Thursday, July 18, 2013

SRAP Student Spotlight: Jennifer Bieza and positive psychological outcomes of aerobic exercise

SRAPer: Jennifer Beiza
Home state: Colorado
Year in school: Junior
Plans after high school: Undecided

Jennifer Beiza enjoys critical thinking and problem solving. These skills have been an asset to her as she works in the psychology department with Dr. Ben Wilkowski, a professor in the Psychology department at the University of Wyoming. 

“My project is about the positive psychological outcomes of aerobic exercise. Usually when we think about the benefits of exercise, we think about how it affects the body.  I thought it would be interesting to see if aerobic exercise affects the mind and people’s overall well-being, instead of just their physical health, ” says Jennifer.

The idea for this project came from Jennifer herself.

“Basically, she came up with the idea,” says Sarah Crowe, a psychology graduate student working with Jennifer. “We started out by discussing different topics in psychology at a general level before delving into any one area in great detail.  It took a bit of trial and error at first, but she seemed to be especially interested in both biological psychology and research on well-being. After looking through the previous research on these topics, we noticed that there were still a lot of unanswered questions and unresolved issues in the literature. Jennifer wanted to address some of these in her own study and that’s where she came up with the idea for her research proposal. “

Jennifer is enjoying her research, and she’s excited about investigating how the two parts of her study correlate.

“I think it’s really interesting that there’s a connection between mental processes and physical activity.” says Jennifer.

Jennifer’s SRAP project involves writing a proposal for a future experiment. If Jennifer decides to participate in SRAP again next year, she hopes to be able to continue working on her research.

“She’s doing a really great job,” says Sarah.
Jennifer will be presenting her research and findings on Friday, July 19th at the University of Wyoming Union along with the other SRAP particpants.
SRAP is a six-week long intensive research program based at the University of Wyoming and sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR.
By Robin E. Rasmussen and Kali S. McCrackin
Photo by Robin E. Rasmussen

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