University of Calgary

Masterful save

UToday HomeNovember 29, 2012

By Don McSwiney

Kristen Barton picked up two degrees this month in the 4+1 program.Kristen Barton picked up two degrees this month in the 4+1 program.Kristen Barton made a lot of saves as a Dinos soccer goalie, but she may have made her biggest save as a kinesiology undergraduate.

Earlier this month, Barton collected her master’s degree as a graduate of the Faculty of Kinesiology’s innovative combined master’s and undergraduate degree program, most often referred to as the 4+1 program.

The program essentially saves students a year, allowing them to complete their undergraduate and master’s degrees in five years instead of six.

“I knew early in my undergraduate degree that I wanted to pursue research,” says Barton. “The 4+1 is a great program to fast-track a year and it seemed like a good option as I did a number of undergraduate research projects.”

If University is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, then Barton seems to have taken the time to sample every flavour during her academic career. Barton did a Markin Undergraduate Student Research Project (USRP) in the labs of Dr. Cy Frank and Tanin Schmidt. The project examined the properties of lubricin, our body’s natural lubricant. This early research was the genesis for her master’s and PhD research interests.

“My long-term research areas include knee osteoarthritis and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction research, which is the focus of my PhD research,” says Barton.

Besides this intensive research program, Barton also participated in a student exchange program, spending half a year in Aberdeen, Scotland, where she – naturally – played a little soccer while getting a taste of academics overseas.

“Studying abroad was an incredible opportunity, both for soccer and for academics,” she says. “The courses were very different from the ones I have taken in (Canada), so it was a good way to see how other universities teach sports science.”

Given her academic success, her five years as the Dinos women’s soccer goaltender, and her penchant for volunteering on campus (and undertaking a mission with her church to build houses in Mexico,) Barton must have had a secret for finding enough hours in a week.

“It’s called an agenda,” laughs the academic All-Canadian. “When you’re busy, you have to manage your time really well. Being both a graduate student and a varsity soccer player forced me to learn time management. I love volunteering, playing soccer, and being involved within the UC campus, so I just told myself I would make it work.”