Alumnus Making Waves in Biomechanics Research
By Claire Cochran
Cal State San Marcos alumnus Tyler Wiles has continued to ride the waves of success in the field of biomechanics and research.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, Wiles decided to further his education and pursue a master’s in the same subject, also at CSUSM. His master's thesis explored the impact of a novel wetsuit material on paddling from a biomechanical perspective.
Wiles' dedication and exceptional research capabilities during his graduate studies earned him several accolades, including the Outstanding Graduate Student Award, and funding for most of his master's degree.
Embarking on a new chapter in his academic journey, Wiles is now a student at the University of Nebraska Omaha, working under the guidance of esteemed professors Aaron Likens and Nick Stergiou.
Throughout his Ph.D. program, Wiles has continued to distinguish himself, earning noteworthy recognition such as a NASA fellowship, multiple travel-related grants and an outstanding poster award for one of his projects. As a doctoral student, Wiles wears many hats, engaging in a diverse range of activities. These include taking courses, conducting research, teaching, participating in volunteer outreach, creating and presenting workshops, and offering assistance to fellow students and professors within his department.
Wiles’ primary area of focus and passion lies in the study of human movement variability. He’s leading four research projects, including a significant undertaking sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This ambitious project aims to determine whether the way people walk is distinct, consistent and identifiable, like a fingerprint. Additionally, the research initiative involves establishing best practices for nonlinear analyses, contributing to advancements in the field.
Furthermore, Wiles' doctoral dissertation investigates how variability in walking patterns may influence the perception of distance. Wiles also leads a NASA-sponsored fellowship focused on developing new materials to protect against heat stress, and he’s exploring the influence of walking and running patterns on the transition between the two modes.
When asked about the inspiration behind his career path, Wiles credits his former advisers, kinesiology professors Jeff Nessler and Sean Newcomer, for their influential guidance at CSUSM.
“He always was intrinsically motivated, asked the right questions and wanted to be involved in all our research projects regardless of the time commitment,” Newcomer said of Wiles. “He truly was an outstanding student and scholar.”
Wiles’ love for science and research, combined with the unique application of these disciplines to surfing, propelled him toward his chosen path. Despite being geographically distant from the ocean in Nebraska, he remains determined to return to surfing research in the future. Nonlinear analyses and human movement variability also have become significant driving forces in his ongoing work.
Beyond his academic pursuits, Wiles finds enjoyment in skateboarding during breaks from his work. Residing in Omaha provides him with an environment conducive to focused research, with minimal distractions that allow him to devote long hours to his studies.
With his exceptional accomplishments and dedication to advancing the field of biomechanics, Wiles continues to make impressive strides in the realm of human movement variability research.
Brian Hiro, Communications Specialist
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