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Seven undergraduate students from the School of Kinesiology were awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowships from Auburn University for the 2024-25 academic year. The recipients are Reagan Boledovic, Marleigh Green, Aubrey Harrell, Caroline Keller, Aubrie Lisenby, Elizabeth Wheeler and Clay Williams. 

"One of the hallmarks of the School of Kinesiology is the opportunity for our undergraduate students to participate in research," said School of Kinesiology Director Mary Rudisill. "Our faculty members understand the importance of giving our students that experience to prepare them for their goals, whether that is continuing education or going straight into a career. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional research opportunities for all students, including our undergraduates, because it allows them to not just assist with research, but also author papers, present at conferences, and in many cases, earn funding for their education. It is remarkable to have seven kinesiology students receive Undergraduate Research Fellowships from Auburn, and we are appreciative of the university for recognizing their hard work."

Reagan Boledovic

Boledovic, an exercise science major who plans to graduate in May 2026, conducts research under the mentorship of JoEllen Sefton, professor and director of the Warrior Research Center. The work of the Warrior Research Center aligns with Boledovic’s career goal: to become a prosthetic physical therapist and work with veterans and other tactical athletes who are recovering from amputations. 

“My work with Dr. Sefton and the graduate students in the lab has allowed me to gain hands-on experience in different fields of exercise science research and find my interests,” she said. “I have also been able to develop valuable skills that I could not learn from a lecture. Getting involved in research is one of the best decisions I have made since being at Auburn.” 

Marleigh Green 

Green is double-majoring in exercise science and nutrition with plans to graduate in May 2025, at which time she will pursue a master’s degree in nutrition followed by further studies focusing on sports medicine, either through physician’s assistant school or medical school.

While she’s still working on her undergraduate degrees, she is working in the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab under the mentorship of lab director and professor Gretchen Oliver and doctoral student Adam Nebel, who is the graduate assistant of sports science for Auburn Baseball.

“Participating in undergraduate research has profoundly influenced the course of my college journey,” she said. “I've been fortunate to find invaluable mentors through this experience, whose praise I can't emphasize enough. Their guidance and support over the past two years have enriched me with knowledge and wisdom. Moreover, this journey has equipped me with skills that will prove valuable in my future career endeavors. Additionally, it has afforded me the opportunity to travel to different places like Greenville, South Carolina, and Long Beach, California, enabling me to expand my network and forge new connections.”

Aubrey Harrell

Harrell will be graduating in May 2025 with a degree in exercise science, and then she plans to attend physical therapy school. She conducts research under the mentorship of Jaimie Roper, director of the Locomotor and Movement Control Lab. She has used equipment such as the split-belt treadmill to analyze gait adaptation in younger adults with model training.

“My fellow researchers within the Locomotor and Movement Control Lab are incredibly supportive and loving and genuinely want to see me succeed,” Harrell said. “They push me to be better and to keep fighting hard for my dreams of becoming a physical therapist and beyond. All of my work has to be the best of my ability and I have to be okay with putting my ideas out there. This has created good habits and a professional voice I did not realize I had until working with them. Undergraduate research has really transformed both my professional and personal experience here at Auburn and I would not have it any other way.”

Caroline Keller 

Keller is an exercise science major with an anticipated graduation date of May 2025. She works in the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab working with softball and baseball, and she will be conducting a study on how ball size has an impact on shoulder and elbow kinetics in youth baseball pitchers. After graduation, she plans to attend physical therapy school. 

“Being involved in the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab has been the most informative and enhancing part of my education at Auburn so far,” she said. “It is one thing to learn about things in class, but it is a completely different ballgame when you get to see those things in real life. That is what working in this lab has done for me. My brain can better comprehend kinesiology, and it has truly been a confirmation that I am in the right field.”

Elizabeth Wheeler 

Wheeler is pursuing a degree in exercise science with an expected graduation day of May 2025. Upon graduating, she plans to further her education and become a physical therapist, specializing in healing and preventing injuries and discomforts in runners. She is conducting research in the Sport Biomechanics Lab under the mentorship of Associate Clinical Professor Christopher Wilburn. She and Dr. Wilburn are investigating how the intrinsic properties of the Achilles tendon, as assessed by ultrasound imaging, correlate with arch height and foot biomechanics during walking.

“My time as an undergraduate researcher in the Sport Biomechanics Lab has provided me with numerous opportunities to learn and grow as a student,” she said. “The graduate students and professors in this lab have pushed me outside of my comfort zone so I can reach my fullest potential as a student. Undergraduate research has enhanced my curiosity about the body and its mechanics which has increased my desire and anticipation of learning about it in graduate school.”

Aubrie Lisenby

Lisenby is pursuing a degree in biomedical sciences with a minor in sports coaching, and she anticipates graduating in Spring 2025. During her undergraduate studies, she has conducted research in the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab under the mentorship of Director Gretchen Oliver and doctoral student Anthony Fava. She is researching how the rear foot center of pressure affects the application of forces within a division one college softball swing.  

“Undergraduate research has enhanced my college experience because I have been able to pursue both of my passions at once, softball and science,” she said. “I have learned so much throughout this process and it has given me the confidence that I will be capable of achieving my post-graduation goal of becoming a doctor.”

Clay Williams

Williams is expecting to graduate in May 2025 with a degree in exercise science, and he hopes to attend physical therapy school in the state of Alabama after graduation. While he is working on his undergraduate degree, he is conducting research in the Locomotor and Movement Control Lab under the mentorship of Lab Director Jaimie Roper. His responsibilities include assisting in data collection and processing, as well as running actual trials to collect date. Once the data is collected, he works on processing it so it can be analyzed.

“Undergraduate research has greatly enhanced my college experience by allowing me to apply what I learn in the classroom, develop a community with other interns and graduate students, and feel motivated and accomplished in my work,” he said.