Category Archives: Alumni

Moehnke noted in The Katy News as scholarship recipient

Hailee Moehnke, a graduate student in the School of Kinesiology and a recent recipient of the Edith Mueller Endowed Fund for Graduate Education in the Tucker Center scholarship, was noted in her hometown newspaper, The Katy News, of Katy, Texas.

Moehnke, who is advised by Professor Maureen R. Weiss, is pursuing her Masters of Science in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Her research focus is in Positive Youth Development, and she is interested in learning how participation in sport and physical activity affects youth psychological and social maturity.

The fund, administered by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, is used to support graduate education, including for graduate assistantships, research support, travel to conferences, and equipment.

Leo McAvoy, professor emeritus in the School of Kinesiology, wins U of M Outstanding Achievement Award

Leo McAvoy, Ph.D., professor emeritus of recreation in the School of Kinesiology, has been awarded the University of Minnesota’s prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award.

Dr. McAvoy earned a Ph.D. in 1976 in Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies from the College of Education and Human Development and taught and conducted research for over 30 years in the School of Kinesiology. He has been honored numerous times nationally for his contributions to the parks and recreation field, and early in his career was elected to the Academy of Leisure Sciences, one of 55 such scholars in North America at the time. In 2004 he received the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research, his field’s highest award.

During his career, Dr. McAvoy focused his research on populations often overlooked in the field–access for individuals with disabilities and initiatives with American Indians related to their relationship to outdoor recreation and recreation resources. He pioneered efforts in the 1980s and ’90s to create opportunities for access to the outdoors for all people, and to achieve inclusion and inclusive programming.

Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., School director from 2005-2011, says, “Deeply committed to issues of diversity and social justice, Professor McAvoy was one of the first scholars in the country who placed at the center of their work the various and important ways individuals with disabilities interact with the outdoor environment. He is one of the most dedicated and passionate people I know, an individual who has had a profound impact in both his personal and professional capacity.”

The Outstanding Achievement Award may be conferred only on graduates or former students of the University who have attained unusual distinction in their chosen fields or professions or in public service, and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level. It is the highest honor bestowed by the University outside of the Honorary Doctorate degree.

A college ceremony honoring Dr. McAvoy is planned for late summer or early fall.

Prof. Yuhei Inoue featured in The Japan Times

image of Yuhei InoueYuhei Inoue, Ph.D., assistant professor of Sport Management in the School of Kinesiology, is quoted in an article written for The Japan Times, Japan’s largest English language newspaper. The article, “Japanese collegiate sports study ends Phase 1,” recaps a symposium Inoue participated as a presenter and panel member. The symposium’s theme was the reform of Japanese college sports systems and took place on March 29 in Tokyo.
In the article, Inoue discusses his thoughts on changing the financial structures of college’s sports programs, explaining that by doing so, it would make sports teams more attractive properties for their respective institutions to invest in.

Kinesiology alumna receives funding from National Institute on Aging

Azizah Jor’dan, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology alumna (Ph.D., 2012), McNair Scholar, and current Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard Medical School recently received funding for her NIA K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Career Development project, entitled “Vascular mechanisms and tDCS treatment of gait and posture in aging and age-related disease.”

The NIA K99/R00 is a career development award presented by the National Institute on Aging as an early career mechanism for postdoctoral fellows to facilitate career advancement.

While at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Jor’dan was advised by Michael Wade, Ph.D. She has published with Dr. Wade and Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D.

HSCL colleagues’ article listed as one of most influential papers of 2016 by Veterinary Clinics: Equine Practice

The journal Veterinary Clinics: Equine Practice has published a summary of the most influential papers in equine medicine for 2016. One of these is by Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL) colleagues in collaboration with a group of equine veterinarians from the University of Minnesota/Michigan State University. The paper is entitled “The Equine Movement Disorder “Shivers” Is Associated with Selective Cerebellar Purkinje Cell Axonal Degeneration.”

Valberg SJ, Lewis SS, Shivers JL, Barnes NE, Konczak J, Draper AC, Armién AG. Vet Pathol. 2015 Nov;52(6):1087-98. doi: 10.1177/0300985815571668

American Culture Center for Sport receives U.S. State Department grant

For the 5th consecutive year, the U.S. State Department will support the American Culture Center (ACC) for Sport in China administrated by the University of Minnesota. From September 2016 until August 2017, the funding will be $75,000 to Li Li Ji, Ph.D., professor and director of the School of Kinesiology, the PI of the grant.

The ACC focuses on the introduction and promotion of sport as an American heritage and value. The main activities include on-campus, year-round programs and featured lecture tours that visit various Chinese universities.

In January 2017, Ji, Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, and Gregory Welk, Ph.D., associate professor of health promotion and exercise at Iowa State University, will visit four universities. The goal is to introduce how mobile devices are being used to promote physical activity on U.S. campuses.


