Mrs. Karen Rispin

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

  Email: KarenRispin@letu.edu
  Phone: (903)233-3952
  Personal Website

Courses taught:

  • General Biology,
  • Integrated Vertebrate A&P,
  • Life Science,
  • Ecology, and
  • Field Biology
  • Undergraduate Research

Education:

  • M.S., Biology, University of Texas at Tyler, 2003
  • B.S., Biology, Pennsylvania State University, 1978

Background

I am a missionary kid. I grew up in Kenya and attended Rift Valley Academy. Returning to North America after high school, I went to Wheaton College for two years and then transferred to Penn State University and graduated with a B.S. in biology. After a struggle to adjust to being a North American housewife and mom, I began to learn that God had good things for me to do right where I was. I got to lead bible studies, train horses, paint and write books. I still train horses at Turnbow Stables.

When we moved to Texas in 2000, I went back to school and earned a M.S. in biology from University of Texas at Tyler. I love zoology. I had a great time radio-tracking hatchling three-toed box turtles in my graduate research. I'm very pleased to be teaching biology at LeTourneau. I pray I can pass on some of the joy I find in studying God's creation. As a teen in Kenya, I volunteered at Kijabe hospital. Now the research I do with Wheels on the functionality of pediatric wheelchairs in the developing world takes my students and I back there.

My husband, Phil, is an assistant chief flight instructor at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. We have two grown children, Jen and Jess.

Research Interests:

As director of LeTourneau’s Wheels project I supervise applied research on functional outcomes measures to objectively measure the effectiveness of pediatric wheelchair used by disabled children in low-income countries. Currently, both in Kenya and here in Texas, we’re comparing at the functionality of Joni and Friends Regency Pediatric Wheelchair to a locally available type of pediatric wheelchair in Kenya. To do this we partner with Bethany Kids Relief and Rehabilitation International at Joy Town Special Primary School in Thika, Kenya. Students working with me on this project do research both locally and in Kenya.

Publications:

VanLeer J, Rispin K; Harris D, Dueck M, and Green M. 2012 "Using a Lego© NXT Robotic Vehicle as a Constant Speed Device in Replacement of a Wheelchair Treadmill for use in Determining Physical Cost Index of Pushing a Wheelchair," International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Abstract Submissions: Vol. 2: Iss. 4, Article 49. Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss4/49

Goodwin S, Inwards R, Rispin K. 2012. A Comparative Study of the Energy Cost and Maneuverability for Pushers of Two Pediatric Wheelchairs Designed for Use in Low Income Countries,International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Abstract Submissions: Vol. 2: Iss. 4, Article 14. Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss4/14

Huff K, Parra V, Rispin K. 2012. A Comparative Study of Two Pediatric Wheelchairs Based on Therapists' Feedback," International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Abstract Submissions: Vol. 2: Iss. 4, Article 50. Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss4/50

Ott, A, Rispin K. 2012. Comparing Energy Cost and Maneuverability for Pushers of Two Pediatric Wheelchairs Designed for Low-income Countries, International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Abstract Submissions: Vol. 2: Iss. 4, Article 57. Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss4/57

Brady J, Leman N, Rispin K. 2012. Gait evaluation of young adults wearing a Bledsoe-Extender-Plus© knee brace at two different degrees of flexion, International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Abstract Submissions: Vol. 2: Iss. 4, Article 15. Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss4/15

Rispin K. 2012. Clinically related global service undergraduate research involving assistive devices in less resourced settings facilitates competency based learning. Annual Meeting of the Texas Association of Advisors for the Health Professions. San Antonio, TX. February 2012.

Ott A, Rispin K. Comparing energy cost and maneuverability for pushers of two pediatric wheelchairs, LeTourneau University Student Scholarship Conference, Longview, TX, November 2011

Nemati S, Rispin K. Comparing the energy cost and maneuverability of self-propelling children using two pediatric wheelchairs in Kenya, LeTourneau University Student Scholarship Conference, Longview, TX, November 2011.

Brady J, Rispin K. Comparing two pediatric wheelchairs based on user feedback on functionality in daily life activities. LeTourneau University Student Scholarship Conference, Longview, TX, November 2011.

Huff K, Parra V, Rispin K. Comparing two pediatric wheelchairs based on feedback from therapists on design and maintenance characteristics. LeTourneau University Student Scholarship Conference, Longview, TX, November 2011.

Schlung J, Rispin K. Preliminary Validation of the Gait Function Questionnaire, LeTourneau University Student Scholarship Conference, Longview, TX, November 2011.

Bass B, Rispin K. Rats on Steroids: Physical effects of weekly boldenone undecylenate injections on Rattus norvegicus males. LeTourneau University Student Scholarship Conference, Longview, TX, November 2011.

