Current faculty-sponsored research projects:

Chronic exercise and academic examination stress in undergraduate students - Collaboration with Dr. Stephen Luckey from BIOL

Final examinations are a major source of stress for undergraduate students. Is there anything, beyond academic preparation, that we can advise our students to do for optimizing performance when faced with the inevitable stress response associated with exams? It is possible that we should consider encouraging regular exercise. There is a well-known relationship between physiological stress and performance. When acute changes in stress hormones are too high or too low, performance is reduced. An excessive stress response may also have deleterious effects on memory and cognition. While the health-related benefits of exercise have been widely publicized in recent years, the role of regular exercise in stress mitigation within a campus community is not yet well understood. The purpose of this project is to determine the role of chronic exercise in the physiological stress response to final exams in undergraduate students. This project is a collaboration between Dr. Stephen Luckey (biology) and Dr. Molly Welsh (Sport and Exercise Science). There are 3 undergraduate students currently conducting the study, all of whom are planning to pursue health-related careers after graduating from SU.

Current undergraduate student research assistants: Alexandra Souther, Quinn Kearns, Abigail Wright 

Assessing the viability of crowdsourcing exercise planning for new exercisers - Collaboration with Ph.D. candidate Elena Agapie (Advisors: Dr. Sean Munson and Dr. Gary Hsieh) in the Human Centered Design and Engineering program at the University of Washington

Crowd workers have been successfully used to tackle problems in various domains, including recognizing labels for people who are blind, autism support, and skin cancer identification. The focus of this research project is to engage crowds of non-experts in supporting behavior change in the domain of exercise planning for new exercisers. Crowd workers offer the benefit of fast response times, experiential expertise, lower costs than experts, and real-time availability. However, they do not have the necessary expertise to offer advice that is consistent with discipline-based best-practices. In this project, we are interested in learning how to provide a online tool that serves as a scaffold to guide non-experts in providing appropriate exercise planning advice. We are currently developing and testing the planning tool using both experts and non-experts (crowd workers). This project is a collaboration with Ph.D. candidate Elena Agapie (Advisors: Dr. Sean Munson and Dr. Gary Hsieh) in the Human Centered Design and Engineering program at the University of Washington. There is currently 1 Seattle University undergraduate student assisting with the project. 

Current undergraduate student research assistant: Catherine Dickson  

Past Course-Related Student Projects:

  • Impact of Stretching Methods on Vertical Jump Performance in Division I Collegiate Baseball Players
    Andreychuk, G., Horton, J., Gehrke, J., Morris, M.
  • Comparison of noninvasive lactate threshold prediction technology: Will a commercially available, wearable lactate threshold monitor predict equivalent values to a laboratory-grade metabolic cart during a graded, near-maximal cycling exercise test performed by healthy college students?
    Quinn Kearns, Allie Umagat, Peter Paragas, Catherine Dickson

  • Impact of Exercise-Induced Fatigue on Seattle University Senior Students Performance of the Y-Balance Test
    Dorsey Addicks, Jonathan Massimino, Mariah O’Neil, and Abigail Wong

  • Determining the Order Effect between two arrangements of the events in the Army Physical Fitness Test in young, healthy females and males.
    Joshua Walden, Taylor Firn, Rebecca Roudbari, Jessie Piechowski

  • Validity of wearable Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) in estimating anaerobic threshold as compared to respiratory gas exchange analysis during running in physically active college-aged adults
    Kira Cardoza, Madi Engel, Rebecca Lassere and Alex Souther

  • The Effects of Fatigue on Vertical Jump Height and Rate of Force Development in Division I Female Soccer Players
    Sandy Dasalla, Danielle Nelson, Bri Smallidge, Marika Yaplee

  • Accuracy of wearable heart rate monitors in comparison to a baseline electrocardiogram of active, healthy college students
    Annie Phan, Innis McComb, Kristen Reed, Rury Lee

  • Pre-workout™ Status and Its Acute Effects on Performance in Trained 21-22 Year-Old College Students.
    Jordan Bingham, Mark Chong, Broc Gates, Alisa Poplawski

  • Effect of caffeine on performance metrics during an 800m run in active college students
    Caleb Zimmerman, Alison Gertler, Yvonne Simon, Maddie Chamberlin

  • The Effect of Stretching Status On Jump Height in College Men and Women
    Heather Higashi, Mark Nebel, Martina Samadan

  • The Cumulative Effect of Hydration Status and Skin Temperature on the Accuracy of Bioimpedance Analysis in Healthy Adults
    Tyler Flannery, Nadine McMillan, Josef Tromburg

  • Effects of Bag Choice and Acute Load Carriage on Normal Gait of College Students
    Selena Tsang, Amanda Labayog, Rose Saenz, Michael Lee

Contact HPL 

Sean Machak
Exercise Scientist & Laboratory Supervisor
Hunthausen 090A

Sarah Shultz, Ph.D.
Department Chair
Casey 540-01A

Email HPL



Human Performance Lab

At Seattle University's Human Performance Lab, we pride ourselves in the hands-on experience that students gain. While we believe having a solid foundation built upon rigorous academic curriculum is important, we also challenge our students to answer their own questions in the laboratory. Beautiful things happen when you combine education with application. Every day is a new challenge in the lab and we want to empower our students to pursue their dreams.

Students often ask us three things:

  • How can I apply what I learned in the classroom?
  • What opportunities does my degree provide?
  • hat else do I need to achieve my goals?

Having access to research grade tools as an undergraduate enables them to speak from a greater platform of competence and experience as they are going forth into the world. Better student outcomes arise from this kind of student engagement. Student passions are ignited within the lab and seeing our students grow by exploring their aspirations is what drives us.