Elon’s Biomechanics Lab and its personnel led a virtual event to introduce middle and high school students on the other side of the globe to the field of biomechanics as part of its multi-event National Biomechanics Day celebrations.
For second year in a row, Elon University has proudly collaborated with the Ganges Valley School (Hyderabad, India), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (Manipal, India) and Samuel Merritt University (Oakland, California) to host the virtual National Biomechanics Day event in India on April 9.
National Biomechanics Day is an S.T.E.A.M.-based educational outreach event aimed at introducing the field of biomechanics to middle and high school students and teachers. The Departments of Physical Therapy Education, Exercise Science and Performing Arts (Dance Science) at Elon host National Biomechanics Day events each year to serve both local and global communities.
During the global and diverse event, 80 participants did hands-on educational activities consisting of walking, throwing, jumping and balancing. Participants also saw some inspiring and fun biomechanics examples and videos. Middle and high school students interacted with faculty members from Elon, Manipal and Samuel Merritt universities, as well as Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program students from Elon and Samuel Merritt to learn about the field of biomechanics, applications, and career paths in the field of biomechanics.
After participants were given an introduction of the field of biomechanics, videos showcasing the state-of-the-art biomechanics labs were shown. Participants were sent to break-out rooms where DPT and sports science students moderated and guided them with hands-on activities.
These activities were deliberately designed to show applications in the field of sports, health sciences and ergonomics. Participants then discussed the mechanics behind the activities and related them to the concepts they had learned in their school’s curriculum.
Later in the event, options to pursue career paths were discussed. The hands-on activities in the break-out sessions were led second-year Elon DPT students Allie Knuckles and Deanna DeMarco and first-year student Alexander Japit along with students from Samuel Merritt and Manipal universities.
Knuckles received a Women in Biomechanics Outreach Through National Biomechanics Day Grant to conduct both in-person and virtual National Biomechanics Day events. In order to promote the importance and value of women in STEM, Chitra Balasubramanian, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of North Florida, gave an inspiring talk on her on-going successful journey as a woman in STEM.
Participants overwhelmingly mentioned that the hands-on activities in the break-out rooms were educative, interactive and fun. Overall, the event generated a lot of enthusiasm among the middle and high school children and the feedback was very positive making it a huge success.