Human Performance Laboraory Programs: A Marshall University Graduate Program of Academic Excellence
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"For those not in the know about NFL: Deon Sanders (ultimate football player) is to my immediate left and Roger Goodell (NFL commissioner) is to his left. On my right is my athletic director. I wrote a grant application for my school for a contest sponsored by the NFL entitled "Keep Gym In School".

This was a national grant that began with a nomination process (5 of my students nominated us) and then 20 schools were selected to complete the final judging. From more than 1000 national nominations, we were chosen as a top 20 finalist. We were then selected as the grant winner of $10,000 for use in revamping our PE program. I am starting an After School Activity Program titled, "Get Fit ASAP", which will begin next school year.

We were flown to New York City for 3 nights to tour the city and to participate in NFL draft weekend activities including attending the NFL draft, which was really cool! I was interviewed by the NFL Network which appeared on TV and was given some gracious words during a luncheon at a wonderful restaurant overlooking Times Square; it was an experience of a lifetime!

Thanks again to all of you who supported me during this process and those of you (Dr. Marley and Lisa Marsh) who instilled scholarly diligence and perfected my writing skills during my college years!"

   Jenifer White Long

De'Shaun N. Drake

De'Shaun N. Drake, MS
Clinical Trials Manager/Director
Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
San Diego, CA

De’Shaun Drake received her Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology in 2005. Since that time, De’Shaun has developed a strong resume in clinical research. She recently accepted a new position as Clinical Trials Manager/Director for the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery in San Diego, California. In her new position, De’Shaun is responsible for developing and managing clinical trials. This includes managing the design of complex clinical research protocols and CRF development. She also develops clinical study budgets, allocates internal resources, and leads project team meetings, setting the agenda, tracking project progress and related issues to satisfactory resolution.

She trains personnel at clinical sites prior to beginning all research projects, tracks clinical metrics, and manages the clinical timelines and logistics for each study. Analyzing and reporting research findings, giving presentations at professional meetings and writing abstracts and papers for publication in scientific journals are other duties. This requires her to work administratively with multiple departments: Research, Marketing, Sales, and Program Management.

De’Shaun’s administrative responsibilities require her to provide Senior Management with comprehensive reviews of ongoing clinical studies. She also monitors compliance with research protocols at clinical sites and initiates literature reviews to support ongoing research.

Her current research is focused on Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion Surgery for the Treatment of Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis, Degenerative Disk Disease, Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Scoliosis.

Can Ed.D Program Wield Influence in Africa?

By Andrea Bennett on October 14, 2009 9:43 AM

Jerry Gargus &

Dr. Gargus (on the right) is shown here with Mr. Shehu Garba, owner of the “Premier School” in Abuja, Nigeria, where he and his colleague, Dr. Andrew Heughins, presented training seminars for Mr. Garba’s teachers and school administrators. Mr. Garba played a significant role in Dr. Gargus’ invitation to Africa. Dr. Gargus said that, “Traveling to Africa to train teachers and school administrators was certainly a highlight of my professional career.  We are in the process of putting together a similar project for the summer of 2010!

“Lessons from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education Doctor of Education [Ed. D] program really are without borders, and knowledge from the program is transforming schools around the world.

This past summer, the reach of USC’s influence extended to Africa through the work of alumni Andrew Heughins EdD ’06 and Jerry Gargus EdD ’06, who share a passion for improving education beyond their respective schools.

When Heughins and Gargus, the principals of Anthony Elementary and Schmitt Elementary in Westminster, respectively, visited Nigeria this summer to help teachers and school administrators improve their practice, they found a system lacking the influence of current educational research.

“The instructional paradigm is very rigid with students sitting in rows and copying off of the board, unlike the engaging instructional model that is emphasized in U.S. schools,” Gargus explained. “In some cases, learning and performance expectations for students have not been developmentally appropriate.”

In Nigeria, teachers have little voice in school practices, and they are often expected to work long hours and weekends at the whim of school directors. In many schools, an assembly line approach is favored over staff collaboration and inspiration.

The two alums soon discovered that the teachers, administrators and school owners were hungry for any educational strategies that would make them better at what they do. It was evident that the teachers and administrators who participated in the training programs believe that improving the country’s education system is critical to Nigeria’s future.

In order to become a teacher in Nigeria, an individual needs to have earned a bachelor’s degree, but there is not a curriculum at the university level that prepares them for the classroom.

