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Graduate student competes for new national award

A University of Georgia kinesiology student is in the running for a new national research award from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Melissa Erickson, a doctoral student studying exercise physiology in the UGA College of Education's Department of Kinesiology, is one of a handful of students from across the country named as finalists for the first-ever Presidential Cup, a new national award for the top graduate student research poster. The award, which will be named in late May during ACSM's annual conference, follows her recognition by the organization's Southeast region, where she placed first following hundreds of submissions, a review of her abstract and an in-person presentation of her work.

The poster, "Effects of Postmeal Exercise on Postprandial Glucose in People Treated with Metformin," details the results of a study examining the effect exercise has on diabetic patients taking metformin. The study found that exercising for 30 minutes after eating a high-carbohydrate meal can work with the drug to make it more effective, and have an even greater effect on blood sugar than the drug would have on its own.

Her advisor, Kevin McCully, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology, said these accolades reinforce Erickson's excellent communication skills, and her ability to explain complex scientific concepts. This is the third year in a row that Erickson has placed in the top three for the region.

"So this is a kudos to her in that she's done an excellent job in representing our lab and our college," said McCully. "That's one of the things we're proud of Melissa for."

Erickson said the criteria for judging graduate student posters includes several factors, such as the quality of the research, the significance of the study and the researcher's involvement.