The fellowship is awarded to superior graduate students who are newly enrolling at UCF and provides $20,000 each year for up to four years.
Skibski, who earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science and master’s degree in athletic training at Adrian College in Michigan, will be studying under the mentorship of athletic training assistant professor Colby Mangum, who recommended Skibski for the fellowship.
He says he has always been fascinated by exercise and fitness, but it wasn’t until he was nearing completion of his bachelor’s degree in exercise science at Adrian College in Michigan that he discovered his love for research.
This led him to pursue a master’s degree in athletic training. At the same time, he was a team captain for the men’s golf team at his college so it was a natural fit for him to focus his thesis on lower back pain in golfers and the use of ultrasound imaging to detect changes in movement and improve treatment.
It was through this research process and the relationship with his thesis advisor that Skibski was first introduced to Mangum.
“My advisor told me that he and Mangum went to school together years ago,” he says. “He was aware of her current research, which was similar to mine, and thought that she would be a great resource for me.”
Mangum, who’s research focuses on lower back pain in the physically active, began talking to him about pursuing a doctorate degree to continue his research, but this time, his research would bring him to Florida.
“After great conversations about his goals, continued research interests, a visit to our labs, and new research questions, he was all set to apply to our program,” Mangum says. “I am very excited about Andrew starting in the Exercise Physiology Ph.D. program in the fall under my mentorship and for him to join the Athletic Training Lab.”
Skibski’s career goal is to become a college professor and pass on his passion for research to the next generation of students. He says this fellowship is a step toward helping him accomplish that goal.
“This fellowship gives me the opportunity to expand upon my previous research,” he says. “This will prepare me to achieve my career goals following my time at UCF, and I am grateful for the opportunity to further my education.”