China Champions visit KIN 5511 course on Sport and Gender

The 2016-17 China Champions with the KIN 5511 course.

On Tuesday, December 6, the 2016-17 China Champions visited Jo Ann Buysse, PhD’s KIN 5511 course on Sport and Gender. The athletes presented an overview of their careers to students, and discussed roles of gender in sport in China. Students heard presentations from both the athletes and coaches perspectives.

China Champions visit the National Sports Center

China Champions logoThe National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine, MN, has written a blog post on the School of Kinesiology’s China Champions Program.  The post, “China Champions Visit the NSC,” details the visit and activities of the Champions at the internationally renowned amateur sports facility.

China Champions meet former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale

vice-president-mondale-visit-1The 2016-17 China Champions were introduced to former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale last evening at an event hosted by Peggy Lucas, member of the U of M Board of Regents and a supporter of the China Champions program. Mr. Mondale met each athlete individually and discussed his work in opening diplomatic doors to China and his many visits to the country.

Also attending the event were School of Kinesiology director Li Li Ji, Ph.D., and associate director Rayla Allison, J.D.

Mr. Mondale also served as a U.S. senator representing Minnesota and was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan by President Bill Clinton from 1993-1996.

Led by the U of M’s School of Kinesiology in collaboration with Beijing Sport University and supported by the Chinese government’s Scholarship Council, the China Champions program is a unique, global collaboration that provides mutual benefits for Chinese athletes and University faculty, staff and students.


Ruggiero named Head of IOC’s Athletes’ Commission

angela-ruggieroAngela Ruggiero, M.Ed., 2011 School of Kinesiology Sport Management alumna, has been named Head of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. In an announcement from the IOC, Ruggiero’s experience was noted saying, “[Ruggiero] is a former ice hockey player who has played more games for Team USA than any other man or woman.”

School of Kinesiology receives American Center for Cultural Exchange Network’s 2016 Excellence Award

ACCEX award 2016
l to r:  Dr. Li Li Ji;  Harvey Sernovitz, director of Office for Cultural Affairs; Dan Konold, executive coordinator at TUS; William Brashares, dean of international education at Arizona State University; Wang Yi, TUS.

The U.S. State Department has presented the School of Kinesiology and its partner, Tianjin University of Sport (TUS) in China, with the American Center for Cultural Exchange Network’s  2016 Excellence Award.

This is the first year of the award, created to recognize members of the American Cultural Center (ACC) for outstanding work in fulfilling the mission of the organization.

The ACC has twelve centers funded by the U.S. State Department, each focused on a particular area of American culture. The School of Kinesiology and  partner Tianjin University of Sport is the only ACC focused on sport. The partnership’s goal is to “foster and deepen the appreciation for American culture through sport among Chinese students and people in the Tianjin metropolitan area.” The partnership sponsored educational lectures and visits, on-site programs, and collaboration with other ACC network members. A number of School of Kinesiology faculty and staff as well as the U of M community were involved during 2012-2016 in presenting lectures, hosting visiting scholars and delegations, and providing consultation at Tianjin University and other member universities, funded through a grant from the State Department.

Li Li Ji, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology, accepted the award. He says,
“We are truly honored to receive this inaugural award from the U.S. State Department. It is the result of years of dedicated and creative work done by over a dozen School of Kinesiology faculty and supporting staff, many who traveled to China to deliver the programs. TUS has shown tremendous commitment to support the ACC. We thank the U of M China Center and GPS Alliance for guidance and support and will continue to make the ACC a bridge for Sino-US cultural exchange.”
The award includes a $2500 prize to be used for ACC future programming.

Allison comments on Baylor football scandal in Fort Worth Star-Telegram

AllisonR_2015Rayla Allison, J.D., sport management senior lecturer in the School of Kinesiology, was interviewed by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after the news that Baylor football coach Art Briles had ignored and covered up reports of sexual assaults and discrimination by members of his team for years. Briles was fired and Baylor University President Ken Starr has stepped down.

“Some high-profile cases — many rape cases — have come up lately across the nation where the universities didn’t react appropriately to prevent discrimination,” Allison said.  “It’s not just Baylor. It’s not just athletes. And it’s not just male athletes or students who are involved.”

Read the full interview here.


LIHP alumni, faculty publish in “Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology”

coverJustin Geijer, Ph.D., (Ph.D., 2015) an assistant professor at Winona State University, is the lead author of an article recently published in Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. The article, “Reproducibility of brachial vascular changes with alterations in end-tidal carbon dioxide,” examined the reproducibility of using carbon dioxide to alter diameter in the brachial artery. The results of this study suggest that carbon dioxide can alter the diameter of the brachial artery, but it is not reproducible enough to use this method to examine vascular health.

