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Arnold School of Public Health

Exercise science students win scholarship awards from National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation

February 14, 2022 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

Three students from the Department of Exercise Science are recipients of 2022 scholarship awards from the National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation. Alexa Chandler (Ph.D. in Exercise Science) won the Women’s Scholarship, Blaine Lints (Ph.D. in Exercise Science) won the Minority Scholarship and Caroline Vincenty (M.S. in Exercise Science) won the Challenge Scholarship.

"Congratulations to Alexa, Blaine and Caroline for these well-deserved honors," said Dr. Nicole Dabbs, NSCA Foundation Board President. "They are outstanding students with extremely bright futures, and we are proud to support them in their studies to be future leaders of the strength and conditioning industry.”

“The scholarship applicant pool was strong this year, making the process very competitive,” said Carissa Gump, NSCA Foundation Executive Director. “These students should be very proud of their accomplishments. I look forward to seeing them grow within the profession.”

Alexa Chandler

Chandler’s high school weight training course was more than just an opportunity to improve her fitness. The sophomore realized she really enjoyed learning about the anatomical and physiological aspects of exercise. She began looking for college programs in the field and decided to earn a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Ithaca College.

“I got involved in research during my second year and enjoyed the process and presented at my first national conference that year,” Chandler says. “I stayed involved in research and decided a research-focused master's program was the next step for me.” 

While studying kinesiology and applied physiology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Chandler met Shawn Arent, whose work focuses on physical activity and stress and the implications for health and performance. When Arent joined the Arnold School as chair of exercise science in 2019, Chandler enrolled in the department’s Ph.D. program (ranked No. 1 in the nation) and became a member of the Sport Science Laboratory. Chandler won the Foundation’s Women’s Scholarship to continue her studies into health and performance, which began with her master’s thesis using ultrasound to assess body composition in ballet dancers.

Blaine Lints

After years of training as a strength and endurance athlete (including six years as a Navy SEAL), pursuing a career in exercise science was a natural extension of Lints’ interests. By the time he graduated from the University of Charleston West Virginia with a bachelor’s degree and then George Washington University with a M.S. in Exercise Science, Lints was ready to enroll in a doctoral program.

“Some of the lab's research, funded by the Department of Defense, was in line with my goals of improving human performance in tactical populations,” Lints says of his decision to join the Sport Science Lab after meeting Arent. “I felt like it was a setting where my past experiences would be valued.”

Now in the second semester of his studies, Lints won the Foundation’s Minority Scholarship to support his education and research into health and performance. In addition to helping tactical populations optimize their performance, Lints’ long-term goal is to become an independent researcher in this rapidly evolving field and to work with and mentor students.

Caroline Vincenty

Vincenty remembers carrying two books around as a kid: a school notebook with muscles doodled in the margins and a book about constellations and galaxies. For her career, she chose to focus on her fascination with the human body and eventually hopes to combine her two loves. She began by studying human nutrition with a triple minor in exercise science, human development and family sciences, and music at The Ohio State University.

“What really drew me in was when one of my kinesiology professors mentioned that NASA is always investigating nutritional and exercise countermeasures to maintain muscle mass and overall astronaut health in microgravity,” Vincenty says. “That moment has been seared into my memory because it combined my two favorite things, and it genuinely inspired me to actively pursue exercise science as my main research interest.” 

Now in her second year of the Master of Science in Exercise Science program, Vincenty volunteers as an aide for the South Carolina Special Olympics Tennis Team. As a research assistant with the Sport Science Laboratory, she studies high-stress, highly-fit individuals (e.g., elite athlete, tactical personnel) and hopes to one day help astronauts adapt to extreme environments.


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