairs around on marked courses using the Motivation “Rough Terrain” wheelchair and the Whirlwind “Rough Rider” wheelchair.

The team split into three groups to write their abstracts and create posters for presentation at the conference.

One group, Anna and Emily, presented a poster comparing the energy cost of pushing the two types of wheelchairs in tight spaces and up and down a curb.

Another group presented a poster on the effects of having two different axle positions on the wheelchairs, on pushing efficiency.

A third team created a poster on comparing the energy cost of pushing both types of wheelchairs on rough and smooth ground.

TACSM is an academic conference where faculty, physicians, post-docs, graduate students and undergraduate students from many Texas universities present research to do with human performance.  The Wheels research on the impact of wheelchair design on the mobility of wheelchair users is a good fit.    The Wheels team work showcased the high academic standards at LeTourneau University     Nearly 500 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level students attended the event.

Students submitted an article beforehand and once at the conference, presented their poster in front of a live panel of judges, who stopped at each poster, asking questions of the student researchers and rating the posters in terms of the quality of their research presented.

“We also got to sit in on seminars, where graduate-level students presented their research on such topics as nutrition and obesity among young children,” said Nicole Leman, who attended and presented at the conference.  “Other seminars included a student bowl competition, like the television game ‘Jeopardy,’ where they asked questions about exercise science.”

The wheels team benefited from the hands-on experience in presenting research in front of professionals of exercise and health. Each student was involved in writing an abstract with their teammate beforehand; these abstracts were published in the International Journal of Exercise Science, and are available in full text on-line.

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