Grace Chaney (Class of 2021)

photo of Grace Chaney

  • senior honors major in Kinesiology, with a Premedical Studies co-major
  • from West Chester, OH
  • research associate in the Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Health
  • Undergraduate Summer Scholar (2019); Undergraduate Research Award (2019)
  • Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (2020)
  • President, Anatomy and Physiology Club; Ambassador, Office of Research for Undergraduates
  • certified personal trainer & group fitness instructor (American College of Sports Medicine )
"Taking the initiative is crucial to getting what you want, not only from your time here at Miami but also from life in general. Push yourself to see how much of your potential you can manifest into something tangible, and I think you’ll be surprised at just how much you're capable of!"

Why Miami?

"At the end of high school, I had two back-to-back career-ending sports injuries. After my surgeries and 13 months of physical rehabilitation I became fascinated with the body's ability to heal and its ability to come back from an injury even stronger than before. My professional interests were rooted within the physiological, anatomical, and biomechanical factors that affect human health and performance and are what ultimately led me to Miami and its Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Health.

"Miami's academics concentrate on preparing students for post-grad, so I really appreciated discovering that creativity and innovation were abundant in the classroom. Furthermore, Miami does an exemplary job of fostering critical thinking and interdepartmental collaboration. These are really important qualities to have in any discipline, but especially in healthcare, and the Mallory-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education presented those strong values from the very beginning.

"Lastly, I was drawn to Miami because of the limitless community engagement opportunities that a close-knit town like Oxford provides. It was important to me to be an active member of my community and to help cultivate positive change around me."

Best Miami Experiences

Stop the Bleed class participants at Miami (Fall, 2019)

"Through my desire to develop a relationship with the community and, as a result of my experiences with physical therapy, I decided to volunteer at a local clinic. Over the past few years I've had the privilege to work with many community members who have been diagnosed with neuromuscular diseases, many of whom just had life-altering surgeries, amputees, and an array of other medical backgrounds. Through these experiences I learned about medicine and physical rehabilitation in a broader view, extending beyond the doctor's office.

"I've also advocated within and for the community through the national campaign Stop the Bleed (STB). With massive bleeding, death can occur within minutes, and EMS can't always arrive in that timeframe. STB, led by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, aims to educate and empower bystanders through certification classes to fill the gap until EMS arrives. I got involved with STB as an ambassador through the University of Cincinnati Health Hospital Network, and with their help we've been able to bring bleeding control education classes to college campuses; we've trained roughly 200 students here at Miami already. I have also advocated for bleeding control education at the Ohio Statehouse to help develop a massive bleeding survivor network for Ohio.

"One last important Miami experience of mine is leading the campus Anatomy and Physiology Club. Our mission is to develop and facilitate interest in the health sciences through education and exploration. Alongside my amazing executive board, we have grown the club tremendously over the past year and a half. We provide clinics, workshops, and skills labs for our members to give them an immersive experience into various areas of healthcare.

"This fall, things are a little different because of the coronavirus pandemic. Because most student organization programming is now virtual, we created an initiative in collaboration with various other student organizations called the 2020 Virtual Health Exploration. This allows us to come together as a pre-health community to offer quality content for our existing members and new incoming freshmen. It is so important to practice resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges, and I'm proud that the pre-health community at Miami is doing just that!"

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"For me, the medical field is the perfect culmination of everything I'm looking for in a career: It encourages innovation, thrives off of teamwork, and emphasizes compassion, which are all very important to me.

"My pre-medical studies co-major has well prepared me for my future endeavours both academically and professionally. The Mallory-Wilson Center, run by director Joseph Carlin and assistant director Tailyn Walborn, provides a transformative student experience offering various opportunities for student growth both in and out of the classroom. The great thing about the co-major is that while it focuses on a traditional pre-medical curriculum, it also provides coursework that delves into the intricacies of healthcare and the community. Courses like PMD 410, which explores current issues in healthcare, give students the opportunity to lead discussions about complex issues and encourages them to become agents of change within their communities.

"Above all else, I am incredibly thankful for my mentors here at Miami. They have played a monumental role in my development, and I attribute a lot of my success to their continued guidance and support. In addition to Dr. Carlin and Ms. Walborn, I have also received incredible support by others like associate professor of kinesiology Randal Claytor, clinical professor Dean Smith, and undergraduate research coordinator Martha Weber. They have all individually contributed immensely to my personal and professional growth here at Miami. I am forever grateful for their presence in my life, and I could not imagine my Miami experience without them."

Analyzing Responses to Exercise

Grace Chaney exercises in a park in Cincinnati.

"Looking back at my last three years at Miami, I never would have imagined how many opportunities my research involvement would generate, nor how big of a role it would play in my life and future. My research commitments have allowed me to become a better communicator, problem solver, investigator and above all else, a more empathetic and patient person. These are traits I think will carry on well into my future career.

"Since the end of my freshman year I've been an undergraduate research assistant and student data analyst in the Muscle Fatigue Lab under Dr. Claytor. [See May 7, 2019 post in the Research and Innovation Report.] My involvement in undergraduate research has undoubtedly been one of the most influential experiences of my academic career. In our lab, we examine acute, local muscle fatigue and muscle fiber activation adaptation patterns from a neuromuscular and external mechanical perspective. We use a dynamic single-leg extension resistance exercise model and a systematic unloading training template to better understand the muscle fatigue and muscle activation processes.

"Soon after my love for research began to blossom, I got involved with the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU). The ORU offers numerous opportunities for students of all disciplines to further their research studies. Through the office I was able to participate in the 2019 Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) Program and received the 2019 Undergraduate Research Award. The ORU has been an exceptional resource for me during my time here at Miami.

"After completing the USS program, I decided to become an ambassador for the ORU, where I help incoming students develop their research interests. I've been able to share my research journey with students in UNV 101 courses, speak on plenary panels, and meet with students one-on-one.

"Then, this past summer I was selected to participate in the Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship within the Biomedical Engineering and Physiology Cohort. This experience solidified my desire to pursue clinical research in the future and expanded my research interests exponentially. I worked within the Mayo Clinic’s Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Department and primarily contributed to biomechanics studies involving anterior cruciate ligament tears and return-to-play criteria. I even took two courses and am continuing my work this fall with Mayo Clinic remotely to complete several ongoing studies."

Advice to Students

"There's a quote that I think really describes my undergraduate experiences: 'Behold the turtle! He makes progress only when his neck is out.'

"Coming from a single-income household and as a timid first-generation college student, being a pre-medical student was daunting, to say the least. At the time, I had zero connections in the healthcare field and no idea how to go about gaining experience. All I knew was that I was passionate about the medical field and that I wanted to make a positive impact on my campus and in the community.

"My most meaningful and important networking experiences have come from me channeling my 'inner turtle.' The best advice I could give to students is to advocate for yourself and your dreams. Even though it was intimidating at the time, sticking my neck out for myself has allowed me to find and create amazing opportunities that have in turn allowed me to foster great relationships with the community, physicians, and medical schools.

"Taking the initiative is crucial to getting what you want, not only from your time here at Miami but also from life in general. Push yourself to see how much of your potential you can manifest into something tangible, and I think you’ll be surprised at just how much you're capable of!"

[August 2020]