Sydney Schmidt

Sydney Schmidt Student Profile
What academic program are you in?
I started my thesis based on Masters in Biomechanics in September 2015.

When will you be graduating?
I plan on graduating in August 2017.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I have always loved watching people run and observing variations in stride mechanics. My goal upon graduation is to work for a major company such as Adidas or Nike in product design, ultimately working on running shoes.

What type of research are you working on as a graduate student?
My research is studying the structural and functional characteristics of the medial-longitudinal arch in the foot.

Who is your supervisor(s) and what has their mentorship meant to you?

My supervisor is Dr. Loren Chiu. I completed my undergrad at the University of Alberta and was instructed by Loren in several courses. I always liked and appreciated how he challenged me to think about things critically and completely. Loren has helped me set clear and achievable goals for each term, which has helped me plan for the next two years, making my thesis seem very manageable.

What have you been able to accomplish with your research?
I took several years off from school after completing my undergraduate degree, knowing that eventually I would return for further education. In order to ensure that I would be competitive for scholarships and graduate school, I started taking a few courses as an Open Studies student and working as a Research Assistant at the Program for Pregnancy and Post-Partum Health, supervised by Dr. Margie Davenport and Dr. Craig Steinback. I was provided with opportunities to contribute to several different projects over the year and a half that I worked with Margie and Craig, culminating in two papers accepted for publication, and we have recently submitted a third. I am very grateful for my time spent under Craig and Margie's supervision and I know I would not have felt as prepared to start my Masters had I not had this experience.

What has been your most memorable moment as a student of the program?
I think teaching undergraduate labs for the first time was a unique experience. I think it took me a few weeks to get comfortable teaching, but I had a lot of support and was able to figure out what techniques ultimately did and did not work. I was really starting to enjoy teaching the lab sessions by the end of term and look forward to teaching the anatomy labs again next year.

Do you have any advice for graduate students who will be taking the same program and have an interest in research?

Take the time to fully investigate your research interests and reach out to Faculty staff members who will be able to help guide your thesis.

Before I started my Masters, I was hoping to gain experience in a biomechanics lab so I met with Loren and asked if I could volunteer in his lab. He had me assisting during undergraduate lab periods which allowed me to familiarize myself with different equipment and procedures, as well as spend time with him and his other grad students. Over the term, he was able to guide me through the application process and we were able to discuss potential projects that I could undertake as a grad student. I feel like these discussions were very valuable as I was able to start school in September with a focused thesis project in mind.

Do you have any advice with to new graduate students who are participating and conducting research with the Faculty?

Reach out to your fellow grad students! My experience as an undergraduate research assistant hugely prepared me for the start of my program. I was able to meet many current grad students and pick their brains on the multitude of questions I had, ranging from how to successfully complete scholarship applications, to which courses they would recommend taking, to tips they had for recruiting participants. Being able to tap in to the network of Phys Ed grad students is a great resource and it was definitely nice to see a few friendly faces as I walked into my first course in September! I was also able to gain experience collecting and analyzing data, attending conferences, and writing papers, and therefore believe any experience in a research lab prior to starting graduate studies is hugely beneficial.