Category: Kinesiology Courses

MTU & CMU DPT Program Information Session

Please join our Academic Advisor, Tayler Haapappuro, on April 20th at 7pm via Zoom. Tayler will provide information about the MTU- CMU Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) program held here at Michigan Tech. The physical therapy program offered through The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at CMU is a professional graduate curriculum three years in length. Graduates of the program are awarded a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT). The program has received approval by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Please RSVP to Tayler at for Zoom meeting address and password.

Kinesiology Accelerated Master’s (BS-MS) Informational Sessions

Are you an extremely motivated student? Take a big leap forward with the Kinesiology Accelerated Master’s (BS-MS) program!

The Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology will hold a brief informational session about our Kinesiology Accelerated Master’s (BS-MS) program. This accelerated degree plan allows you to combine a bachelor’s degree from Michigan Tech in exercise science, sports and fitness management, biological sciences, or biomedical engineering with a coursework-based master’s degree in kinesiology (4 + 1 = 5 years total). Together, the two degrees help students strengthen their admission applications to professional graduate programs (e.g., medical school, physical therapy school) and gain a competitive edge for careers in industry (e.g., cardiac rehabilitation, strength and conditioning). Current undergraduate students (2nd, 3rd, and 4th year) who are interested are strongly encouraged to attend one of the upcoming informational sessions

Thursday February 18
3:00 – 3:30pm
Zoom ID: 998 1757 1160
Passcode: kip2021


Friday February 26th
2:30 -3:00pm
Zoom ID: 998 1757 1160
Passcode: kip2021
Stay for the KIP Department Seminar at 3pm


Top 10% for Fall 2020

Let’s start off this new semester by congratulating our KIP faculty and graduate students who were honored by Provost Huntoon for being in the top 10% of all instructors University wide in the Fall 2020 teaching ratings based on student evaluations. Dr. William Cooke (KIP 5500), Dr. Kevin Trewartha (KIP 4300/5300), PhD candidate Jessica Bruning (BL 2011) and PhD student Isaac Wedig (KIP 3100); these 4 individuals especially excelled this term.

Cooke, Trewartha, Bruning and Wedig

This has been an incredibly challenging time to teach and the entire department has done a phenomenal job with instruction. Thank you all!!

Virtual Open House

Please join us this Saturday, November 14th, from 11:00 am – 4:30 pm to preview the programs offered by the Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Department via the Zoom link here:

KIP is located in the SDC

More information regarding Pre-Health and other degree options can be found by registering here:

Graduate Student Ben Cockfield Defends his Master’s Thesis

This past week Benjamin Cockfield (Traverse City, MI) successfully defended his master’s thesis: “Acute Physiological Responses to Arm Cranking with Blood Flow Restriction”. Over 45 people attended the Zoom video conference presentation. Ben earned his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science from Michigan Tech University in 2018 and has since been working on his Master’s in Kinesiology. Specifically, Ben conducted his research in the Exercise Physiology Laboratory under the supervision of Associate Professor Steven Elmer.

For his research, Ben evaluated the cardiorespiratory, metabolic, and perceptual responses to arm cranking with blood flow restriction. Specifically, with blood flow restriction a pressurized cuff is placed over the arm to partially limit blood from leaving the working muscles. This creates a high-intensity workout for the exercising muscles but without overtaxing the heart, lungs, and joints.

In his research, Ben found that arm cranking with blood flow restriction resulted in a small increase in cardiorespiratory strain and effort, but a large increase in metabolic stress. Increased metabolic stress is thought to be an important mechanism for improving muscle size and strength. Long term, results from Ben’s research could have possible implications for upper-body trained endurance athletes (e.g., cross country skiers, rowers, America’s cup sailors), adults recovering from shoulder injuries, wheelchair users, and older adults. Ben was partially supported by a graduate student fellowship from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.

New minor in Public Health approved

The Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Department at Michigan Tech proudly announces that a Minor is Public Health is now an option for all of our students.

