Category: Alumni of Kinesiology

KIP Students and Faculty Attend the 71st Annual American College of Sports Medicine Conference

Recently, doctoral student Kyle Wehmanen and Dr. Steven Elmer attended the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual conference in Boston. This year’s conference was particularly special as it marked the 70th birthday of the ACSM, a milestone celebrating seven decades of pioneering research and advancements in sports medicine and exercise science.

One of the highlights of the trip was when Kyle presented his research, titled “Metabolic Cost of Human Locomotion on Soft Terrain.” This project explores the energy expenditure associated with walking and bicycling on soft surfaces, such as sand. Speaking on the experience, Kyle stated, “Presenting my findings to such a knowledgeable and inquisitive audience was both energizing and exhilarating. The feedback I received was invaluable, sparking new ideas and directions for future research.”

Kyle Wehmanen presenting his research.

The conference was also a fantastic opportunity to network with future collaborators and mentors and to reconnect with former colleagues. It was wonderful to exchange ideas and discuss ongoing projects with individuals who share a passion for advancing our understanding of sports medicine.

Another significant highlight of the week was the keynote opening lecture delivered by Dr. Barry Franklin, titled “Physical Activity and Cardiorespiratory Fitness as Modulators of Health Outcomes: A Compelling Case Presented to the Medical Community.” Dr. Franklin’s presentation was both enlightening and inspiring, underscoring the profound impact of physical activity on health and longevity. His compelling arguments and extensive research resonated with the audience, reinforcing the importance of our work in this field. A link to Dr. Franklin’s review article published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, which includes Dr. Elmer as a co-author, can be found here.

Outside of the conference, Kyle also took the opportunity to experience some of Boston’s local culture. One of the more memorable moments was attending a Red Sox game at historic Fenway Park. The energy in the stadium was infectious, and it was a fantastic way to unwind and enjoy a classic American pastime.

Kyle (left) along with KIP alumni Isaac Wedig (left center) and colleagues from Northern Michigan University at Fenway Park.

In summary, attending the ACSM annual conference was a chance for KIP members to share research and learn from the best in the field. The keynote speeches and panel discussions covered a wide range of topics, from the latest advancements in exercise physiology to innovative approaches in injury prevention. Each session gave new insights and a deeper appreciation for the complexity and scope of sports medicine. Overall, the trip to Boston was an enriching experience and it reinforced importance in contributing to the field and provided new tools and connections to do so.

KIP and CMU-DPT Alum Brett Gervais Nominated as a Copper Shores Superior Educator

Brett Gervais is an alum of both the MTU KIP department in Exercise Science and the CMU Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) program. He was nominated as a Copper Shores Superior Educator for his role as a football and track and field coach in the Lake Linden-Hubbell school district. He is currently a physical therapist at Aspirus in Calumet. Congratulations to Brett for earning such a great honor and being a positive role model for so many student athletes in our local area.

KIP Alum and Faculty Published in Journal of Antioxidants

Professor Qing-Hui Chen, Professor Zhiying Shan, and Dr. Andrew Chapp, a former KIP doctoral student, have had a review article published in the Journal of Antioxidants titled “ Acetic Acid: An Underestimated Metabolite in Ethanol-Induced Changes in Regulating Cardiovascular Function.”

Dr. Chapp has worked on this research project since he started his PhD in 2013 in the KIP department. He is the lead author of this article.

From left to right: Andrew Chapp, Qing-Hui Chen, Mingjun Gu (Chen lab assistant)
Zhiying Shan

Former KIP Doctoral Student Published in the Journal of Applied Physiology

Former Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP) doctoral student Joshua Gonzalez ’21 (Ph.D. Integrative Physiology) and Professor William Cooke (KIP) are the co-authors of an article published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

The article is titled “Acute fasting reduces tolerance to progressive central hypovolemia in humans.”

In addition to his paper being published, it was also selected for “APSselect”, which is a monthly collection from the American Physiological Society (APS) that showcases some of the best recently published articles in physiological research.

