Kinesiology Student Spotlight: Abigail Caffey

Abigail Caffey made her mark as an undergraduate student at LSU, winning multiple awards and excelling in her research under Marc Dalecki, PhD, in his Motor Behavior and Cognition lab within the School of Kinesiology. Now as a master's student, she is continuing her track of excellence through further studies and work in her field. Read more about Abigail below.

photo of Abigail Caffey

Where are you from?
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

What year in school are you?
I'm a first-year Master's student studying Motor Control.

When are you projected to graduate?
May 2022

Tell us about your involvement in the School of Kinesiology and on campus, as well as your awards and achievements at LSU.
During my time as an undergraduate at Louisiana State University, I served as a research assistant for the Motor Behavior and Cognition Lab on campus. My independent research project was funded by three LSU Discover Grants, and was presented at both undergraduate and professional-level conferences. I was an active member of the Distinguished Undergraduate Research Program (DURP) and the College of Human Science and Education Distinguished Scholar program. I served as an undergraduate research ambassador, which granted me the opportunity to advise other students while promoting undergraduate research. I am currently in the process of getting my undergraduate research published.

Outside of research, I was an active member of an on campus fitness organization called CHAARG, where I served on the executive board for two semesters. I also co-founded a women’s health and fitness organization on campus, called Elevate. I acted as Elevate's event coordinator for two years, coordinating weekly fitness and health-related events for members. I also worked as an Occupational Therapy technician in various clinical settings throughout my time at LSU. Based on my accomplishments and commitment to helping others, I was selected as a Tiger Twelve candidate to represent LSU’s class of 2020. I am currently attending LSU’s Master’s program for Kinesiology, and hope to one day become an Occupational Therapist and work in a research and rehabilitation hospital.

Proudest achievements at LSU:

  • I received 3 LSU Discover Grants for my undergraduate research.
  • I presented my undergraduate research at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience (SFN) conference in Chicago.
  • I received a Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher (DURP) graduation medal.
  • I received a CHSE Undergraduate Distinguished Scholar graduation medal.
  • I was selected as a Tiger Twelve candidate to represent the class of 2020.
  • I won third place overall at LSU Discover Day 2020.
  • I was co-founder and event coordinator for Elevate, an ongoing women’s health organization at LSU.
  • I am lead author on my undergraduate research manuscript, which has been submitted to an academic journal for consideration.

How did you choose to study Kinesiology?
As a teenager, I was diagnosed with a rare, incurable disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD); an autoimmune condition that simultaneously affects the nerves, skin, muscles, and blood vessels. I spent a lot of time in pain rehabilitation centers and enrolled as a research participant in several pain-related studies. I wanted to know more about the mechanisms behind my disorder, not just to help me, but also to help others in similar situations to mine. My desire to help people like me, and my fascination with the human brain, were driving forces that led me to pursue degrees in kinesiology.

What are you looking to pursue after you graduate?
After I graduate, I hope to attend a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. I would love to practice as an occupational therapist in a research and rehabilitation hospital. I hope to one-day help patients not only learn how to manage their pain, but to also help them better understand it.

What advice would you have for your fellow students?
My advice is to “be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.” Things will constantly change during your time at LSU, and this can be a wonderful thing if you let it. Do not be afraid to try for something because even if you don’t get it, you will still be better off than you were when you started. Things are not going to go exactly how you plan, and that is okay! Sometimes it turns out a lot better than you could imagine.

Anything else you'd like to include?
Forever LSU!