Cecelia Hill and Her Leap of Faith

Cecelia Hill, a sophomore majoring in Kinesiology, found her passion in an Iowa State kinesiology research lab.

When she was a freshman in the Kinesiology Honors program, Hill had the opportunity to take part in research for Parkinson’s disease, working under Dr. Elizabeth Stegemöller. This neuroscience lab focuses on how to manage the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

Hill is glad she took the leap of faith.

“As a freshman, I thought, ‘I don’t know; I need to focus on my classes, and I don’t know much about it,’” she said. “I am so grateful I said yes.”

As an undergraduate research assistant with Dr. Stegemöller, Hill has a variety of responsibilities. Twice a week, she helps with a group of participants in singing and boxing workshops.

“We research how to manage the effects of Parkinson’s disease, bettering the ability to walk and swallow, and improving the quality of life,” Hill stated.

Besides helping with the workshops, Hill attends weekly lab meetings to discuss current findings and is an undergraduate assistant in a research project Dr. Stegemöller is conducting.

“I got to do a lot of data entry this year and look at data on respiratory strength. I used these findings in a project and made a poster that was presented this year,” Hill said. “I look forward to continuing with the study because it’s cool to look through the data and see things emerge and think, ‘This is important.’ It’s fun to see all the pieces come together.”

Because Hill took that leap and engaged in undergraduate research, her appreciation for healthcare grew stronger and she altereed her career plans.

“As I’ve started working with the Parkinson’s disease population, I truly think this has shifted me to want to look more into geriatrics for physical therapy,” she said. “Getting patient care hours and working with people with Parkinson’s disease has made my feelings for healthcare so much stronger and I know I can make a difference in my future.”

Looking back at her path, Hill shared advice for students looking to follow in her footsteps.

“My first advice is to say yes. I think that’s the first step to opening so many new doors,” she said. “My second piece of advice is don’t be afraid to try new things. Research is a great way to expand your horizons and try new things. I’m having the best experience and wouldn’t change it for anything.”

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