This article was part of Dr. Geijer’s dissertation. His advisor, Donald Dengel, Ph.D., professor and director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology (LIHP), is also a co-author on this article as are School alumni Nick Evanoff, Aaron Kelly, Michael Chermin, and Matthew Stoltman.

Thul presents MN-KPAH webinar

Chelsey Thul, Ph.D., Chelsey Thullecturer in the School of Kinesiology, presented an MN-KPAH (Minnesota Knowledge to Practice in Adolescent Health; PI: Dr. Lyn Bearinger, Nursing) sponsored webinar to an interdisciplinary maternal and child health audience on May 26th. Dr. Thul’s webinar, “Co-Developing Physical Activity Opportunities with East African Adolescent Girls: Listening, Living it, and Lessons Learned,” focused on three community-based, youth engaged research projects aimed at understanding, developing, and sustaining long-term culturally relevant physical activity programming and opportunities with East African adolescent girls. Dr. Thul highlighted the value in listening, living it, and lessons learned throughout her presentation.

MN-KPAH aims to advance the knowledge/skills of practicing MCH professionals by enhancing their capacity to respond to common and emerging health needs of young people, at individual and population levels. MN-KPAH uses continuing education modalities to improve the practice capabilities of the interprofessional MCH workforce setting ranging from primary care to public health.

Albers presenting at ACSM

Beth Lewis
Jessica Albers
Jessica Albers

Jessica Albers, Kinesiology Ph.D. (2015) and currently assistant professor of Exercise Science/Sports Medicine at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is first author with her former adviser, School of Kinesiology associate professor Beth Lewis, Ph.D., on their presentation “Time and Intensity of Physical Activity During an AfterSchool Jump Rope Program” given at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Boston on June 3.

Barr-Anderson to present at ACSM Annual Meeting

Assistant professor Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., will participate in a symposium session at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Boston, MA. Barr-Anderson will present with other experts in a session titled, “Stressed Out? . . . Get Moving.” She will discuss addressing chronic stress through physical activity interventions and their implementation.

Kinesiology alum Yawen Yu awarded fellowship by Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia

Yawen YuYawen Yu, Kinesiology Ph.D. (2011), recently was awarded a 2-year fellowship by Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia to study “Vestibular function and contribution in children with cerebral palsy.” Dr. Yu’s advisor was Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor and director of the School of Kinesiology’s Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory.

Pope’s research featured as main story within The Graduate School’s Synthesist

Zachary Pope, Ph.D. student in the School of PopeZ-2014Kinesiology and graduate assistant within the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, recently had his ongoing grant-funded research highlighted by the University of Minnesota Graduate School with his research featured as the main story within The Graduate School’s Synthesist on May 3rd. The article talks not only of Pope’s ongoing research, but also addresses what research means to him and what drives him to make an impact through the work he is doing.

The article and a fuller description of Pope’s research can be found here:

Thul awarded 2016 Community and Outreach Engagement Staff Award

Chelsey Thul, Ph.D., lecturer in the School of Kinesiology, received Chelsey ThulCEHD’s 2016 Community and Outreach Engagement Staff Award in a ceremony April 19.

Thul won for her work in creating a unique partnership with the local Somali community that resulted in Girls’ Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (GIRLS), a program designed to provide opportunities for East African adolescent girls in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis to engage in sports and physical activity.  Through this program, she and her partners designed culturally relevant uniforms for girls that allowed freedom of movement while remaining covered, the first-ever sports uniform for Muslim girls. In addition, Thul and her partners worked with Somali leaders to ensure the girls had equal time and access to community spaces for sports.

Thul’s nomination letter stated, “the community engagement and participatory research design Dr. Thul employed is second to none….Clearly, Dr. Thul is an individual always striving to do the right thing for the right reason, which stems from a genuine and authentic personal moral code.”

School of Kinesiology professors meet with Guatemalan Olympic Committee



Last week, School Kinesiology Drs. Christopher Lundstrom, George Biltz, and  Donald
 traveled to Guatemala City, Guatemala to meet with members of the Guatemalan Sports Confederation and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee to evaluate the two programs.

In addition to evaluating the two sports programs, Drs. Lundstrom, Biltz and Dengel presented to the staff and members of both the Guatemalan Sports Confederation and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee. Dr. Lundstrom presented on “Exercise Testing and Assessment” and “Development of Training Programs Theory” on April 13th. On April 14th, Dr. Dengel gave two presentations: “Sports Nutrition: Fueling Athletes to  the Olympics” and “Body Composition Assessment for Sport.” Dr. Biltz gave two presentations on April 15th. The first being “Physiological Variability Analysis – Potential Applications” and the second being “Pediatric Sports Injuries – A Functional Approach.”

The representatives from the School of Kinesiology also engaged in discussions regarding future collaborations with the Guatemalan Sports Confederation and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, as well as study abroad opportunities for School of Kinesiology students.