Rispin KR, Schlung J, Ayers S, Gonzalez R. Preliminary Validation of the Lower Limb Gait Function Questionnaire, RESNA Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, June 2011.

Rispin KR, Schlung J, Skinner C. A suite of comparative clinical outcomes measures for prosthetic and orthotic knee conditions. Conference Proceedings, Annual Meeting of the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists. Austin, Texas, August, 2010.

Rispin K, Husk C, Lew S, Schufeldt T, Ayers SR, Gonzalez, RV, 2010. Functional comparison of the LEGS M1 knee to commonly available developing world alternatives. Conference Proceedings, 13th World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, Leipzig, Germany, May 2010.

Rispin K, Husk C, Lew S, Schufeldt T, Gonzalez RV, 2011. Preliminary development of the LEGS Functional Parameters Questionnaire. Conference Proceedings, 13th World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, Leipzig, Germany, May 2010.

Ayers S, Gonzalez R, Rispin K. 2010. Development of a locally manufactured polycentric prosthetic knee for the developing world. Conference Proceedings, 19th National Conference of Orthotics and Prosthetics Association of India, February 2010, New Delhi.

Schufeldt T, Leatherwood K, Jacobs W, Rispin K, 2009. Use of the Physiological Cost Index and Timed Walk Test to Conduct Leg Brace Configuration Studies and Prepare for Prosthesis Data Collection for the LEGS M1 Knee Design, Conference Proceedings, Annual Meeting of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, Tyler, TX, February 2009.

Leatherwood K, Jacobs W, Rispin K, Gonzalez R, 2009. Outcomes measures for the Validation of the LEGS M1 Knee. Conference Proceedings, Annual Meeting of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, Tyler, TX, February 2009.

Bissette JB, Leatherwood KM, Rispin KR, Gonzalez R, 2009. Collection of Amputee Gait Data for Validation of LEGS M1 Knee Design. Conference Proceedings, 26th Annual Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Research Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology, Houston, TX. March 2009.

Leatherwood KM, Rispin KL, Gonzalez RV, 2009. Collection of Comparative Data for Amputee Energy Cost and Subjective Input on Functional Parameters for Validation of LEGS M1 Knee Design. 26th Conference Proceedings, Annual Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Research Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology, Houston, TX. March 2009.

Bergren NA, Terrall KR, Rispin KL, Gonzalez RV, 2009. Using Orthopedic Suturing Techniques in Muscle Attachment in Load Application Apparatus for Cadaveric Knee. Conference Proceedings, 26th Annual Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Research Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology, Houston, TX. March 2009.

Sumrall KL, Rispin KL, Gonzalez RV, 2007. Preserved cadaver dissections for validation of computational models of the tibio-femoral Joint. 25th Annual Conference on Biomedical Engineering Research, Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology, Conference Proceedings, Houston, TX, Feb 7-8, 2008.

Terrall KR, Harper ML, Rispin KL, Ayers S, Gonzalez RV, 2007. Procuring relevant soft tissue data for use in computational modeling. 25th Annual Conference Gonzalez RV, and Rispin KL. 2007. International engineering education; a case study of working in low income nations. Conference Proceedings, Accrediting Board for Engineering and Engineering Technology, Incline Village, Nevada, November 2007.

Moran M., Rispin KL, Ayers SR and Gonzalez RV. 2007. An R&D strategy to offer a high-quality and low-cost above knee Prosthesis in the developing world, Conference Proceedings, 12th World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 2007.

Gonzalez RV, Ayers S, and Rispin K. 2006. Development of a low-cost, easily manufactured knee technology with improved functionality outcomes for trans-femoral amputees in developing nations. Conference Proceedings, CIR-RERC State of the Science Conference for Improved Technology Access for Landmine Survivors, Chicago, IL, Aug, 2006.

Rispin K, 2003. The Hands of the King are the Hands of a Healer; The Shepherds of Creation through the Eyes of Lewis and Tolkien. Conference Proceedings, Mere Christians Then and Now, C.S. Lewis and the Inklings Conference April 2003 Longview, TX.

Awards, Grants, and Certifications:

  • 2007: With Roger Gonzalez, received a grant to NSF Organization for Global Scientists and Engineering for funding for International Research Experience for Students with LeTourneau Engineering Global Solutions (LEGS).

Teaching Experience:

  • LeTourneau University: Adjunct Faculty, English Department, fall semester 2000
  • University of Texas at Tyler: 2000 and 2001
  • LeTourneau University: Faculty in the Biology Department, fall 2002 to present.

Professional Activities:

Service (Community Involvement):

  • Partnering with Bethany Kids to improve the lives of disabled children in Kenya
  • Turnbow Stables, horse trainer

Personal Statement:

  • My goal is to open doors for my students to appreciate the loving elegance of design which God built into all life, and to enable them to glimpse the joy of our creator in the beautifully designed details.
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