June 15, 2021
Class of 2021: Taste of research opened many new doors for kinesiology grad
Rugby, dancing, musical theatre. Ever since high school, Adesua Egbase has participated in, and enjoyed doing, physical activity. But, beyond just the physical activity, she enjoyed learning about the “wonders of the human body” in biology and sports science.
These interests led Egbase to attain a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary.
“Kinesiology seemed like a good fit because it not only focused on the science, but it also focused on the social and cultural influences that affect physical activity, movement and health across various demographics,” she says.
Throughout her degree, Egbase had the opportunity to work in the Language and Cognitive Development Lab in the department of psychology and as a research volunteer in the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Research Associates Program. Egbase says this was her first chance to dip into the research world, and it gave her the chance to really understand how research operates.
Deepening appreciation for mind science
During her time in the psychology lab, her research focused on young kids and their cognitive and language development. This allowed her to develop an interest in the science of human cognition and behaviour. Combined with kinesiology, she made her concentration in mind sciences, looking at human behaviour and neural-cognitive processes that affect movement and health.
“That helped me launch further into clinical research, as I’m now in the Better Mobility Lab in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences that focuses on physical medicine and rehabilitation,” she says.
In this lab, Egbase researches the effects of walking aids on movement and muscle activation, as well as their impact on peripheral nerve injuries. She says she enjoys the framework of this lab, as it doesn’t take a “one-size-fits-all approach” — rather, it tries to tailor care and research to specific individual needs.
Beyond research, Egbase served as an executive on the Nigerian Students’ Association and as a wellness community ambassador in the Wellness in Residence program, which gave her an opportunity to interact with residents on campus, planning events and connecting with them on a deeper level. This was something she embraced, as she enjoys taking on mentorship and leadership roles.
Learning is a two-way street
“It was nice to be able to share my experiences with students, and I also got to learn from them, so it was a two-way street,” she says.
Recently, Egbase joined the Black Residence Advisors Network, an organization that aims to provide tools and resources to community ambassadors like herself to support Black students in residence.
Egbase says it is important for Black students living in residence to have someone in a leadership role who identifies with them to go to for support, especially for issues that are unique to Black students.
The network allows Egbase and other Black community ambassadors to talk about issues and ways they can help each other better the lives of Black student residents on campuses across Canada.
“It’s been a pleasure learning the stories that community ambassadors like me have experienced, in regard to being a person of colour in a position of leadership,” she says.
Experience and understand
Egbase also recently joined the Faculty of Kinesiology’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee. She says when she entered Kinesiology the committee did not exist, but there was a need for it and is happy to see something like it starting in her faculty.
“Being on the EDI committee has allowed me to experience and understand what it’s like to make effective change,” she says.
Working with other BIPOC students, she has shared her experiences and communicated with kinesiology professors, faculty and staff about ways to improve the experiences of underrepresented students in the faculty.
Now that she has graduated, Egbase says she is considering pursuing a career in medicine or public health where she can advocate for health equity and equality in Canada and developing countries.
“Being an immigrant from Nigeria at a young age, I have been able to see both worlds and believe we still have a long way to go in reducing health disparities locally and internationally,” she says.