Recent KIP Graduate Published in “Frontiers in Physiology”

Isaac Wedig, PhD

Dr. Isaac Wedig, who earned his PhD in Integrative Physiology in Spring 2023, had his dissertation manuscript published by Frontiers in Physiology. The article is titled “Blood Flow Restriction as a Potential Therapy to Restore Physical Function Following COVID-19 Infection.” It was included as a part of a special Research Topic on “Intervention for Prevention, Management of and Rehabilitation from COVID-19.” Learn more about Isaac’s research by reading the introduction below or the full article on Frontiers in Physiology‘s website.

KIP Alumni News

Dr. Steve Short graduated from Michigan Tech in 2010 with a dual bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Biological Sciences. After going to earn his doctorate in physical therapy, he joined the NBA’s Denver Nuggets as a physical therapist and assistant strength and conditioning coach. He currently services as the Vice President of Sports Medicine for the franchise. Read more about Dr. Short’s career path and his time as a standout MTU quarterback on the Iron Mountain Daily News’ website.

Abbie Laajala, who graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports and Fitness Management, has been promoted to Associate Athletic Director at Lake Superior State University. She has been working at LSSU since 2016. Read the entire announcement on LSSU’s website for more details about how Abbie made her way through the ranks to her new position.

Sports Administration Race: Jamie Dompier’s Race Well-Run

Jamie Dompier with a giant NCAA logo
Dompier attended an NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar in February 2020 at the NCAA HQ in Indianapolis!

Jamie Dompier ‘17 earned her Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Sports and Fitness Management and Management at Michigan Technological University. She has since embarked on a successful career in Sports Administration, currently serving as Assistant Director of Business Operations for Wisconsin Athletics. Prior to starting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison In September 2022, Dompier worked in the athletic departments at Virginia Commonwealth University and Texas A&M University. Here is an account of the race she has run.

Dompier Starts the Sports Administration Race at Michigan Tech

As a runner, Jamie Dompier knew where the finish line was and how to get there quickly and effectively. Her initial race plan was to study biological sciences and become a physician’s assistant in orthopedics or sports medicine. But as orientation at Tech neared, it seemed like the wrong race for her. “I realized while the health field is cool, it just didn’t feel like it was the right fit for me,” she said. “I still wanted to be involved in sports, though.”

Jamie Dompier
Jamie Dompier at Texas A & M in 2021

Recruited to run track for Michigan Tech, Dompier arrived on campus in the summer of 2013. She switched majors to sports and fitness management. And like most first-year students, she made another change. “I decided if I wanted to be in sports administration, I should have more of a business background. So that’s why I added a second degree in management,” she said. “For me, knowingly wanting to be in sports administration meant that I should have a broad business background so I can have a grasp on all aspects. The sports industry has everything from accounting/finance, marketing/promotions, sports medicine/athletic training/nutrition, compliance, human resources, development, etc. That was the reason why I got the two bachelor’s degrees.” The decision added an extra semester and some summer school to her graduation race and end goal of sports administration. But it was a wise decision in the long run.

An All-Around Training Program to Prepare for Sports Administration

Michigan Tech’s sports and fitness management degree program gives students a broad look at a growing industry (sports and fitness management jobs are growing at almost a 20% clip). Students get a glimpse into both the sports and fitness sides. “You took classes for sports management, like facilities, sports law, and sports administration. Those were the classes I really enjoyed,” she said. “And then there were these fitness classes, biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, and athletic training. And now they have sports finance, which I would have really loved. Tech allows you to specialize in one side or the other, but I think it’s still personally good knowledge to know and understand both sides.”

In track and field, having a good coach who has run and succeeded competitively is a big plus for the runner. The coach knows exactly what the athlete is experiencing or will experience and can help her prepare. Taking classes from sports professionals was a similar experience for Dompier.

“It was great having the athletic department staff teaching classes. They had industry knowledge. Hearing about their experiences in the real world was really applicable.”

Jamie Dompier ‘17

Two Internships as Impactful as Two-A-Day Training

Athletes gain significant benefits from two-a-day training, especially early in preparing for their season. Internships give students valuable applied learning in their chosen field. They hone the skills they will need after they graduate and can determine if a job or industry is going to be the right fit. The sports and fitness management degree requires one internship. Dompier did two!

