Category Archives: Labs & Centers

Pope hired as adjunct instructor in Exercise Physiology at Bethel University

Zachary Pope, Ph.D. candidate in the School of Kinesiology and advised by Kinesiology associate professor Zan Gao, Ph.D., was recently hired as an adjunct instructor at Bethel University teaching exercise physiology and assessment. Bethel University is a private Christian liberal arts institution with an enrollment of approximately 6,000 students.

While Pope’s current research interests center around the use of technology to promote physical activity and nutritious eating behaviors, with improved physiological and psychosocial health outcome the ultimate goal, Pope previously spent six years exclusively studying and/or teaching exercise physiology. Further, since 2012, Pope has been an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist and coordinated the Human Performance Laboratory at Boise State University while earning his master’s degree.

Christian Science Monitor quotes LaVoi on women coaches

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Kinesiology senior lecturer and co-director of the Tucker Center, is quoted in a Christian Science Monitor piece, “Why there’s been a big drop in women coaches under Title IX” on the phenomena and its logical outcome.

 

Tucker Center benefactor, Dr. Dorothy McNeill Tucker, passes away

portrait image of Dorothy McNeill TuckerWe have recently learned of the passing of Dr. Dorothy McNeill Tucker, our founder and benefactor. The Tucker Center was established in 1993 due to her incredible and ongoing support and generosity. Dr. Tucker graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1945, majoring in Recreation Leadership. She went on to earn a doctorate in Counseling Pyschology at UCLA. As a pioneer in many aspects of her life, Dr. Tucker became the first woman to be tenured as a faculty member at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

“I am sure I have received more from the gift than has the University. The joy of giving is increased tremendously when you can see how your gift is being used during your lifetime.”
— Dr. Dorothy McNeill Tucker (December, 1996)

Because of her vision and commitment, the Tucker Center has conducted groundbreaking research and mentored the “best and the brightest” students from around the world who have come to the U of M to do their own research at the Tucker Center.

We have shared our research and educational initiatives with scholars, educators, policymakers, parents, administrators and female athletes. Dr. Tucker’s vision became a reality and, as a result, she truly made a difference in the lives of countless young girls and women, their families and communities.

Dr. Tucker’s contributions and commitments to the University of Minnesota extended beyond her support of the Tucker Center. She served with distinction for 12 years on the U of M Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and in 2006, she was named one of the 100 Most Distinguished Alumni of the College of Education and Human Development.

“Dr. Tucker’s commitment to and passion for the Tucker Center were unparalleled. We are able to achieve our goals and fulfill our mission because of her generous financial support and pioneering spirit. On behalf of every member of the Tucker Team, all of our Affiliated Scholars at the U of M and around the globe, as well as our current and former students, we are forever in her debt. Rest in peace, Dr. Tucker.”
— Professor Mary Jo Kane, Director

“I and so many others will be forever grateful to the vision and commitment of Dr. Tucker and for her founding gift to make the Tucker Center a reality. Her gift is an example of how one individual can truly have a remarkable impact, and the Tucker Team is privileged to carry on her legacy in making a difference in the lives of girls and women in sport.”
— Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, Co-Director

“The School of Kinesiology is incredibly grateful for Dr. Tucker’s support of the Tucker Center.  Her tremendous gifts to the Tucker Center have been instrumental for conducting important research and community outreach on girls and women in sport.  I look forward to seeing the Tucker Center continue its great work for decades to come thanks to Dr. Tucker’s support.”
— Professor Beth Lewis, Director of the School of Kinesiology

— See also an obituary in the Star Tribune.

National evaluation study of Girls on the Run by Kinesiology professor Maureen Weiss reveals the program transforms young girls’ lives

An independent evaluation study by Maureen Weiss, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, shows that Girls on the Run, a national physical activity-based positive youth development program for elementary-age girls, has a profound and lasting positive impact on girls’ confidence, competence, connection to others, character, caring, and life skills.

Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization that uses running as a vehicle for teaching life skills to girls in third through fifth grades. The intentional life skills curriculum and mandatory annual coach training set Girls on the Run apart from other activity programs. The three-part curriculum teaches understanding of self, valuing relationships and teamwork, and exploring one’s connection to the world.

Weiss’s study revealed that:

  • Girls on the Run participants were significantly more likely than girls in organized sport and physical education to learn and use life skills including managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others or making intentional decisions.
  • 97% of girls said they learned critical life skills at Girls on the Run that they are using at home, at school and with their friends
  • Girls who began the program with below-average scores dramatically improved from pre- to post-season on all outcomes—competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring. This shows that girls who might need a positive youth development program benefited most from their participation.
  • Girls who were the least active before Girls on the Run increased their physical activity level by 40% from pre- to post-season and maintained this increased level beyond the program’s end.

