Undergrad Presents Internationally

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Wang was one of only three undergraduate students to present a paper at the conference.

Irvine, CA, November 1st, 2012 - - Jeff Russell, former UC Irvine dance assistant professor, moved from Southern California last summer to teach at Ohio University. But the former manager of the SHAPe (Science and Health in Artistic Performance) Lab in the Calit2 eHealth Collaboratory has continued to mentor his UCI students, one of whom caused him to beam with pride last week.

Lillian Wang, a senior majoring in biological sciences, presented a paper at the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science’s 22nd annual conference in Singapore, Oct. 25-27. Wang, one of only three undergraduates among the 90 presenters, presented "Design and Testing of a Sensor System to Measure Foot Pressures in Ballet Pointe Shoes."

The paper was the result of an MDP (Multidisciplinary Design Program) project co-mentored by Russell and engineering professor Mark Bachman. Wang collaborated on the project, “Understanding the Musculoskeletal Impact of Dance through Body-Worn Instrumentation,” with fellow UCI undergraduates Amy Pham and Jordan Linford, both electrical engineering majors.

According to Russell, it is highly unusual for undergraduate students to present papers at international conferences. “Lillian did an amazing job,” he said, “better even than many professionals on the program.”

Among those professionals: educators, administrators, physicians, psychologists, artistic directors, choreographers, scientists, movement specialists and dancers themselves, all of whom attended the yearly three-day conference seeking to enhance dancers’ health, well-being and training.

“It was a great privilege to have had the chance to present my research study at the 2012 annual IADMS conference,” Wang said. “When I began this project, I never imagined that a year later, I would be in Singapore, interacting with individuals who are so knowledgeable and prominent in their fields of study; being able to share my work with them is still unfathomable to me.”

Wang credited her mentors and the university. “This conference was truly a learning experience that no book could ever teach, and it would not have been possible without the continued guidance from my faculty mentors, Dr. Jeff Russell, Dr. Mark Bachman, and our hardworking engineering team,” she said. “UCI has also provided me with endless resources such as UROP, MDP and Dean Lewis, whom I graciously thank for their support in my undergraduate research endeavors.”

Russell was the proud mentor of (from left): Wang, Unsworth and Blackstone, all of whom presented papers at the conference.

Wang was not the only presenter with ties to UCI and Russell, however. Two former students and recent alumni presented papers at the conference as well.

Desiree Unsworth, who graduated in 2011 with bachelor’s degrees in dance and biological sciences, presented “Presence of Staphylococcus Aureus in the Collegiate Dance Environment."
And Allyson Blackstone, ’12, a dance and chemistry major, presented “The Relationship between Lower Body Muscular Power and Incidence of Injury in Dancers,” another project developed in conjunction with Russell’s SHAPe Lab.

Russell may have left UCI but he continues working with his students and colleagues. “Though a unique professional opportunity took me to Ohio University," he said,  " … I remain committed to my UCI students and to collaborating."