In the summer of 2015, Dompier worked as the NCAA Compliance and Student-Athlete Services Intern, where she got to see the internal workings of an athletic department. She gained experience with NCAA student-athlete databases like Compliance Assistant and LSDBi. She created athletic grant renewals and revised the policies and procedures manual. Jamie developed online compliance forms using Front Rush software and the student-athlete code of conduct in PowerPoint. Finally, Dompier updated incoming freshmen student-athlete compliance forms. It offered a different perspective from her experience as a student-athlete.

She served as the Sports Intern in Wisconsin Dells at Woodside Sports Complex during her second internship. Dompier learned a great deal about event and facility management. She assisted sports directors and oversaw operations during soccer and lacrosse tournaments, and supervised evening soccer leagues. And she gained experience in sports finance, collecting league payments, revising contracts for future tournaments, and creating invoices for past tournaments. “I’m glad I actually did two internships just to get more experience and see different areas,” Dompier said.

Jamie Dompier and three other female runners
Jamie Dompier and the Michigan Tech 2016 4×400 relay team at Grand Valley State after beating the school record they set the prior year. The record is 3:50.89.

Running Your Best Sports Administration Race Requires Networking

To be a successful runner, Dompier found it was up to her. Whether pushing herself in training, eating and hydrating well, and managing her time, her success was predicated on her decisions. She had to work at it. College was the same way for her— classwork, jobs, and internships. “It’s really up to you to make the most of it. You gotta go get it,” she said.

Experience has taught her the value of networking and internships. “This is an industry where you really have to put an effort in,” she said. “Get into it. Those internships do matter and building those connections, and those relationships really do matter, too. And I think that’s something that a lot of people take for granted and don’t realize how important they are to do.”

Looking back, she regrets not networking more when she was in high school and college. Her advice to aspiring sports and fitness management professionals: networking.

“So if you’re a senior in high school and you think that you know you want to be an athletic trainer or you want to be in sports medicine, or you want to be in communications for an athletic department, talk to the people at your local college or university. Growing up in Chassell, Tech was just down the road. It would have been easy to talk to people there,” she said.

“If there’s a school and it’s your dream to work there, look at their staff directory, reach out to somebody that’s in that department, and see if they can take some time to talk to you about their experiences, how they got there. Learn about them and what they do. And you know what? They’ll have suggestions specifically for you to get into that area,” Dompier said.

Graduate School Research Instrumental To Dompier’s Race Success

Virginia Commonwealth University 2019 Women's Indoor Track Team
Dompier and VCU’s women’s team celebrate their third-straight title at the 2019 A10 Indoor Championship.

Dompier found the business classes she took as an undergraduate to be invaluable. She felt she needed to get a graduate degree in sports administration or her MBA if she wanted to pursue a sports administration career. “When I was considering grad school, I was having a hard time deciding between pursuing a master’s for sport administration or an MBA,” Dompier said. I was pretty open about location as I thought it would be a great experience regardless of where I went so that didn’t concern me in my decision making.”

Dompier felt a graduate assistant (GA) position would be beneficial in getting a leg up on the competition when she entered the job market after graduate school. “This was important to me to gain experience and get some financial assistance,” she said. “Another contender was what type of master’s program I wanted to pursue (sports administration or MBA). I actually started searching for graduate assistant positions on the NCAA Job Market website. When I saw GA positions that looked interesting to me, I researched the university’s graduate programs to see what they had. I looked at the length of the programs, cost of attendance, etc. I also looked at their athletic department’s web page to learn more about the department—what NCAA division they were, their conference, what sports they had, and review their staff directories.”

Dompier Continues The Race at Virginia Commonwealth University

That’s when Dompier came across Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). “As I was searching, I saw that VCU had a bunch of positions posted (including as a GA in track and field, a role she would later get). Then I looked at their academic programs and found that VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership had a dual master’s program where I could pursue a Master of Sports Leadership and an MBA and finish both programs in two years. To me, it was a no-brainer.” 

