HHP Student Profile: Evin Flinchum

1. What is your major/minor?

I am earning my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology with a concentration in Exercise as Medicine, as well as a minor in Natural Composite Science.

2. What is your graduation year?

I will graduate in May of 2022, then begin Physical Therapy school at ECU 10 days later! Right now I am planning on specializing in pediatrics, but I am not sure if 3 years of PT school will change that plan.

3. What is your research project? What are you trying to accomplish with this project?

My research project is titled “Leadership and Confidence in ROTC.” I am specifically focusing on the confidence, or efficacy, portion within ECU’s Air Force ROTC program. I am assessing their confidence in themselves, their peers, and their estimated efficacy that their peers have in them. The cadets were split into groups to answer different questionnaires: leaders and followers. For the peer confidence portion, the leaders answered about their followers and vice versa. I am currently analyzing the responses to study if one’s confidence in themselves and others is reflected by their respective leaders or followers. The goal is to examine if their actual confidence in each other is similar to their perceived efficacy, and if that impacts their success. Success is vital in the military because failure could cost people their lives. The AFROTC program will benefit from the results of this project, as they will be able to reevaluate their strengths and weaknesses to help them train better military leaders. The data from this study will not only help the AFROTC program, but the military as a whole. This study will be repeated later in the semester with the Army ROTC program, with the same goals and benefits.

4. Who are you working with in order to complete this research project?

I am working with Dr. Christine Habeeb and Master’s student Ajala Baker. The overarching study is going to incorporate elements regarding leadership in addition to the efficacy portion I am in charge of. We want to benefit both ROTC programs at ECU while simultaneously researching fields that are new to us. Dr. Habeeb’s previous research has been primarily in sport, so expanding to military studies has been an interest of hers. Ajala and I came along at the right time to develop a full project together.

5. How did you become involved in the research process?

I have had a few research opportunities throughout high school and college, but I knew I had to join Dr. Habeeb’s lab after taking a class with her. I knew she was heavily involved with research in addition to teaching, so I reached out to her through email. We had a virtual meeting to discuss potential projects and the rest is history! Dr. Habeeb had wanted to complete a military project for years but the opportunity had not presented itself until Ajala and I came along.

6. What advice do you have for students who are interested in your field and want to become involved?

If you are interested in doing research, reach out! There are so many faculty at ECU who want you to gain experience and need help with their projects. You can join a project that is already in progress, or you can design your own. Find a professor you admire, someone who is completing a project that piques your interest, someone with similar passions who may help you develop your own project, or anyone in your desired field. If it does not work out, they could provide a connection to another opportunity that does work. You just have to take the first step!

7. How do you think this research process has affected/will affect your career path(s)?

Doing research in college has been a great experience so far. I joined Dr. Ted Graber from ECU’s Physical Therapy department in one of his ongoing projects during my sophomore year, which ignited a passion for research. The pandemic unfortunately ended that particular opportunity for me but it inspired me to continue research in college. Developing my own project has been an entirely new experience; I have learned to adapt to changing circumstances and gained even more experience in working as a team. I have also learned responsibility since an entire portion of this project is mine. I believe doing research has helped shape my college career and will help me in the future. Research is more than collecting data for a project; it also teaches valuable life skills that would be beneficial to anyone.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Research is not the only thing I have been involved with since coming to ECU in 2018. Throughout college I have also been on the Club Golf team, the Honors College Student Council, held leadership positions in both a sorority and honor fraternity, shadowed physical therapists, and had part-time jobs. Time management is a skill I have learned to excel at. I have always loved being busy and want to take advantage of every opportunity presented to me. I was well prepared to manage my time in college thanks to my unique high school experience. I transferred to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics for my junior and senior years of high school. Since NCSSM was a competitive boarding school, it was very similar to a college environment. My two years there taught me independence that became invaluable during my time at ECU.