The video and the website illuminate the study findings through an interactive format. The study has also been publicized on Globe Newswire.

“Girls on the Run participants scored higher in managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others, and making intentional decisions than participants in organized sport or physical education,” said Weiss.  “Being able to generalize skills learned in the program to other situations such as at school or at home is a distinguishing feature of Girls on the Run compared to traditional youth sports and school PE, and suggests that the intentional life skills curriculum and coach-training program can serve as exemplars for other youth programs.”

 

The Sportsman article quotes LaVoi on starting athletes at a young age

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Kinesiology senior lecturer and co-director of the Tucker Center, is quoted in an article in The Sportsman, “How Other Sports Have Elevated Roger Federer And Rafael Nadal To The Top Of Their Game.” LaVoi speaks briefly on the efficacy of starting players at a young age.

LaVoi quoted on women coaches in collegiate sports in Online Athens

Nicole LaVoi, Ph.D., Kinesiology senior lecturer and co-director of the Tucker Center, was quoted in an article in Online Athens discussing the South Carolina women’s basketball team, coached by Dawn Staley, which won this year’s national championship. “Female coaches are underrepresented in the power five,” she commented.  “That number has been very stagnant over the last 12 years.”

LaVoi went on to describe the challenges women coaches face in a field dominated by men in the Southeastern Conference and elsewhere.  Read the full article here.

 

 

Kinesiology doctoral student Arash Mahnan appointed to U’s Senate Information Technologies Committee

Arash Mahnan, Kinesiology Ph.D. student in Movement Science, has been appointed to the University’s Senate Information Technologies Committee (SITC). The committee represents the institution’s faculty, academic professional, civil service and student interests in the development, implementation, and distribution of information technologies at the U. The committee reports to the Senate and makes recommendations concerning policies and administration around information technologies.

The committee meets monthly and consists of eight faculty, four P&A, three students, and one civil service representative. The students include Mahnan, a representative from the Department of Engineering and one from the College of Continuing Education. The student representatives were chosen based on their background, experience and qualifications in the field of information technology. Mahnan will serve a two-year term on the committee.

LaVoi quoted in article on female coaches for The Atlantic

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Kinesiology lecturer and co-director of the Tucker Center, was quoted in an online article in The Atlantic, “The Field Where Men Still Call the Shots,” on the reasoning behind the lack of female coaches in youth sports making lasting impressions on boys and girls.

The article discusses the decline of female coaches in both collegiate and youth sports, and how their absence affects youth that are involved. LaVoi is specifically quoted about research that has found that girls who are coached by men were less likely to pursue coaching careers than those led by women, saying, “When you only see men in positions of power, you conclude ‘sports are not for me.'” LaVoi organized and was a speaker at the 2017 Women Coaches Symposium.

 

 

Wiese-Bjornstal shares research in video interview with Halmstad University, Sweden

Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., professor and director of the Sports Medicine Psychology Lab (SMPL) in the School of Kinesiology, attended and presented at the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) 14th World Congress Sevilla 2017, held July 10-14 in Seville, Spain. While attending the conference, Dr. Wiese-Bjornstal was interviewed by Sweden’s Halmstad University for a series of research chats.

In the interview, Wiese-Bjornstal discusses her SMPL research on religiosity and spirituality in coping with sport injuries.

Barr-Anderson is lead author on article in Journal of Adolescent Health

Dahiea Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory, is lead Daheia J Barr-Andersonauthor on an article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. “The Modifying Effects of Race/Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status on the Change in Physical Activity From Elementary to Middle School” examines whether the association between the change in individual, interpersonal, and environmental factors and the change in physical activity is modified by race/ethnicity or SES.

 

 

Nicholas Evanoff, doctoral student, presents at 2017 TBI Summit

Nicholas Evanoff
Kara Marlatt
Donald Dengel

Nicholas Evanoff, M.S., a kinesiology doctoral student in the School’s  Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology, presented at the Big Ten/Ivy League Traumatic Brain Injury Research Collaboration’s 2017 TBI Summit held in Rosemont, Illinois, on July 19.

The title of Mr. Evanoff’s presentation was “Effects of Multiple Sports-Related Concussions on Neurocognition and Cerebral Vascular Function.” Donald Dengel, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology, and Kara Marlatt, Ph.D., a 2015 graduate of the School of Kinesiology, were co-authors on the presentation.

 

Konczak presents at International Conference of Robotic Rehabilitation in London

 Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, gave an invited presentation at a workshop at the 15th International Conference of Robotic Rehabilitation (ICORR) at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, UK. The conference was a part of the London Rehab Week, where around a thousand attendees discussed the newest trends in neurorehabilitation. Konczak presented an overview on the current state of how robotic medical devices can be used to diagnose sensory and motor deficits of neurological diseases.