As she started graduate school, Dompier was unsure of where in the sports industry she wanted to land. She took it one day at a time, enjoying her role as a GA. “I absolutely loved working with that coaching staff and primarily their sprints/jumps event groups,” she said. “During my first semester at VCU, I was taking the sports business class and that’s when it clicked for me – I wanted to be on the business side of sports. I met with the Assistant AD for Business Operations and he offered me a GA position which I started after my first spring semester. I am still so grateful for all of the folks at VCU for their support and how awesome they were to work with.”

 “If you want to go to grad school I would suggest you look early. Find some areas you want to go and definitely look for grad assistant positions, because that gives you all the more experience and that’s what I had at VCU, and I’m really grateful for it.”

Jamie Dompier ’17
Jamie Dompier and three other runners on an outdoor track
Jamie Dompier in the lead running a 200m sprint in 2016. Dompier holds the school record at 25.37.

Go for the Sports Administration Finish Line

Dompier sees a lot of potential for students choosing to study sports and fitness management. “If you’re a high school senior and you’re going into sports and fitness management, the world’s your oyster. You have a lot of potential to go in different directions, learn and experience a lot.”

Dompier has experienced much since her days at Tech. As a GA in the Athletic Department at VCU, she managed purchasing and travel. She worked with a variety of systems to ensure purchases complied with university, state, and NCAA policies and that expenses were reconciled with bank statements at the end of the month. 

Dompier started as a Business Coordinator at Texas A&M before her promotion to Assistant Manager of Internal Operations. Her responsibilities increased in the larger athletic department. She gained responsibilities in financial reporting and managed the department’s day-to-day operations of accounts payable. Other duties included the management of inventory processes and other accounting responsibilities.

Jamie Dompier and a friend dressed in Wisconsin red
Dompier and her very excellent boyfriend Derek taking in a University of Wisconsin football game.

At Wisconsin, Dompier oversees the daily management of the Ticket Office and UW Foundation revenue. She manages procurement and corporate card expenses for a number of sports and units which entails reviewing expense reports for accurate receipts; ensuring compliance with state, university, and NCAA rules and regulations; completing internal account coding; and reconciling against US Bank statements.

It’s been a race Dompier thinks any Michigan Tech sports and fitness management graduate can run and win if they want it enough. “If you really want to be in the sports industry, I mean, you really gotta go get it,” she said. “You can’t just expect to get into the industry. I mean, you really, you really do need to make a push for it.”

Brothers Team Up to Provide Exceptional Physical Therapy Care on the Keweenaw

Blake Dupuis ’19 recently joined his brother Beau Dupuis ’18 as a physical therapist at Aspirus Outpatient Therapies. The Lake Linden natives hold Bachelor of Science degrees in Exercise Science from Michigan Tech and Doctorate of Physical Therapy degrees from Central Michigan University.

Read more about them in the Aspirus press release.

KIP Students Present at 2023 American Physiology Summit

Students and faculty from the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP) recently attended the 2023 American Physiology Summit in Long Beach, CA on April 20–23, 2023. PhD students Greg Miodonski, Sherry Chen, Kyle Wehmanen, and Isaac Wedig presented posters to their colleagues at the annual event.

Greg, a member of Dr. Qinghui Chen’s lab, did a poster presentation of his research project entitled “Exercise Augments Small Conductance Ca2+ -Activated Potassium Channel (SK) Function in the PVN of Sprague Dawley Rats to Reduce Sympathetic Outflow.” His poster was selected as “top 10% scoring abstracts” sponsored by APS Central Nervous Session (CNS). Read more about his research in his abstract below.

Congratulations to these students for a wonderful showing at the summit!

