MEET OUR DOCTORAL STUDENTS
Jessica Downs is from Currituck, North Carolina. She did her undergraduate work at East Carolina University in Exercise Physiology. It was during her undergraduate degree that she learned about biomechanics and within the year she knew that was what she wanted to do. As a sports fan and former softball player who encountered numerous injuries over the years, she knew that she wanted her research focus to be injury prevention sports biomechanics. This passion lead her to the Sports Medicine and Movement Laboratory at Auburn University for her master’s degree. She said, "My master’s degree provided me the opportunity to work with one of the best baseball/softball researchers in the country, Dr. Oliver." Jessica graduated with her Master of Science in 2017 and is now a second-year doctoral student. She has several different projects going on that range from examining the association between kinematics and hand velocity for improved performance in softball hitters to the effect of different pitch types on kinetics in collegiate softball pitchers and the differences in degree of humeral retroversion in softball, baseball, and non-overhead throwing athletes.
Kenzie Friesen is originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She completed her undergraduate and master’s programs at Liberty University. She decided to complete her PhD work in the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab because of her own interest with softball pitching and injury prevention. Kenzie is a part of Team Canada's softball athlete pool and works to apply her studies and research to her own experience pitching. Currently she is in the beginning stages of her dissertation work focusing on body composition and the associated effects on softball pitching biomechanics.
Kevin Giordano is a second year PhD student in the Sports Medicine and Movement Laboratory. Kevin states, “I came to this lab because of its productivity in producing quality publications and the alignment of my research interests in preventing injury and kinetic chain influence in overhead athletes.” Kevin was born in Northern Virginia but has spent most of his upbringing in Colorado Springs. He went to college at Creighton University for his undergraduate work, where he played baseball. He also completed his physical therapy degree at Creighton. One of Kevin’s current studies involves manual mobilization of participants cervical spines and looking for its effects on shoulder rotation strength. This is applicable across the population from athletes to middle aged workers with postural deficits due to prolonged sitting. He enjoys this study, because it directly looks at a common treatment that he would do on clinic and looks at its impact, as well as brings light to the fact that the nerves coming from the neck can impact the shoulder.
Kyle Wasserberger is a second-year doctoral student who is originally from Spring Lake, Michigan. He finished his undergraduate studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan before completing his Master of Science at Auburn University. Kyle choose to study in the Sports Movement and Medicine Lab because of its reputation for high-quality baseball and softball research. He is currently pursing projects related to the energetics of baseball and softball pitching and using inter-segmental energy transfer to quantify pitching efficiency. He is also investigating the biomechanical relevancy of clinical internal and external rotation strength testing for baseball pitchers.
Kyle recorded a podcast on Baseball Biomechanics for UNLV's PhD Podcast. You can listen to the full episode below.
Nicole Bordelon is a first-year doctoral student from southern California. She received her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology and Health from California State University, San Bernardino and a master's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Wyoming. She joined the Sports Medicine and Movement Laboratory team to receive the highest quality education in baseball and softball performance enhancement and injury prevention. She plans to pursue a career as a sport biomechanist and is currently working on a strength and conditioning project analyzing the effects of load magnitude and placement on muscle activity during unilateral weighted dumbbell carries.
Abby Brittain is from Memphis, Tennessee. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science at Auburn University in the School of Kinesiology. Abby began working in the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab in the fall of 2016 as a freshman. She chose to work under Dr. Oliver because of her previous softball experience and desire to study biomechanics. Currently Abby’s research focuses on movement screening and injury prevention for youth athletes and the general population. She is also conducting two systematic reviews regarding the effects of methamphetamine and cannabis on motor control and function.
ANNE DE SWART
Anne de Swart is from The Netherlands and just completed her visiting scholar internship with the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab. She completed her undergraduate degree in Human Movement Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. Currently, Anne is working on her master’s research project about the change in energy flow during a baseball pitch over a simulated game. Anne choose to study in the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab to gain experience with a lab that specializes in baseball analysis. Anne will continue to work with the lab while she is back in The Netherlands analyzing her data and focusing on producing a manuscript on the energy flow over a simulated game.