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Justin Nicoll

Justin Nicoll

  • Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Major: Master of Science, Exercise Science
  • Graduation Year: 2014

Why did you choose Kinesiology?
I chose this major because of my participation in athletics in high school. I did not have a clear focus upon arriving at URI. I knew I liked athletics and since performance was my primary interest, exercise science seemed like the most appropriate choice of a major. Halfway through my undergraduate degree here, I knew I wanted to continue on in pursuit of a graduate degree and spoke with my advisor about the courses necessary to continue on.

Why did you choose URI?
Originally I came to URI with a main focus of competing on the track and field team and I was not very familiar with the kinesiology curriculum. As I started to complete my course work at URI, I became more interested behind the science and physiology of exercise and soon my passion for this field and involvement in the program began to grow.

What has been the best part of your studies at URI?
The best part of my studies here at URI is without a doubt the breadth of knowledge I have gained from my classes. Looking back on my undergraduate career, many of the general education classes I took required me to think outside the box, when reading and writing. In addition, the presentations that were often required in many of my kinesiology courses helped me to become a comfortable as a public speaker.

What’s been the best part of your whole experience at URI?
The people. The people and connections I have met at URI are amazing. My teammates, fellow peers, kinesiology faculty, talent development program, and even URI alumni I’ve met over the past five years have helped to shape who I am today. I don’t believe in coincidence, which is why I don’t believe it was a coincidence that every person that I was surrounded by was in someway motivating me to achieve success.

What has surprised you most about URI?
The hills here surprised me the most. I had no idea I would be walking up a giant hill most of my time here. However, it does make for great exercise.

What do you think of the faculty at URI?
The faculty at URI are awesome. Many of the teachers here have an open door policy. I can’t count how many times I stopped by a professor’s office and asked questions about classes or advice about my future goals. Not once did they turn me away.

What do you consider the biggest strengths of your particular program at URI?
Kinesiology at URI encompasses all aspects of the field. Kinesiology in general is a broad term and with so many areas of study under the kinesiology “umbrella” it is hard for many schools to design an appropriate curriculum that includes all aspects of the field. I believe kinesiology department at URI does a great job at a well-rounded curriculum. Physiology, biomechanics, sports psych, strength and conditioning, social aspects of sport, and health promotion. Covering so many facets of kinesiology helped me understand how everything in this field is connected and there is definitely an place for everyone in kinesiology. The best part is that the faculty do their best to help guide on your own path.

What kind of internships, experiential learning opportunities, or real-life experiences have you had?
An internship is required to graduate at URI. I did my internship working on a few research projects with my advisor. I had an idea that I might want to go into research as a career, and an internship was a great way to “test the waters”. It was a very rigorous semester was it was possibly the most rewarding of my whole undergraduate experience. I learned a lot about the processes behind designing and conducting research. By the end of the internship I had gotten to know the faculty at URI better, I presented a research abstract at the New England American College of Sports Medicine fall conference, and I even had an honorary desk in the graduate assistant office (even though I was still an undergrad). Through that internship I did a lot of work that is required of graduate students. I applied to graduate school at URI and I was offered a graduate assistantship as well. Needless to say I chose to stay at URI for my graduate degree. I knew the faculty, graduate students, and university so well that coming to school felt like a second home. Lastly, I could get a running start of getting involved in more research projects because I was already familiar with the department.

What’s your “Big Idea”?
Exercise has many beneficial effects on the body. As a researcher I would like to investigate the role exercise and nutrition has on performance and recovery. Muscles are what make us move, understanding what can make them bigger, stronger, more explosive and recover faster can help bridge the gap between science and practical application of the research discovered in the lab. Investigating the relationship between physiology and athletic performance, and help other coaches and athletes perform better.

What would you say to someone undecided about where to go to school for your particular major/program?
I would say come to the University of Rhode Island! The program here offers many research opportunities with state of the art equipment. The program is continually growing and you can be sure you will have plenty of connections in kinesiology when you graduate.

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