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Matt VargaMatt Varga was one of the students presenting their work during Kinesiology Research Day.

Posters and presentations showcase kinesiology research

Seeing the projects of fellow students is an inspiration, says Erin Tanner. She was one of hundreds of attendees checking out posters and presentations during Kinesiology Research Day, Tuesday in the Human Kinetics Building.

“I’m interested in getting involved in some research myself,” said the second-year sport management student. “Today gave me a platform to start networking and get more of a sense of the type of work being done in my field.”

That response is exactly what professor Cheri McGowan likes to hear. The department’s research co-ordinator, she was lead organizer of the event.

“We have a culture of celebrating our students and really want to showcase their successes,” she said. “There are some really talented students here and it gives them an opportunity to tell their stories.”

Third-year movement science major Matt Varga said preparing his poster developed his skill in communicating complex ideas. His project compared the types of images female athletes share on their social media channels to those published in the Body Issue of ESPN Magazine, which features nude photographs of women and men.

“On their personal Instagram feeds, they prefer to show themselves in athletic action, strong and powerful,” Varga said. “But ESPN shows more sexualized pictures and what we term ‘getting pretty’ shots.”

In fact, he found ESPN was five times more likely to pick images in the getting pretty category, and half as likely to feature these athletes in action.

Varga’s sad conclusion? “Sex sells, or at least ESPN believes it does.”