Greg Miodonski, Qinghui Chen, and Mingjun Gu at APS
Top row from left to right: Qinghui Chen (KIP faculty), Gregory Miodonski (KIP student); Ian Greenlund (KIP alum); Jeremy Bigalke (KIP alum), Robert Larson (BioSci faculty); John Durocher (former KIP faculty)
Bottom row from left to right: Mingjun Gu (KIP researcher), Sherry Chen (KIP student), Jennifer Nicevski (KIP alum), Jenny Shan (KIP faculty)

Greg’s Abstract:

“Exercise Augments Small Conductance Ca2+ -Activated Potassium Channel (SK) Function in the PVN of Sprague Dawley Rats to Reduce Sympathetic Outflow”

Gregory Miodonski, Jessica Bruning, Derrick Simet, Haley Ruiter, Christian Johnson, Mingjun Gu, Zhiying Shan, Qing-Hui Chen

Elevated sympathetic outflow is a key feature of cardiovascular disease (CVD) that worsens disease progression. Our lab has shown that SK channels expressed in the PVN play a crucial role in regulating neuronal activity and sympathetic outflow, and that SK channels become dysfunctional in rats fed a high salt diet. Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing sympathoexcitation in CVD including hypertension and heart failure, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. We hypothesized that aerobic exercise would upregulate SK channel function in the PVN to reduce sympathetic nerve activity (SNA). To test this, 5–6 week old Sprague Dawley rats were randomly divided into sedentary (SED) and exercise (EXT) two groups and fed a 0.4% NaCl normal salt diet. Following acclimation, EXT groups ran on a motorized treadmill 5 days/week for 8-10 weeks. Conscious blood pressure was measured weekly via tail plethysmography. After 8-10 weeks, animals were anesthetized and underwent in vivo surgery to record the renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) following PVN microinjection of the SK blocker, apamin (0.25mM, 60nL/side). The data showed that the RSNA response to PVN apamin was significantly enhanced in EXT rats compared with SED rats (320.8 ± 174.6 % baseline, n=9 vs 184.8 ± 143.1 % baseline, n=9; p = 0.02).  The corresponding ABP response to apamin was not significantly different in EXT rats compared with SED rats (20.40 ± 9.98 mmHg, n=9 vs 25.27 ± 9.97 mmHg, n=8; p = 0.1658). Our data indicates exercise enhances PVN SK channel function to reduce sympathetic outflow. This improvement of SK channel function may be one mechanism by which exercise reduces SNA in CVD including hypertension and heart failure. Support: 1R15HL145655 (Chen); 1R15 HL150703 (Shan); MTU Health Research Institute (HRI).

Greg Miodonski, PhD student
Kyle Wehmanen, PhD student, presented his project entitled “Teaching K-12 Students Using Jenga: The Impact of Health Behaviors on Community Health, Wellbeing, and Resilience.”
Not pictured, PhD student Isaac Wedig presented his research project entitled “”Predictors of Arterial Occlusion Pressure in the Lower-Body Across Commonly Used Cuff Widths.”
PhD student Sherry Chen’s research project is entitled “Brain-Derived Small Extracellular Vesicles from Dahl Salt-Sensitive Rats with High Salt Diet Induce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress.”
Sherry Chen with Dr. Jenny Shan

KIP Alum Wins AJP 2023 Best Research Article Award

KIP alum Joshua Gonzalez (PhD, Integrative Physiology), who graduated in the summer of 2021, earned the “American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2023 Best Research Article Award” for his article titled “Acute Effects of Electronic Cigarettes on Arterial Pressure and Peripheral Sympathetic Activity in Young Nonsmokers.”

Dr. Joshua E. Gonzalez
Dr. William Cooke
Dr. Josh Gonzalez receiving his award at the American Physiology Summit. Also in the photo is AJP Editor-in-Chief Merry Lindsey and the winners of the best review article and best rapid report.

He wrote and published this article while still a PhD student at MTU along with his advisor and co-author Dr. William Cooke. 

The AJP-Heart and Circulatory 2023 Best Research Article Award is based on: 

  • The total number of citations the article has received since publication (11)
  • Total online article usage (4,100+)  
  • The Altmetric score of 17 (measure of social media/news media impact)

He will receive both an award and cash prize at the upcoming American Physiology Summit 2023  to be held April 20-23, 2023 in Long Beach, California.

American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology logo