Off the basketball court, Lauren Brown ’17 uses her research to help fellow student-athletes.
As captain of the Elon women’s basketball team, Lauren Brown ’17 helped lead her teammates to a 2017 Colonial Athletic Association championship title – sending a Phoenix basketball team to the NCAA tournament for the first time in Elon’s NCAA Division I era. She ended the season as the CAA tournament’s MVP, and she scored more than 1,100 points in her collegiate career.
Off the court, the exercise science major and neuroscience minor excelled in undergraduate research. Mentored by Elon BrainCARE Research Institute faculty co-directors Caroline Ketcham and Eric Hall and physical therapy faculty member Srikant Vallabhajosula, Brown studied motion biomechanics and concussion histories of collegiate student-athletes. She presented her research project, “Effect of Dual-Task on Turning Characteristics While Walking Among Collegiate Athletes,” at the Elon Student Undergraduate Research Forum, the American College of Sports Medicine Conference and the William & Mary Undergraduate Science Research Symposium.
Many sports require athletes to turn during game play, sometimes while completing another task simultaneously. In her research, Brown observed participants walking and completing one turn while also performing a dual cognitive task: spelling five-letter words in reverse, subtraction by sevens and reciting the months of the year in reverse order. Participants were fitted with sensors that Brown used to measure the duration and velocity of the turns, and she used the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test to assess neurocognitive performance. She found that participants turned significantly slower while performing a dual task.
Brown’s work fills a hole in existing scholarship because little information exists on turning characteristics while walking and performing a concurrent cognitive task. Her findings could potentially help evaluate the effects of concussion on an everyday activity like turning while walking.
A native of Alpharetta, Georgia, Brown was a 2016 Trey Walker Scholar and an inaugural Provost Scholar. She served as a member of the President’s Student Leadership Advisory Council, a Diversity Ambassador campus guide, a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and an Elon 101 teaching assistant. She completed practicums in exercise science at the Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center, Duke Orthopedic Clinic and the Cone Health Alamance Regional Physical Sports Rehab Center. She also worked at Alamance Regional Medical Center as a certified nursing assistant, where she provided high-quality patient care in surgical, acute-care and rehabilitation settings.
In addition to her academic, athletic and leadership accomplishments, Brown completed more than 50 hours of community service with Allied Churches, “It Takes a Village” Project, Twin Lakes Retirement Community, Burlington Housing Authority, Special Olympics and Parent’s Night Out, a special initiative offered through the School of Education that provides free child care throughout the semester for faculty and staff members.
In March she received the CAA’s Dean Ehlers Leadership Award and earned a spot on the 2016-17 CAA All-Academic Team. In June she began a two-year term as a youth trustee on the Elon University Board of Trustees.
Next, Brown is pursuing a master’s thesis program at the University of Georgia, where she will conduct research on individuals with muscle disorders including patients with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and stroke victims.