Nathaniel Jenkins ‘11

Nathaniel jenkins at Messiah college

Nathaniel Jenkins ‘11

Ph.D. candidate, exercise physiology and nutrition, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Only the most motivated college students read scientific literature outside the classroom, and that type of personal drive is exactly what set apart Nathaniel Jenkins ’11 as a health and exercise science major at Messiah and now as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Jenkins admits that he pushed himself pretty hard as a Messiah student—reading applied conditioning and sport science journals, obtaining certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), pursuing internships and undertaking research with his faculty advisor and mentor, Scott Kieffer, professor of health and exercise science.

“Nate was a stellar student with an incredible drive to learn,” recalls Kieffer. “As his advisor and research mentor, I once challenged Nate to read his favorite research journal from cover to cover. Nate took my challenge not only for that month but for every month. Ironically, Nate now has many of his own research publications in that journal and just received a scholarship from that organization to continue his research for his doctoral work.”

For the past two years Jenkins has received a travel award from the American College of Sports Medicine, an effort to support underrepresented graduate students’ ability to attend and present at scientific meetings and conferences. Jenkins has also received three consecutive competitive scholarships from NSCA.

Jenkins was well prepared for doctoral level research and analysis in part because of his undergraduate experience at Messiah where students in the department of health and human performance develop and design their own research projects in partnership with a faculty mentor.

“Messiah has terrific undergraduate research opportunities in exercise science,” Jenkins notes. “As a result, undergraduates in exercise science consistently get the opportunity to present at regional conferences and even publish abstracts.” Jenkins and Kieffer presented their research about the impact of pre-season resistance training programs on the athletic performance of DIII baseball players at the National American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in 2011.

Jenkins has recently been published on the topic of the effects of nutritional supplementation on muscle damage and/or fatigue thresholds and the effects of age on neuromuscular function. His dissertation research involves investigating neuromuscular adaptations to resistance training and the effects of varying resistances on neuromuscular activation; he expects to complete his Ph.D. in May 2016.

Read about Jenkins’ summer 2010 internship experience at NFL athlete Larry Fitzgerald’s wide receiver camp.