Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Notable Regional Sports Medicine Award Latest Accomplishment for Student

KINGSVILLE - April 08, 2010

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4143


yana Bullinger was a starter on the women’s basketball team at Texas A&M University-Kingsville for four years running, a three-time team captain, named to the LSC South Division All-Conference Second Team last year and an honorable mention this year, and the holder of numerous all-time top ten university basketball records.  These are some impressive accomplishments on the court. But believe it or not, Bullinger has had as much success in the classroom and on campus.

The Spring, Texas senior studying the kinesiology degree path of exercise science/pre-physical therapy has made frequent appearances on the dean’s list and was twice listed in the Who’s Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She was named the health and kinesiology department’s exercise science undergraduate major of the year for 2009-2010. She was named a 2007-2008 Outstanding Student of the Year by the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Last year, Bullinger received the Exercise Science Undergraduate Research Award by her academic department for her work examining anaerobic performance in athletes and non-athletes. She was selected from seven nominees to be the recipient of the undergraduate Be All You Can Be Award, given by the Women's Enrichment and Advisory Committee.

Then this semester, Bullinger received what may have been her biggest academic award yet, serving in a way as recognition for all of her accomplishments. She became the first Texas A&M-Kingsville student to receive the Undergraduate Scholar Award by the Texas Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (TACSM).  She was presented this award at the 2010 TACSM Annual Meeting last month at the University of Houston.

"The American College of Sports Medicine, for which TACSM is a regional chapter, is the premier learned society for the exercise sciences," noted Dr. Chris Hearon, associate professor and chair of the health and kinesiology department, and coordinator of the department's Human Performance Laboratory. "Having our students honored by this organization really helps our reputation regionally. The exercise science program, including our pre-physical therapy program, is growing fast and we have some really solid students including, of course, Dyana.” 

"Our goal is that Dyana will the first in a long line of recipients of this prestigious award to come from A&M-Kingsville."

Bullinger echoed Hearon's respect for the regional Undergraduate Scholar Award, calling it a huge honor. "I have worked so hard the last four years and it all seems to be coming together this last semester. I have had so many opportunities presented to me and I am grateful I have been able to capitalize on them.” 

"I am so appreciative of the department and everything they have done to help me get where I am going. I am especially thankful to Dr. Hearon for all the time and effort he has put into helping me excel, as well as Dr. Stacey Gaines for assisting on my research project by not only being an investigator but helping with the psychological view of things. Thanks also to my coach Scott Hyland and my parents for all of their support. This award means so much to me."

Bullinger's research project examined athletes and non-athletes while using the Wingate Anaerobic Cycle Test. She and Hearon developed a project in which the test subjects were given verbal encouragement while on the cycle, then tested without encouragement, to compare athlete and non-athlete performance.

"As a department chair, our excessive teaching loads coupled with our administrative duties makes it difficult to find the time devote to student mentoring like this, which is why I don’t do it as much as I’d like. It really takes a lot of time mentoring undergraduate research," said Hearon. 

"This was especially true for Dyana’s study, where the nature of the data collection required me to be present for 60 of the 90 testing session. But she took charge of the study and handled all the scheduling of the subjects and other investigators, screenings and preparations of the Human Performance Laboratory for all 90 testing sessions, as well as all the data maintenance and reduction. She pretty much ran the show, all I had to do was show up prior to testing and do my job. And this is as an undergraduate--an undergraduate who also is an intercollegiate athlete, and all that that implies from a time management standpoint. She really did a great job."

Bullinger presented her research at the TACSM annual meeting in March, where she accepted her Undergraduate Scholar Award. She will present again in June at the ACSM national conference in Baltimore.

Bullinger is scheduled to earn her bachelor's degree at the end of the semester. Hearon is among those that sees a strong finish to her undergraduate education at A&M-Kingsville. "Dyana’s an excellent student who I expect to graduate with honors in May from our exercise science/pre-physical therapy program." 


TACSM is a regional chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  With over 35,000 members in 70 countries, the mission of ACSM is to “promote and integrate scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.”  The ACSM is internationally known as the leading source of state-of-the-art research and information on sports medicine and exercise science.

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