Alumni Spotlight – Leslie J Barnes, PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS
Tell us a little about your experience in the PhD program.
Having received both my BS and MS in Physical Therapy, I wanted to do something “different” for my PhD. I was drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of the Rehabilitation Science program. I am very grateful that the program chair and committee was willing to take the risk and accept me as an unfunded student who was concurrently working full time. I hope that my success in the program serves as an encouragement to future, non-traditional students seeking similar paths who may have doubts that their goals are achievable.
What types of jobs or activities have you engaged in since graduation? And how does the training in the PhD program contribute to those activities?
Since graduating, I have been working as a Biomechanist in the Nike Sports Research Lab at Nike world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. As part of the Sports Performance Insights Team, working with Nike’s world class track and field athletes has brought me to London, Calgary, New York and Los Angles. My current research is focused on identifying both performance and product insights for these athletes in preparation for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
It is only through the unique collaboration of multiple colleges across campus (PHHP, HHP, COM-Department of Orthopaedics) that I was able to gain to relevant knowledge base that I now use every day at Nike. The ability to seek out independent studies tailored to my research interests and career goals has also prepared me greatly for my position now as a Clinical Biomechanist. Looking back at activities such as peer reviews of journal articles, group projects, and class presentations, I realize these “graduate student exercises” have carried over to what I do every day working on projects as a multi-disciplinary team here in the Nike Sport Research Lab.