Program offers graduate students chance to research cancer

By Brianna Bohland, Staff Writer

The exercise and sport science department is offering a graduate-level program for students interested in cancer research.

The purpose of the research program is to guide students in the study of exercise and its role in cancer prevention, treatment and control.

“Most cancer programs are only at big schools…it’s nice that being a small liberal arts school that we can offer something like this,” said Tom Darling, assistant professor of kinesiology.

There are several benefits for students who are chosen to participate, including focused mentorship in cancer control research, experience working with cancer patients and survivors, and increased opportunities for graduate school admission.

“It should be a fantastic program for anyone accepted,” said Betsy Bagley, kinesiology junior.

Bagley has about three years of research experience, and after meeting Darling in the fall, they started doing research together last spring.

The research program is primarily for students within the exercise and sport science master’s degree program, but it is also open to any undergraduate, or any student in another program.

“I think it will benefit OCU a lot,” Darling said. “If this works out, I think that it will just put us to another level.”

Requirements include having an interest in cancer research, at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA, ability to commit to the research workload, a writing sample, three letters of recommendation, and a personal interview.

Although not required, research experience and statistical knowledge are preferred.

Darling said he hopes the apprenticeship will be successful enough to obtain a grant in the future.

Part of the apprenticeship benefits is that it gives master’s students six to nine credit hours to put toward their degree and a better chance at getting jobs.

“By having research in your resume, you’re more likely to get accepted to medical or physical therapy school,” Darling said. “It opens so many opportunities.”

Two to three students will be selected through the process for the cancer control research apprenticeship, which is planned to begin in Fall 2013.

“It will be an awesome opportunity for anyone interested in cancer and exercise research,” Bagley said.

Even if students don’t meet the requirements, they still are encouraged to apply.

“I will mentor them in the research process, about what cancer is, and how exercise relates to cancer,” Darling said.

Applications are being accepted through the fall.

More information can be found at www.okcu.edu/kinesiology/cancer-control-research.aspx.

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