News & Stories
Emma Chambers conducting research on the effects of HIIT training
March 11, 2020

Next stop: doctoral studies in physical therapy

Emma Chambers ’20, who graduated in May with dual majors in exercise science and Spanish, recently enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

She came into Berry without a clear direction for her undergraduate studies, but the small class sizes, LifeWorks program and culture of mentorship soon had her growing in self-assurance. “The Emma that started Berry four years ago is SO different from the Emma now,” she says. “I came in as a hesitant freshman, unsure of where undergrad would take me, but I found my place, discovered my passion and ran with it.”

Emma’s passion, as it turns out, is to provide medical care to an underserved population in their first language. She completed two internships, which solidified her desire to work in physical therapy and to use Spanish on a daily basis.

“I interned with our Sports Medicine Department and worked with our women’s soccer team where I was able to apply my knowledge from class, like Anatomy and Physiology, in a real-world setting,” Emma says. “I also used my Spanish major at the Center for Independent Living in Rome by translating documents and communicating with consumers in Spanish.” 

Under the direction of Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Elizabeth Hubbard, Emma completed research for her honors thesis. “The purpose of this research was to identify the effects of subjectively- and objectively-regulated high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on physiological and functional outcomes in college-age adults,” Emma explains. Each participant completed two HIIT sessions, one where they chose the work intensity using the Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale (which measures the intensity of exercise) and the other where the intensity was based on a percent of the participant’s VO2max  (the maximum amount of oxygen utilized during intense exercise). The research concluded that the RPE scale is a useful tool for self-regulating HIIT. 

Emma’s time at Berry hasn’t just been about hitting the books. She has worked hard for the last three years as a resident assistant through the Residence Life department, which fosters a safe, inclusive learning and living environment for students. The area coordinator for Emma’s residence hall provided meaningful mentorship. “He guided me through life as I experienced the highs and lows of a college student and applied to grad school, even outside of his required hours,” she says.

Emma faces life after Berry with confidence, having learned work-life balance: “I’ve also developed my leadership skills and learned how to identify my role on a team and put that into action,” she says. “These qualities will be crucial in grad school and the workplace as I continue to collaborate with others and begin a busier schedule.

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