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KHN welcomes German scholar to UTSA

by Jo Ann Jones, COEHD    |    May 09, 2017

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For the next three months, the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition will be hosting international visiting scholar Maaike Esselaar from Bielefeld University in Germany at UTSA.


Esselaar, who arrived at UTSA in late March, is currently working with Dr. William Land, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition, on her master’s thesis.

“Our goal is to conduct two experiments while she is here, with both looking at the prediction of movement outcomes,” said Land. “In other words, we are looking at how good an athlete is at being able to detect the outcomes, products, and errors of their movements. We want to try and enhance this ability as it is theorized to help speed up motor learning.”

So far, Land and Esselaar have completed the first of two experiments in Land’s Human Performance Lab and are working on analyzing the data collected in order to produce two scholarly research publications.

“This was the first time I have conducted a study on my own,” said Esselaar. “I have learned more about the motion capturing system, about how to adjust cameras, and how to fix small problems that show up. That might be the most important thing I have learned so far: how to be quick on your feet when it comes to problems in translating an idea you have to a valid research method.”

This international collaboration was the result of Land’s previous post-doctoral work at Bielefeld University. Earlier this year, Land was contacted by colleagues from Bielefeld who were interested in sending a student from the university to work with him in his Human Performance Lab.

“I believe that this collaboration helps put UTSA, our department, and the Human Performance Lab on the international radar within the kinesiology field,” said Land. “This entire project will help enhance the international image of UTSA and our department, provide future opportunities for our students to travel abroad, and produce scientific contributions to the field.”

For Esselaar, the project has also been an opportunity to learn from a top researcher in the field and become a better researcher herself.

“I have had a great time here in the U.S. and at UTSA this far, and I am sure it will only get better as I go on,” said Esselaar. “Dr. Land is a great teacher and I have learned a lot in the two months I have been working with him. The experience has been a great chance for me to meet new people and develop further as a researcher.”

Learn more about the Human Performance Lab.

Learn more about the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition.

Like the Human Performance Lab page on Facebook.


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