GWU Research Scholar Conducts Testing for the American College of Sports Medicine

Print Friendly

Experience Prepares Savannah Hollifield ’19 for Career as Physician Assistant

A photo of Savannah Hollifield monitoring a person riding an exercise bike for her research project
Photo by Blanton Leigh

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Research conducted by Gardner-Webb University senior Savannah Hollifield will have an immediate impact on the fitness world. Her findings will be added to the data used by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to establish a normative base for its cycle ergometer protocol and push-up test.

The exercise science major from Forest City, N.C., was one of 13 students who received a grant from the Undergraduate Research Scholars program for the summer 2018 term. Mentored by Dr. Jeff Hartman, Hollifield worked 40 hours a week for five weeks testing individuals and recording the results.

Because she had to recruit volunteers and administer the exercise tests, the experience prepared her professionally. “This research gave me the perfect opportunity to strengthen my ability to interact with people in a clinical environment,” Hollifield reflected. “The project allowed me to begin interacting with people in a professional, yet personable setting.”

She was surprised by the level of endurance some of her participants displayed. Hollifield presented her findings at the 2019 GWU Life of the Scholar Multidisciplinary Conference.

“I would highly recommend doing undergraduate research,” she asserted. “It gives you the opportunity to learn more about the field you may be interested in, and you get to meet awesome people with similar work ethics in the Summer Scholars program.”

After graduation, Hollifield hopes to be accepted into a Physician Assistant (PA) program. “I became interested in healthcare during my early high school years, because I underwent a surgery on my wrist and required a lot of occupational therapy,” she shared. “I began job shadowing various healthcare occupations, and discovered Physician Assistant. It sounded like a perfect fit for what I was looking for, and the job will allow me to do medical mission work in the future, which was a major plus for me.”

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a place where Christian compassion meets critical thinking. A private, Christian, liberal arts university, Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective servant-leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at