Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

A student would never expect to see the same professor listed as instructor for classes in departments as different as mechanical engineering and English. But this semester, part-time visiting instructor Carla Murgia has taught Biomechanics of Human Movement, a technical elective in the mechanical engineering department, and Stage Movement, an English elective that is part of the theater concentration

While the biomechanics class focuses on how the body's tissues function as a leverage system and Stage Movement explores different styles of dance and physical expression, both classes are linked by a common element: body movement.

“Biomechanics combines the biology of movement with mechanics,” explains Murgia, assistant professor of physical education, recreation and health at Kean University. “Stage movement combines athletic and stylistic movement with theater.”

Noting that she was Temple University's first dance major, Murgia says she was always interested in theater and the many styles of dance, but also found herself fascinated by the mechanisms involved in dance and athletic injuries. She earned a master's in theater from Villanova University, worked as a choreographer in Canada for several years, taught theater at Alfred University, and eventually earned her Ph.D. in biomechanics from Temple University.

“I was so happy to be given the opportunity to offer these unique areas of study to Lafayette students,” says Murgia. “It's been my experience that students are always hungry to learn how to move, and I'm hoping that I can provide them with that.”

Although she has little interest in biology, mechanical engineering major Justine Kosmoski '02 (Clark, N.J.) enrolled in the biomechanics course because her favorite topic within her major is statics, which explores forces and movements.

“Biomechanics is a subject that allows me to apply what I've already learned about mechanical movement to movement in the body,” says Kosmoski. “Not only are we learning about the structure and function of tendons, muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones, we are comparing them to their complimentary parts in a leverage system. Muscles are forces and joints are levers and so on.”

Biomechanics is gaining popularity in the engineering arena, and Kosmoski believes that Murgia's class is just a starting point for Lafayette to continue developing interest and study in the field.

“It's a topic that allows mechanical engineers to expand their scope of study, but at the same time still rely on the concepts they've learned in the past,” Kosmoski says.

Similarly, Courtney DeThomas '02 (Bronx, N.Y.), a psychology major, enrolled in Stage Movement as a chance to explore her interests outside her main area of study.

“I've been dancing since I was three [and am glad that] Lafayette would offer a class that lets me display what I already know and also build on it,” says DeThomas. “We're learning different styles, including dancing, jazz, tap, modern, and ballet, and about timing, and the way your different positioning portrays certain ideas.”

“Both classes are going great,” says Murgia. “The students seem to be just as enthusiastic about movement as I am.”

The students in Biomechanics of Human Movement are Melissa Fiorelli '02 (Yardley, Pa.), Christian Henry '02 (Bellvale, N.Y.), Brian Holt '02 (Topanga, Calif.), and Kosmoski '02.

Students taking Stage Movement are DeThomas '02 (Bronx, N.Y.), Carolyn Berger '02 (Orwigsburg, Pa.), Sandy Veresink '02 (Easton, Pa.), Mary Ellen Cravens '05 (New York, N.Y.), Darnell Azeez '02 (Bronx, N.Y.), Che Davis '02 (New York, N.Y.), Dwight Smith '02 (New York, N.Y.), H'cone Thompson (Washington, DC), Winston Davis '03 (Tampa, Fla.), and Reggie Guy '02 (Harrisburg, Pa.).

Categorized in: Academic News