Mraz presents on creating a network for new advisers at the U of M

Anna Mraz, academic adviser in CEHD Student Services, co-presented with CLA academic adviser Jacob Rudy, at the NACADA Region 6 Conference held this month. NACADA is the professional association for academic advisers in higher education.

Mraz and Rudy presented on the new adviser group they’ve implemented at the U of M to foster training, support, and networking for new advisers across the University. This group and its “Get To Know U” curriculum has helped advisers simultaneously build their knowledge base and professional network in a systematic and ongoing manner.

Kane, LaVoi publish on intercollegiate athletic director viewpoints on female coaches

Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., director of the Tucker Center and professor in the School of Kinesiology, and  Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Tucker Center co-director and School of Kinesiology senior lecturer, have published an article in the Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal. “An Examination of Intercollegiate Athletic Directors’ Attributions Regarding the Underrepresentation of Female Coaches in Women’s Sports” surveyed a nationwide sample of college athletic administrators to determine current-day perceptions regarding the underrepresentation of female head coaches with significant gender differences emerging.


Gao named to editorial board of Journal of Sport and Health Science

Zan Gao, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL), was recently appointed Editorial Board member by the Journal of Sport and Health Science (JSHS). JSHS is an international peer-reviewed journal founded by the Shanghai University of Sport, and co-published by Elsevier Publishing Group. JSHS is dedicated to the advancement of sport/exercise/health sciences including sport medicine, sport and exercise physiology, public health promotion, biomechanics, sport and exercise biochemistry and nutrition, sport and exercise psychology, motor behavior, coaching, physical education, traditional Chinese sports and wellbeing, and growth and maturation. JSHS has a current impact factor at 2.531.

LaVoi to serve three-year term on Faculty Senate

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport was chosen to serve as representative to the University Faculty Senate for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2018.  

The Faculty Senate at the University of Minnesota is comprised of faculty and faculty-like academic professional representatives from the all University of Minnesota campuses and concerns itself with faculty welfare, educational, and research matters.


Barr-Anderson featured on School of Public Health and ASPPH websites

Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology, is featured on the websites of the School of Public Health and the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.

Her research project, “Physical activity and sociodemographic correlates of adolescent exergamers,” was recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study was a collaboration between the School of Public Health’s program Project EAT and Barr-Anderson, and revealed that exergaming may have an influence on physical activity for girls. Barr-Anderson said the positive relationship between girls who are vigorously active and those who play exergames shows that gaming may play a role in increasing vigorous activity or help lead to such activity.


Seashore receives AERA Excellence in Research to Practice Award

Karen Seashore, Regents Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), has received a 2018 Excellence in Research to Practice Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Special Interest Group on Research Utilization.

Gao and colleagues publish study on effect of preschoolers’ physical activity in BioMed Research International

Dr. Zan Gao

Zan Gao, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology associate professor, has published an article with colleagues in BioMedResearch International. The study, “Effect of Mini-Trampoline Physical Activity on Executive Functions in Preschool Children,” investigated the effect of mini-trampoline physical activity on the development of executive functions in Chinese preschool children. A sample of 57 children aged 3–5 enrolled in preschool was randomly assigned to an intervention group and control group for 10 weeks. All children had the same classes and care service, but children in the intervention group had an extra 20 minutes of trampoline training after school.

Findings indicated that a 10-week trampoline physical activity training may not be sufficient to trigger the improvement of preschool children’s executive functions, and future research with larger representative samples is warranted to discern the dose-response evidence in enhancing young children’s executive functions through physical activity.

BioMed Research International is a peer-reviewed, Open Access journal with a current Impact Factor of 2.476.

DeJaeghere gives presentation on Reframing Life Skills for Girls

Joan DeJaeghere, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), gave an invited presentation on “Reframing Life Skills for Girls” at a workshop sponsored by the Innovations for Youth at UC Berkeley and Echidna Giving on May 3-4th. Her presentation was based on research conducted on life skills programs in East Africa and India.

