A&M-Kingsville Senior Named Top Undergraduate Scholar By Regional Chapter of American College of Sports Medicine
KINGSVILLE - March 17, 2011
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Like many of his peers, Texas A&M University-Kingsville senior kinesiology major Ricky Balderas has spent much of the last four years in and out of classrooms, soaking in all the information shared by faculty and staff. Now, as he prepares for the next step in his academic journey—which will bring him one step closer to his goal of becoming a physical therapist—he is most excited about getting to use all the knowledge he gained to help people heal.
"It is one thing to learn about how certain diseases can affect the body and disable a person’s movement. It is another to see that same person get the help required to overcome a disability—this aspect is one that pushes me towards physical therapy as a field of practice,” Balderas said.
The Bishop High School graduate’s dedication, ambition and research recently earned him recognition from the Texas Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (TACSM). Last month, Balderas received the TACSM’s 2011 Undergraduate Scholar Award.
“This award is an honor that I am very grateful to have been nominated for and been selected as a recipient,” Balderas said. “This award not only reflects the hard work and determination I have put into my undergraduate career, it reflects the stature of the A&M-Kingsville health and kinesiology program,” Balderas said.
Balderas’ award marks the second consecutive year an A&M-Kingsville health and kinesiology student receives the award. Last year, kinesiology major Dyana Bullinger received the same recognition for her work. Bullinger is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Texas Woman’s University.
“This award means a lot to our department and in particular to our exercise science program, which is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Dr. Christopher Hearon, chair of the Department of Health and Kinesiology at A&M-Kingsville. “It speaks volumes to the quality of our program and our faculty and, needless to say, it speaks volumes of these exceptional students,” he said.
With a resume that reflects his commitment to scholarship, Balderas’ long list of academic recognition includes TACSM Major the Year 2010-2011, Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and A&M-Kingsville Department of Health and Kinesiology Undergraduate Major of the Year. Additionally, Balderas has been named to the Honor Roll, Dean’s List and President’s List several times throughout his collegiate career.
Balderas is just as active outside the classroom, serving the university community and beyond. He is currently serving as a student member of the College of Education and Human Performance Dean Search and served as a volunteer with the Christus Spohn/Colston Family Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Kingsville.
Balderas’ current research project is based on the effects that a commercially available energy drink can have when put against a power performance test. He is currently in the process of continuing to collect research data.
“I purposed this research due to the interest of uncovering if energy drinks would allow for a better performance out of an individual when put through a test after consumptions,” Balderas said. “Many energy drinks are used to stimulate the body to feel a feeling of alertness. Many of these drinks can also give a person an added feeling of energy due to increased blood flow, etc. I wanted to see how it would affect the aspects of exercise and production of power by these same process,” he said.
Balderas is scheduled to graduate with honors in May, but his future as a scholar and a physical therapist is just beginning. In fall, Balderas was awarded unconditional early admission to the highly regarded Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston.
As he prepares to continue his educational journey, Balderas credits his experience at A&M-Kingsville with helping him decide his life’s path.
“My experience at A&M-Kingsville has been very fulfilling and rewarding,” he said. “I have learned to take more out of my classes, in the sense that applying the knowledge I have gained here has allowed me to achieve goals that helped define me as a student on this campus. I believe my experience at A&M-Kingsville has allowed me to understand throughout many challenges we face, it is those same challenges that teach us how to adapt and overcome in a variety of situations.”
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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