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Florida State University


"When I got involved in the undergraduate coursework for Exercise Science, everything made sense. I had lived a very unhealthy lifestyle, smoking and not exercising regularly. The major changed my life. For the first time, I actually enjoyed school. Since then, my focus has been to try and do the same for others—to teach them about exercise so that it can alter their life like it did mine," says Derek Kingsley, winner of the 2008 Graduate Student Research and Creativity Award.

After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Derek was drawn to Florida State for his graduate education—he would be able to perform research and teach. He completed his master's in 2003 and is now collecting data for his doctoral dissertation.   

"I investigate the effects of resistance exercise training on women with fibromyalgia," he says. "The disease is of unknown origin and is characterized by full-body pain and other symptoms. For my master's, my research had the capacity to not only improve their strength but also their quality of life. For my dissertation, I am investigating the effect of resistance training on cardiovascular variables, such as blood flow, control of the heart rate and blood pressure, and vasoactive peptides. Data have suggested that control of the cardiovasculature, via the autonomic nervous system, is altered in women with fibromyalgia. I am suggesting that 12 weeks' resistance exercise training may improve their autonomic nervous system function both at rest and after an acute bout of exercise."

Derek's research has resulted in numerous articles and abstracts in such prestigious publications as Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, Physical Therapy, and Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. And he has presented his research each year since 2003 at national and regional conventions of the American College of Sports Medicine.

For his efforts, he has received the Student Research Award ($5000) from the American College of Sports Medicine, FSU's Dissertation Award ($500), and the College of Human Sciences' Dissertation Award ($500)—the funds of which have enabled him to purchase needed supplies. His crowning achievement, however, has been winning FSU's Graduate Student Research and Creativity Award, which recognizes a student's entire body of research and its overall creativity.

Teaching is a passion of Derek's, which he has extended to his roles as coordinator of several laboratories. "Having the ability to supply useful knowledge to the next group of exercise scientists is very rewarding. My long term goal is to achieve full-time professor status at a university, which would enable me to mentor students, teach physiology and exercise, and perform research. I would flourish doing what I love."

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