Barr-Anderson publishes with colleagues in two journals

Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology, has published a manuscript with colleagues titled “Worksite physical activity breaks: perspectives on feasibility of implementation” in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation. The first author, Dr. Carolyn Bramante, completed this study as a part of her MPH/PhD program, and Barr-Anderson served as Dr. Bramante’s MPH thesis adviser.

In addition, Barr-Anderson, along with colleagues from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has published an article titled “Effect of a culturally-tailored mother-daughter physical activity intervention on pre-adolescent African-American girls’ physical activity levels” in Preventive Medicine Reports. The results determined that this pilot study was an important first step in designing culturally-tailored interventions to impact the physical activity of pre-adolescent African-American girls that includes the direct involvement of the girls’ mothers.



Oliver Williams receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Williams receives award
Alliance for HOPE International President Casey Gwinn presented Oliver Williams with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 18th Annual International Family Justice Center Conference in Forth Worth, Texas.

Oliver Williams, the founder of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC), received the 2018 Alliance for HOPE International Lifetime Achievement Award in Fort Worth, Texas on April 25, 2018.

“Oliver Williams has changed the world for thousands of victims and offenders in the course of his amazing career. He is without a doubt one of the most transformational leaders we have ever worked with,” said Alliance President Casey Gwinn.

Williams is a professor of School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He was the Executive Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC) from June 1994 to September 2016 and served as the project director of the African Immigrant and Domestic Violence Initiative from 2010 to 2016 and the Safe Return Initiative that addressed prisoner reentry and domestic violence from 2003-2016. Currently, he directs the African American Domestic Peace Project  that works with community leaders in 12 cities across the United States.

Williams has worked in the field of domestic violence for more than thirty-five years. He is a clinical practitioner, working in mental health, family therapy, substance abuse, child welfare, delinquency, domestic violence and sexual assault programs. He has worked in battered women’s shelters, developed curricula for batterers’ intervention programs, and facilitated counseling groups. He has provided training across the United States and abroad on research and service-delivery surrounding partner abuse.

Currently he is a consultant with the Education for Critical Thinking and an advisor with Domestic Violence He has been appointed to several national advisory committees and task forces from the Center for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Office on Women’s Health, and the U.S. Department of Education. He has been a board member of various domestic violence and human service organization including the early days of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1999-2000) and the Alliance for HOPE International Advisory Board from 2006 to 2016.

In 2000, he was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Domestic Violence by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and U.S. Attorney General. In 2010, he hosted a roundtable on youth and violence for the U.S. Attorney General. He also participated in a roundtable with the U.S. Attorney General on issues related to fatherhood and participated in a White House Roundtable on Fatherhood and Domestic Violence. He has conducted training for military Family Advocacy programs in the United States and abroad. He has presented to numerous Family Violence, Research and Practice organizations in the United States, Kenya, Canada, the Virgin Islands, the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2015, he was invited to speak at the United Nations about domestic violence among Africans in the United States and in Africa. His research and publications in scholarly journals, books, reports and DVDs have centered on creating service delivery strategies to reduce violent behavior and support victims of abuse. He has consulted with the NFL, MLB, and the NBA on issues related to domestic violence.

Williams has received many awards, among them include an award from the American Psychological Association, an International “Telly Award” for his documentary work; the National

“Shelia Wellstone Institute Award” related to his national work on Domestic Violence and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work.

Dr. Williams received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Michigan State University; a Masters in Social Work from Western Michigan University; a Master’s in Public Health and a PH.D in Social Work both from the University of Pittsburgh.
“Dr. Williams is a visionary, a change agent, and an advocate for the marginalized,” said Alliance CEO Gael Strack. “He continues to challenge us to keep growing, changing, and dreaming as we seek to improve Family Justice Centers, Rape Crisis Centers, Child Advocacy Centers, and other types of collaborative approaches to providing trauma-informed support for survivors and their children.”

Alliance for HOPE International is one of the leading systems and social change organizations in the country focused on creating innovative, collaborative, trauma-informed approaches to meeting the needs of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children. Alliance for HOPE International and its allied Centers serve more than 150,000 survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children each year in the United States. The Alliance supports multi-agency Centers in more than ten countries and trains more than 10,000 multi-disciplinary professionals every year.

