The COVID pandemic has dramatically changed the way academic institutions provide learning to its students and the delivery mode of instruction. These institutions continue to strive to remain connected, relevant, and supportive of the needs of its community members and of the society in general. Amidst the challenges, and uncertainties in some specific disciplines such as sports, research and training for strength and conditioning surprisingly continue and thrive.
Rising up to the challenge, the University of Santo Tomas College of Rehabilitation Sciences (UST CRS) Department of Sports Science and the Mahidol University College of Sports Science and Technology (MU CSST) Bangkok, Thailand collaboratively held the first Online Internship Program (OIP) for Sports Science Interns. This two-week program featured lectures and workshop sessions, virtual tours, technological exposures, readings, and discussions through Google Classrooms and Zoom.
Integral to the professional development of future sports scientists, the OIP explored various Sports Science topics from Mahidol University and provided students with insight on the latest developments in the field while promoting both institutions’ academic, administrative and socio-cultural connections.
This joint program was spearheaded by the MU Sports Science Doctoral Program Director Assoc. Prof. Weerawat Limroongreungrat, Ph.D., and co-faculty lecturers Dr. Saiphon Kongkum and Dr. Parunchaya Jamkrajang. Assisting in the organization of the internship program were the UST Sports Science Department Chair Asst. Prof. Reil Vinard Espino and the CRS International Relations Coordinator and Sports Science faculty, Stephanie Pagarigan.
The program began with a brief introduction to the cultures, programs and institutions of Mahidol University and the University of Santo Tomas. The participants were welcomed by the respective college deans, Dr. Bavornrit Chuckpaiwong of MU-CSST and Assoc. Prof. Anne Marie Aseron of UST-CRS, who invited their respective faculty members and students to the online internship program.
Twenty-three undergraduate students were included in the program, 16 of which were from UST and seven from MU. Three post-graduate students of Mahidol were also invited to join.
The topics included skills development, sports physiology, sports nutrition, physical activity and active lifestyles, data analysis in athletic performance, metabolic analysis of para-athletes, sports medicine and injury prevention, and sport biomechanics, among others. At the end of the program, students collaborated for research presentations on certain topics assigned to them. Cultural activities such as a food exchange and games were also incorporated into the program to promote interaction between the students.
International speakers, visiting faculty of Mahidol University and distinguished practitioners in the field of Sports Science also shared their expertise for the program. Among them were Prof. Gareth Irwin of Cardiff Metropolitan University; Badminton Association of Thailand Performance Head Coach Sean Sturgess; Dr. Gary Guerra of the Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics under the Mahidol University Faculty of Medicine – Siriraj Hospital; Thailand Port Football Club Performance Head Coach Rafael Monteiro; and New York Medical College School of Health Sciences and Practice Vice Dean Prof. Benjamin Johnson.
The Online Sports Science Internship Program was also participated in by MU-CSST faculty members namely, Dr. Weerawat Limroonreungrat, Dr. Saiphon Kongkum, Dr. Parunchaya Jamkrajang, Dr. Metta Pinthong, Dr. Alisa Nana, Dr. Areekul Puangsuwan, Dr. Amornpan Ajimaporn, Dr. Christopher MaWhinney, Dr. Kornkit Chaijenkij, and the assistance of their counterparts from the UST-CRS Sports Science department.