I Am Elon with Jonathan Martinez '20
The junior exercise science major has turned his interest on physical fitness into a research topic at Elon.
By Kim Walker
Although Jonathan Martinez ’20 is clearly a dedicated student—he went to the beach for spring break but spent the majority of his vacation studying in his hotel room for an organic chemistry exam—he balances it with a playful side. He jokingly invents vocabulary while playing word games with his friends, and he jumped around until he joyously collapsed in his family’s kitchen after learning he was accepted to Elon’s Honors Fellows program.
An exercise science major preparing for a career in medicine, Jonathan says being an Honors Fellow offers a range of great opportunities. It’s helping to fund his study abroad course in New Zealand next Winter Term and it has provided a supportive cohort. “You create close-knit relationships that are much wider than just majors. It’s a competitive community but a reliable community; you have someone to rely on when the going gets tough, and the going definitely gets tough.”
Jonathan is also a Lumen Scholar, working with Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Matt Wittstein. In high school, Jonathan began focusing on physical fitness and nutrition and quickly saw positive results in his own health. Now a budding scholar, he’s researching “cross education,” which occurs when the benefits of training one side of the body are passed to the opposing side that is not being trained. He and Wittstein are using EEG data to monitor brain activity during training, then analyzing the results over time. Jonathan says the results could be applicable in physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Beyond leading him to pursue a career in medicine, he says fitness still offers both physical and mental benefits. “I love weight training, and the gym is usually where I go when I’m not studying. It’s a way to challenge myself outside of academics and it gives me space to think.”
Jonathan is Elon and one of the many stories that are part of our “I Am Elon” series.