Faucet with running water

Human health is impacted by our individual biology as well as the natural, built, and social environments in which we live, work, and play. Thus, the ability to be health literate and able to integrate a health perspective is important in disciplines beyond traditional health-related and clinical fields. In the past 15 years there has been a growing recognition of the importance academia plays in teaching these skills. In 2002, an Institute of Medicine report recognized the need to better educate the public health workforce and partners that play key roles in the health of our communities who are not in traditional public health positions. A subsequent report expanded that call for public health education, recommending that “all undergraduates should have access to education in public health”. This widespread need to understand population health and health impacts was further highlighted when, in 2011, the U.S. federal government adopted a “Health in All Policies (HiAP)” strategy. A HiAP approach recognizes the importance of considering health across all fields in both the public and private sectors. The new Minor in Public Health will introduce students to the growing field of public health and the need to include a population health perspective in many of the university’s existing degrees. 

The audit check list is being created

Breathing Life into the Classroom! A Story About Respiratory Function by KIP Undergrad Lily Hart

KIP 1500 Students Build Mechanical Biped
Students in Dr. Elmer’s KIP 1500 class build a mechanical quadruped to demonstrate the relationship between locomotion and respiration.

Freshman students in Dr. Steven Elmer‘s KIP 1500 course, Foundations of Kinesiology, recently completed a unique assignment to learn how the lungs and respiratory systems of animals work. Students worked in small groups to build three-dimensional animal models to demonstrate how the lungs function during movement. Groups built models of either a kangaroo (bipedal mobility model) or a horse (quadrupedal mobility model). Students were able to find most of the parts they needed to construct their animal models in local hardware stores.

“Collecting all the parts was hard, because it was not entirely clear as to what exact size and dimensions we needed,” explains Erin Seppala, a student in Dr. Elmer’s Foundations of Kinesiology class.

KIP 1500 Students Build Mechanical Biped
One group’s mechanical model of a bipedal kangaroo

All students used the same model to construct their animal’s “lung.” A syringe served as the thoracic cavity, and a balloon was tied inside the syringe to serve as the lung. A plastic tube was then connected to serve as the trachea. The rubber end of the syringe’s plunger worked as the diaphragm muscle (the major muscle for inspiration, or drawing air into the lungs).

Once the animals were complete, students manipulated their models to observe how hopping and running affects breathing. “I learned that animals can have different and unique ways of breathing,” explained Robert Dwyer, a student in the class.

“I learned that animals can have different and unique ways of breathing.” Robert Dwyer, student in KIP 1500

By using the three-dimensional models they built in the classroom, students found that kangaroos exert less energy to breathe when hopping than when standing still. Rather than relying on contraction of the diaphragm muscle to move air into and out of the lungs (also called “inspiration” and “expiration”), air is pulled into the lungs and pushed back out of the lungs as the internal organs “flop” within the kangaroo’s body during the hopping movement.

KIP 1500 Students Build Mechanical Biped
One group’s completed quadruped model of a horse

By manipulating the legs of the horse model, students observed how this moved air into and out of the lungs. For example, when the forelimbs were stretched forward this helped to increase the volume of the thoracic cavity, decrease thoracic pressure, and aid in inspiration. When the forelimbs struck the ground and the hind limbs moved forward this facilitated a decrease in the volume of the thoracic cavity and a decrease in thoracic pressure, aiding expiration.

Students not only investigated how the lungs and respiratory system work but they also learned the importance of good group communication and problem solving. Students were reminded that when things get hard, it’s important to remember to just have fun with the project. Several groups emphasized that the activity had helped them to learn how to problem solve and improvise as a team when something didn’t go the way they had planned.

KIP 1500 Students Build Mechanical Biped
Students with another completed quadruped model

“Building a model using parts helped us to visualize and understand the unique way horses and kangaroos breathe in accordance with their athletic ability,” group members Sarah Dix and Sarah Miller explained.

This hands-on activity was inspired by two papers published in the journal Advances in Physiology Education (Giuliodori et al., 2009, 2010). Dr. Stephen DiCarlo of Michigan State University, a coauthor of both papers, was able to mentor Dr. Elmer on the use of these physical models in the classroom to promote active student learning.

Here are links to the articles describing the horse respiration model and the kangaroo respiration model that the students built in their class.


This is an edited version of an original story by KIP undergraduate student Lily Hart. 


Giuliodori, M. J., Lujan, H. L., Briggs, W. S., & DiCarlo, S. E. (2009). A model of locomotor-respiratory coupling in quadrupeds. 33(4), 315-318. doi:10.1152/advan.00057.2009

Giuliodori, M. J., Lujan, H. L., Janbaih, H., & DiCarlo, S. E. (2010). How does a hopping kangaroo breathe? , 34(4), 228-232. doi:10.1152/advan.00050.2010