UNT KHPR students win multiple awards at TACSM meeting

By Mary Murphy

College of Education students Melody Gary, Andrea Henning and Danielle Levitt recently won awards at the Texas American College of Sports Medicine (TACSM) Annual Meeting held March 3 and 4 at Texas A&M University.

Gary,a senior majoring in Kinesiology, was awarded the Undergraduate Major of the Year at UNT award as well as a TACSM Poster Presentation Award, which was decided by a vote of the attendees at the TACSM meeting.

Gary won the Poster Presentation Award for her presentation about a new novice total body strength training system called the Fish and Kangaroo Machine. Gary looked at several cardiac, metabolic and lactate measures in order to compare the Fish and Kangaroo machine with a cycle ergometer to see which gave a more productive cardio workout.

"This recognition makes me feel proud of my accomplishments, but humbled at the same time because I was chosen to represent UNT," Gary said. "This makes me anticipate what amazing opportunity is coming up next for me, and hold to this standard of excellence to accomplish it."

Levitt, a doctoral student in the Departments of Biology and Kinesiology, received second place in TACSM's manuscript competition and a $1,500 doctoral research award. Levitt plans to use her award to support her study on how alcohol consumption affects the response of mTOR signaling pathways to resistance exercise, and how this varying pathway response causes the body to respond differently to such exercise after alcohol consumption.

Levitt's award-winning manuscript, "The effect of post-resistance exercise alcohol ingestion on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated cytokines," was published in the April 2016 issue of the prestigious European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Henning, a doctoral student in the Departments of Biology and Kinesiology, also received a $1,500 doctoral research award from TACSM. She will use the funding to support her research on how consumption of a high-fat meal changes the immune cells in the blood to form plaque.

According to Jakob Vingren, an associate professor and co-director of the Applied Physiology Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation, said the TACSM awards highlight the strength of UNT's Exercise Science program and its students.

"Almost 100 of the top students in Kinesiology from Texas and neighboring states competed for these awards," Vingren said. "Winning several of these award supports the high quality of our students and their academic preparation."