Southern Miss graduate students present, win awards at international conference

Dave Krzeminski and Nadine Lippa, doctoral students in the Southern Miss Sports and High Performance Materials (SHPM) programosted by The Center for Sports Engineer
Dave Krzeminski and Nadine Lippa, doctoral students in the Southern Miss Sports and High Performance Materials (SHPM) programosted by The Center for Sports Engineer

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi 

Graduate students and faculty from The University of Southern Mississippi attended the 2014 Conference of the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA), hosted by The Center for Sports Engineering Research at the City Campus of Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England.

Dave Krzeminski and Nadine Lippa, doctoral students in the Sports and High Performance Materials (SHPM) program and Dr. Scott Piland, associate professor and assistant director of the School of Human Performance and Recreation (HPR) attended the conference held July 14-17.

Krzeminski presented on his refereed conference paper titled, "Effects of solvent exposure on the material properties and impact performance of an American Football helmet outer shell material." Krzeminski is co-advised by Piland and Dr. James Rawlins, associate professor in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials.

"To orally present the research we are conducting in Mississippi to an international audience was an exceptional opportunity. In the crowd were university researchers across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, as well as lead scientists from companies such as Nike, Adidas and Speedo," said Krzeminski.

Lippa presented on her refereed conference paper titled, "Mechanical ageing protocol selection affects macroscopic and molecular level properties of EVA running shoe midsole foam." Lippa is co-advised by Rawlins and Dr. Trent Gould, associate dean of the College of Health and HPR professor.

"The conference itself was simply an amazing learning experience," said Lippa. "I was constantly learning not only about how research is conducted internationally, but also the unique struggles due to differing educational and government approaches in different countries and cultures."

Representatives from engineering programs and sporting goods manufacturers showed a high level of interest in the accomplishments of the Southern Miss SHPM program. The effort presented by Lippa was selected for two awards: the Adidas Footwear Prize and the ISEA Student Investigator Prize. The Adidas Footwear Prize was awarded to the paper demonstrating engineering research in the area of sports footwear performance that best fits the vision of the Adidas Innovation Team. The ISEA Student Investigator Prize was awarded to the best oral presentation of a student's original research.  Lippa and two other finalists, selected out of 90 student authors, presented to more than 300 conference attendees.

"It was shocking and unexpected to be announced the winner of both prizes," Lippa said. "We were blessed with a hard-working research and writing team and funding support from my co-advisors, Dr. James Rawlins and Dr. Trent Gould, and The University of Southern Mississippi."

"We were overwhelmed with the academic and commercial response to Lippa's work on EVA midsole foam properties," said Gould. "The very nature of a multidisciplinary program, such as SHPM, creates many obstacles for students. Lippa has transformed these obstacles into opportunities and we are very proud of her accomplishments."

Lippa has also been elected as the first Student Representative to serve on the ISEA executive committee. At the ISEA 2012 general meeting in Lowell, Massachusetts, Lippa suggested a lack of student representation. Based on her recommendation, a student representative position was officially created at the ISEA 2014 general meeting.

This was Krzeminski and Lippa's first international conference. "Compared to Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia, we learned that the U.S. is behind in accepting sports engineering as a rigorous science," Lippa said. "We found that we didn't need to defend the validity of our approach to solving problems at the human-material interface."

"I walked away with several potential opportunities for when I graduate, which is outstanding as I am nearing the end of my doctoral degree here at Southern Miss," said Krzeminski. "It is the academic rigors and financial support of the multidisciplinary SHPM program that prepared Nadine and I for our success."