NMSU kinesiology student wins diversity award, will travel to biomechanics conference

A 22-year-old kinesiology student in New Mexico State University’s College of Education has been named a recipient of the ASB Diversity Travel Award, which will allow her to present a research paper comparing the muscles used in two different styles of baseball pitching at a conference in Ohio.

Amanda Concha, a junior at NMSU, will travel to the American Society of Biomechanics conference at Ohio State University in August. The award is given to people from racial and ethic groups underrepresented in biomedical research, and helps offset the cost of travel to the conference. The award also funds Concha’s registration fee, lodging and most meals, and she will receive a $300 travel honorarium.

Concha said her professor, David Keeley, suggested that she look into the travel award, but Concha admits she had never heard of it before applying.

“I had no idea that award existed,” Concha said. “Honestly, it was really great when I found out that I won it. I’m proud, excited and just glad to be able to represent my culture.”

At the conference, Concha will present a research paper she wrote comparing the traditional leg kick and side step baseball pitches, and how different gluteal muscles are activated with each pitch.

“I found that depending on what the pitcher is trying to do, he is going to use more muscles to generate power in a traditional leg kick,” Concha said. “During a side step pitch, for example, if there’s a player trying to steal a base, he’s trying to get the ball to wherever the player is going. It’s a faster pitch and different glute muscles are activated.”

Keeley, an assistant professor of biomechanics, said he recommended that Concha apply for the award because of her work ethic and her positive reputation among her professors.

“She’s a wonderful student. She does a really good job and multiple professors in the department agree with that,” Keeley said. “I knew she would put in the time and effort to develop a presentation of that quality.”

Keeley said he thinks Concha will use her experience to help further diversify the biomechanical field. Concha credits her professors and the staff of the Kinesiology and Dance Department at NMSU for her success. “Me seeing their passion for what they do is what motivated me to pursue this degree in the first place,” Concha said. “You can’t walk by (the department’s) hallway and not feel good about what you’re doing that day. They’re always pushing us and it’s been great. I couldn’t ask for anything more from NMSU.”


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