Katelan King

Katelan King gets first-hand experience at Iowa State

Following her two older brothers, Katelan enrolled into the kinesiology program at Iowa State. She joined several clubs, but a special opportunity at Mary Greeley Hospital enforced her decision to specialize in neurorehabilitation.

In the fall of 2014, Katelan received an email asking for volunteers to help a patient in the Mary Greeley Hospital Rehabilitation Therapy program.

“His Medicare was running out, so they were recruiting undergraduates to help,” she said. “It was a great opportunity. Not many kinesiology students get this kind of chance.”

Katelan applied, attended training sessions, and was ready to help the middle-aged paraplegic. This experience taught her a lot about applying her knowledge in the classroom to real-life situations. But more importantly, it decided her specialty.

“It was my ‘aha moment’,” she said. “I always liked hands-on science, and this is the closest I could get without doing surgery.”

To continue learning about neurorehabilitation, Katelan joined Dr. Smiley-Oyen’s research team in one of the neuromotor control labs in the kinesiology department. Here she learned how to process data, communicate with different college departments, and translate results for families to understand.

Katelan said she learned a lot from both experiences and encourages future students to jump into research positions.

“You see the other side of it,” she said. “There’s the hands-on element of working with people, but you also learn the science aspect of collecting and understanding data.”