“Schools in Nigeria, including those that we worked with during our two weeks in the country, don’t have teachers who go through education programs at universities,” Heughins said. “The neat thing about working with them was they are so eager. In most cases, teachers are not exposed to the kind of ongoing professional development that is common in the U.S. The educators we worked with expressed that there is tremendous demand for further training.”

Heughins, who led a team of four education experts on the trip, taught administrators and school directors how to run schools effectively, how to motivate teachers and how to collaboratively develop school vision statements. Many of the strategies introduced to program participants were derived from research shared in Stuart Gothold’s educational leadership class, which emphasized Bolman and Deal’s “Four Frames of Leadership.”

“Everything we learned in the Ed.D. program came together,” Heughins said. “I would have never had the confidence to travel to Africa to train educators had it not been for my experiences at USC. Dr. Gothold’s leadership class during our first year was both inspiring and motivational. He definitely left a lasting impact on us.”

Gargus worked with primary grade teachers to help them develop their repertoire of instructional strategies for building fluency, engaging students in the instructional process and managing their classrooms.

“It was awesome to see the passion and energy that the teachers in both Abuja and Lagos maintained throughout the five-day training,” he said.

“USC definitely has an international brand. It’s recognized around the world, and it was wonderful to see that when we traveled to Nigeria. Having a doctorate of education from USC empowered us with instant credibility to be able to help Nigerian educators better their practice.”

Two days after their arrival, however, the American educators were reminded of the tenuous state of education in some parts of the country as a violent uprising broke out in the north by Islamic militants.

The conflict was quelled within a week. But it was clear to the team that their work was unlike any professional development program one might offer in the United States. The team plans to return next summer and expand its reach by offering professional development courses online.

Gargus credited his experience in the Ed.D. program and the responsibility that comes with it for motivating him to improve education globally.

“One of the things that was really beneficial about USC was that it broadened the horizons of what’s really possible,” Gargus said. “The opportunity that exists for us to have influence on the lives of children is no longer limited to our schools, our state or even our country.”

Dr. Jerry Gargus
Master of Science
Marshall University 1995

Dr. Gargus graduated with a B.A. in Adult Fitness in 1993 and his Master of Science degree in Sports Management and Marketing from Marshall University in 1995. He received his Doctor of Education degree in Urban Education Leadership at the University of Southern California in 2006.

Jerry Gargus, Ed.D.
Ray M. Schmitt Elementary School
7200 Trask Avenue
Westminster, CA 92683

Jill Horton

Jill Horton received her Master of Science in Exercise Science, Clinical Applied Track, in 2006 and joined the Cardiac Rehabilitation staff of the Regional Heart Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington. Recently, Jill accepted a position as the Patient Safety Specialist for Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland in the Washington DC area. It is an acute rehabilitation hospital treating patients with brain and spinal cord injuries as well as amputees and stroke patients.

Her primary responsibilities include serving as Team Leader for the Patient Safety Team, Falls Prevention Team and Infection Control Committee. Emergency Preparedness and New Employee Orientation are other important tasks. She also works at the Corporate Level with the Stop Falls Workgroup, Hospital Acquired Infections Committee and related task forces. Infection control management, patient falls prevention, medication error control, quality control auditing, and personnel performance improvement are other important duties in her new position.

Thomas Miller

Thomas M. Miller, III, MS
University of Virginia Health System
UVA-WorkMed, Occupational Health and Wellness

Thomas received his MS in Exercise Science, Clinical Applied, in 1998 and accepted a Coordinator position with Roper St. Francis Healthcare System’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program, based in Charleston, South Carolina. He established a successful satellite cardiac rehabilitation program 40 miles outside of Charleston in the South Carolina “low country” town of Walterboro, SC.

He then moved to a position in the University of Virginia Health System as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Working in a large, international, academic medical facility, Thomas experienced some very unique cases in a diverse and patient population with multiple medical disorders. While with UVA-Health System Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, he had the opportunity to teach and mentor graduate students and medical residents. He served as the primary in-patient cardiac rehabilitation consultant and as an out patient Clinical Exercise Physiologist. He also assisted in the development of a formal exercise component in the UVA Health System multidisciplinary Diabetes Cardiovascular Clinic.

Miller is currently the Medical Center Supervisor for UVA-WorkMed, an Occupational Health and Wellness specialty clinic in the UVA-Health System. This clinic is a large regional provider of tailored employer health care services that includes unique screening and preventive services. In this setting, Thomas is constantly refining his clinical and business knowledge.

Thomas has written and published many newspaper articles; co-authored a research article, and continues to provide educational support to these UVA patients. He also manages fitness based and sports medicine programs at the Center.


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