 

 

Tucker Center Title IX anniversary report cited in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

The recent study, Gender, Race & LGBT Inclusion of Head Coaches of Women’s Teams: A Report on Select NCAA Division I Conferences for the 45th Anniversary of Title IX, June 2017, co-produced by LGBT SportSafe, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, and the Tucker Center, was cited June 16 in the  publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. The article, Women of Color Remain Invisible in Leading College Athletics, discusses the ongoing issue of the lack of diversity, particularly for women of color, in coaching college sports.

“A recent study of the eight major American collegiate sports conferences revealed that 88 percent of head coaches of women’s college teams are White and 57 percent are male,” the article points out. “For the NCAA athletic directors, this number is even more dismal as there are more than 1,200 collegiate schools across the nation.”

 

 

Stoffregen interviewed on Take Care radio program in New York

School of Kinesiology professor Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., was interviewed on Take Care, a radio program on health and wellness that originates at station WRVO in Oswego, NY.  Co-hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen interviewed Stoffregen about his research related to motion sickness.

The interview was broadcast on Saturday, July 15, and again on Sunday, July 16. The full interview is  on the Take Care website and on iTunes, and the preview clip is here.

Barr-Anderson quoted in Highlights Magazine online

Dr. Barr-Anderson
Dr. Barr-Anderson

Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of the Behavioral Physical Activity Lab, was quoted in two online magazine articles for Highlights Magazine online. Barr-Anderson’s research interests focus on physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and obesity prevention in children and adolescents, and she used her expertise to answer questions and advise parents on how to aid their children in living an active lifestyle and combat the couch-potato culture.

Barr-Anderson is cited in two articles, titled “Struggle-Free Tips to Get Your Couch-Potato Kid Moving,” and “Why’s My Kid a Couch Potato: Is he Lazy…or Something Else?“. These pieces are part of the journal’s series “Smart Answers to Parents’ Toughest Questions”, which offers insight on what keeps children from being active, and tips on how to be active together.

“You can’t underestimate the importance of going outside together to throw around a ball or start a garden,” says Barr-Anderson. “You get movement and activity, and time spent together.”

 

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.

Dengel is lead author of article published in American Journal of Lifestyle

Donald Dengel, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology, is the lead author of an article published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The article, entitled “Impact of health status and lifestyle modifications on vascular structure and function in children and adolescents,” examined the effects of various lifestyle interventions (i.e., exercise, weight loss, etc.) on vascular structure and function in children and adolescents.

Konczak gives invited presentation at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

As part of a two-day visit to Budapest, Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, presented his work on robotic rehabilitation to members of the Wigner Research Centre for Physics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and toured a new rehabilitation clinic.

His Hungarian hosts comprised researchers with backgrounds in mathematics, physics, and cognitive neuroscience with an interest in modeling human movement and translating this knowledge to help patients with spinal cord injuries to regain function. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia) is the most important and prestigious academic society of Hungary. Its main responsibilities are the cultivation of science, dissemination of scientific findings, supporting research and development and representing Hungarian science domestically and around the world.

Three Kinesiology faculty give lectures on exercise and healthy aging in Chinese cities in June

School of Kinesiology professors Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., Li Li Ji, Ph.D., and Michael Wade, Ph.D.,  gave invited lectures at one international conference and three Chinese universities  from June 9 through June 15. Their talks centered broadly around a theme of exercise and healthy aging, and how age-related changes in older adults affect balance and posture.

Dr. Wade and Dr. Konczak first gave two keynote addresses at the China Preschool Children Health Conference held in Suzhou, a fast-growing modern city outside Shanghai. They then visited Shanxi University in Taiyuan, the capital city in Shanxi province in northwestern China with 4.2 million people. Next they traveled by high-speed rail to Tianjin, where they presented at Tianjin Sport University, a long-time partner of the School of Kinesiology. Their final lecture was at Hebei University in Shijiazhuan, where the first modern higher education institution in China was founded in 1895.

 

 

 

 

Wiese-Bjornstal presenting at ISSP 14th World Congress in Seville, Spain

Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., professor and director of the Sports Medicine Psychology Lab (SMPL) in the School of Kinesiology, will present a paper July 13 at the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) 14th World Congress Sevilla 2017, held July 10-14 in Seville, Spain.

The paper represents Wiese-Bjornstal’s collaborative work with student authors from the U of M, including SMPL graduate students (Kristin Wood, Andrew White) and SMPL former undergraduate student (Amanda Wambach), as well as 2016 U of M visiting Fulbright scholar Professor Victor Rubio from the University of Autonoma, Madrid.

The paper being presented is:  Wiese-Bjornstal, D. M., Wood, K. N., White, A. C., Wambach, A. J., & Rubio, V. J. (accepted for 2017, July). Exploring religiosity and spirituality in coping with sport injuries. In V. J. Rubio (Chair), Coping, resilience and personal growth following a sport injury.