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Student Profile: Shane Phillips

Aspiring physical therapist Shane Phillips knows his field of study well. So well, in fact, that in fall 2023, he led his Exercise Science Club’s quiz bowl team to victory with a buzzer-beater answer. Mar 26, 2024

Shane Phillips likes to debate and play devil’s advocate during arguments. One might think he’s studying for a law degree. Phillips also thought he would grow up to study law, but his passion for fitness and sports had a grip on him that was too hard to shake. Now, Phillips is in his second year of study toward a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.

Interested in science, human physiology, and human body performance, the School of Health Professions student is currently working as a personal trainer and looks forward to a career in physical therapy. To help him better understand human anatomy and the needs of clients, Phillips is studying the importance of eccentric loading in fitness—muscle lengthening while under load.

Using a Visual Analog Scale (pain rating scale), force plates (sensors), and the bench press exercise, Phillips is testing whether keeping muscles under tension for certain periods of time makes a difference in a person’s progress while working out. Depending on his findings, he can adjust his work with clients to best suit their needs and maximize their results. Once his research is complete, he will present the study at the 2025 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Greater New York Regional Chapter conference.

Phillips joined the Exercise Science Club in his first year at New York Tech to expose himself to new opportunities and keep up with the field. After one semester, he became vice president, rising to president the following semester. In this role, he collaborates with his fellow club members and faculty advisor Alex Rothstein, M.S., instructor of exercise science, to strategize ways they might build a healthier campus community.

Phillips also captains the club’s quiz bowl team. As he and the team diligently keep abreast of exercise science topics, the group scored a quiz bowl victory in fall 2023 at the ACSM mid-Atlantic regional conference in Lancaster, Pa. In a Jeopardy!-style game, the group had fallen behind until the last question, which asked teams to name the non-essential amino acid that serves as a pH buffer in blood—beta-alanine.

“We didn’t have a great shot at winning, and we decided to bet nearly all of our points at the end,” Phillips recalls. “My teammate and I had been discussing pre-workout supplements and amino acids earlier in the day, and that conversation ended up saving us the game.”

Since winning the regional conference, Phillips’ team will travel to Boston, Mass., at the end of May 2024 for the national-level competition. In hopes of securing another win, the team aims to meet during every free hour on campus to discuss and review pertinent topics.

Phillips will consider his next step after he receives his bachelor’s degree. While physical therapy is undoubtedly his career path, he is unsure if he wants to go straight to work or pursue a higher degree—he is weighing his options between a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree or a master’s degree in sports performance.

Until that time comes, Phillips follows the same advice he offers to others: be available for opportunity. “As a student you don’t have many skills or experience, but you do have time,” he says. “Use your time wisely, expose yourself to any available opportunities, and build yourself up from there. As you become more involved, you’ll gain more skills and experiences, which leads to more opportunity.”

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