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Joseph Vondrasek: Gaining Research Experience as a Student

College e-STEM program leads to published article for Alma College senior

Alma College wrestler Joseph Vondrasek, right, is pictured competing. Alma College wrestler Joseph Vondrasek, right, is pictured competing.ALMA — Joseph Vondrasek of Owosso hasn’t graduated from college yet and he’s already a published researcher in his field.

A paper co-written by Vondrasek, “Validity and Reliability of the VO2 Master Pro for Oxygen Consumption and Ventilation Assessment,” was published in the International Journal of Exercise Science in September 2020.

The paper was a culmination of a research project by Vondrasek, along with Alma College faculty members Alexander Montoye, assistant professor of integrative physiology and health science, and Brian Hancock, assistant professor of education, which looked at a device used in exercise science known as a portable metabolic analyzer.

The project was made possible by Alma’s e-STEM CORE research program, which gives students a stipend for their work and the opportunity to conduct side-by-side research with faculty mentors using state of-the-art equipment.

But for Vondrasek, the paper didn’t simply mark the end of something — it marked the beginning of what will hopefully be a long career in the science field.

“This was the first project I was a part of that was published in a scientific journal,” Vondrasek said. “Alma has given me many opportunities that I am beyond grateful for — the most influential experiences have been the research projects I worked on with Dr. Montoye.”

A double major in integrative physiology and health science (IPHS) and history, he has been a member of the Scots’ wrestling team the past four years. Competing in the 174-pound weight class, he’s had a successful career at Alma — including a second-place finish in the Ben McMullen Open in 2019.

However, in a positive way, Vondrasek said that his time at Alma has taught him there are more important things in life than his favorite sport.

“Wrestling has remained the cornerstone of my experiences, but there are so many other things that I am happy I was able to do,” he said.

In his time at Alma, Vondrasek has also worked as a First-Year Guide in the college’s Student Affairs Office, a mail delivery worker, a ball-shagger at soccer games, and a teaching assistant for Spanish language courses.

Through these experiences, as well as a close relationship with history professor Daniel Wasserman-Soler, Vondrasek has become well-acquainted with the campus community, which has enriched his overall college experience.

“My faith journey has also been positively influenced in my time at Alma. One major part of this was being a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes,” Vondrasek said. “The other major part of this has been building a close relationship with a professor, Dr. Wasserman-Soler, who has given me an outlet to ask questions and just talk things out.”

After graduation, he plans to attend Georgia Southern University in Savannah, Georgia, where he will continue pursuing cardiovascular research as he starts a master’s degree program in sports medicine.

Story published on March 15, 2021