8 Questions with Professor Randi Lite

December 19, 2016

Randi Lite

Learn more about Professor Lite and what she wishes you knew about exercise science!

What program do you teach in at Simmons?

I'm the Program Director for exercise science, which is housed in the Biology Department at Simmons.

What's your favorite class to teach?

I love to teach Exercise Physiology (Biology 332) and the lab. As a clinical exercise physiologist, I love the connection between what we experience during physical activity and what is happening on the organ and cellular levels. In Exercise Physiology we get to explore the underlying physiological mechanisms of exercise response AND how those responses adapt to different training. 

In lab, we have great equipment that allows us to measure changes in oxygen consumption, muscle activation, pulmonary function, etc., with different exercise protocols so we can see the changes that occur in real time. Each year we do original research within the lab. Last year, the students investigated whether mouthguard use impeded breathing during intense exercise. The journal articles they wrote analyzed our data in context with other published research. Love this!

What's the best thing about the exercise science program?

Many students use our exercise science program as a stepping-stone to other careers in the health sciences, like physical and occupational therapy. I love that the program can launch them into careers in which exercise and movement is a foundational aspect of how they engage with their patients/clients, and also prepare students for a career in exercise physiology, fitness and wellness.

Because our program is based in the Biology Department, it's grounded in scientific preparation. Our location in the Longwood Medical area means that students have access to internship experiences in research, rehabilitation and a range of fitness facilities. Finally, our connection to the School of Nursing and Health Studies enables us to partner with the physical therapy and nutrition graduate programs to support students in a seamless transition from undergraduate to graduate study.

What's one thing you wish people knew about exercise science?

People tend to think about nutrition and weight control first when envisioning the important elements of being healthy. These are certainly critical components of healthy behavior (along with adequate sleep, stress reduction, and staying smoke and drug free). However, I wish people knew more about the profound positive affects that regular, moderate physical activity can have on the brain, heart, inflammation levels, energy and lipid levels, and risk of chronic disease.

Fill in the blank: When I was in college I         

was a pre-med, biochemistry major and worked at a very alternative yoga and powerlifting gym.

When I'm not teaching I'm         

outside! Hiking, biking, kayaking and running.

Do you have a hidden talent?

I make great sourdough bread — and until this season, kept a backyard apiary (beehives).

What's your Simmons moment?

A few weeks ago on a Sunday, student leaders from the Exercise Science Liaison came to my home. We hiked together and then came back to my house for appetizers and a brainstorming session about what we hope to accomplish in the Liaison this year. That is a Simmons moment for me – being in a place that values student-faculty relationships and promotes leadership through mentoring and through intra- and extra-curricular opportunities.