Patrick Saracino

Did you receive any recognition (awards, publications, scholarship) for your applied learning experience?
Ann Sherman Skiba Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award
Briefly describe your applied learning experience

I am currently working on my Honors project mentored by Dr. Lisa Sprod. This study aims to investigate the effect of common warm-up modalities on jump performance in the youth football player population. A vertical jump test and a standing broad jump test are used to determine the acute effects of static stretching, dynamic warm-up, and no stretch conditions on jump performance of the student-athletes.

Did you receive any grants or other funding for your applied learning experience?
How did you get involved in this applied learning experience and what did you hope to gain from it?

Having read countless scholarly articles for personal development as a fitness professional, I became interested in the idea of conducting my own research while enrolled at UNCW. While searching for a way to make this happen, I learned about the opportunity to conduct an Honors project through the Honors College of UNCW. I expressed interest to my current faculty mentor, Dr. Sprod. We discussed the idea, and began planning the project. My ultimate goal is to pursue a graduate degree in Exercise Science. From this applied learning experience, I hope to gain knowledge and experience that will be beneficial both to my pursuit of higher education as well as for my own professional development.

What did you gain from this experience? What was challenging? What did you learn?

From this Honors project, I gained a much better understanding of what goes into planning and conducting research, collecting and analyzing data, and disseminating the data via a scholarly article. Because we specifically targeted youth athletes under age 18 as participants (considered a special population), approval by both the UNCW IRB and the participating high school had to be obtained. This was the most challenging aspect of the project. I learned a great deal about writing and submitting research request proposals. This research project also taught me to adapt as unexpected variables presented themselves. This will be an incredibly valuable lesson, for this will undoubtedly be a recurring situation as I continue my academic and professional development.

In what way will this experience make you a more viable candidate when you are seeking a job or applying for graduate study?

Research is a required component of many graduate programs. By having experience developing and conducting undergraduate research at UNCW, I will have gained invaluable knowledge and an experience beyond that of a typical undergraduate pursing a bachelor's degree.