Alliance for HOPE International operates the Family Justice Center Alliance, the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, Camp HOPE America, the Justice Legal Network, and the VOICES Survivor Network. The Alliance was launched by the founders of the San Diego Family Justice Center after the development of the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative in 2004. At the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, the team was asked to develop a program to support new and developing Family Justice Centers across the country. There are currently more than 130 operational Centers in the United States with international Centers in more than twenty countries. There are over 100 Centers currently developing in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Central America.

Doherty delivers call to follow our “better angels”

Professor at podium.
Bill Doherty, author, family therapist and professor in the Department of Family Social Science, delivered the CEHD Graduate Commencement address. Photo by Julie Michener.

Bill Doherty,  professor in the Department of Family Social Science, delivered the address at the College of Education and Human Development’s Graduate Commencement Ceremonies Thursday, May 10.

An educator, researcher, couple and family therapist, author, consultant, and community organizer, Doherty joined the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Social Science in 1986, and has been a leader in preparing professionals for effective democratic engagement and conducting community-based research projects that advance knowledge and solve local problems.

Developing his Families and Democracy Framework, Bill has been testing his theories over the past year in workshops with the non-profit, Better Angels, that build bridges between “red and blue” citizens in communities across America. Citizens on both sides of the divide enter Bill’s workshops polarized and defensive, and leave connected, transformed – healed.

In his remarks, he discussed this recent work and challenged graduates to join him in this work.


I’m sure you’ve noticed that the political world has changed since you entered graduate school.  We are now in the throes of a political polarization that some historians believe is the worst we’ve seen the 1850s. And it didn’t start in November 2016.  The last presidential election brought to a head a process that has been coming upon us for at least 50 years.  I’ll give just one data point as an illustration:  In 1960 5% of Americans said they would be uncomfortable with their son or daughter marrying someone of the other political party.  Now that figure has reached 35-40%.  Today Americans increasingly view their political opponents not only as misguided, but also as bad people whose ways of thinking are both dangerous and incomprehensible. This current degree of civic rancor between red America and blue America threatens our families, as people pull away from family members who vote another way, and our democracy itself, which is based on our ability to work together across differences for the common good.  The United States is disuniting.

How’s that for an upbeat start to a commencement address?

So why do I come today filled with the hope that we can get past this polarization and with the conviction that individuals with the training you’ve had in this College can make a difference?  For starters, education and human development are fundamentally about relationships.  As much as anything else, your graduate degree is in how to form and nurture productive relationships, without which our specialized academic knowledge is barren.  Relationships are the natural antidote to polarization because polarization (and I would add other social ills like racism) is sustained when we don’t know one other, when we don’t have civic friendships, when we stay in our silos, watch our favorite media, and talk about the other group and not with them.

Of course there is a long way from this generalization about relationships to actually moving the needle towards depolarization, especially when our news feeds constantly inflame us and our Facebook contacts spout what we see as dangerous nonsense.  How do we design settings or containers where people with different political views can come together in a productive way?

I’ve been involved in such a project, called Better Angels (after Lincoln’s phrase “the better angels of our nature”).  Better Angels is a grassroots citizen’s initiative bringing red and blue Americans together in a working alliance to depolarize America.  It took off after the last election when we decided to bring together 10 Clinton voters and 10 Trump voters for a weekend in southwest Ohio.  My job was to design and facilitate the gathering, and to say that I was nervous would be an understatement.  I quickly realized that the goals had to focus on understanding each other beyond stereotypes and looking for common ground, and that the process had to be highly structured and feature listening and learning rather than declaring and debating.  Well, the workshop was successful beyond our expectations and it launched a small movement.  Since that first workshop, Better Angels has gone national, with three hour and six hour workshops happening in 24 states, some of them leading to the formation of Better Angels Alliances, groups of Republicans and Democrats working together to promote depolarization in their communities and to advocate for policies where they have common ground—like gerrymandering and money in politics.  We have one of those red/blue alliances in Minnesota.

I’ll tell you just one story from the Ohio workshop.  Greg Smith came as pro-Trump, white Christian conservative determined to convince others to support Trump, and Kouhyar Mostashfi came as a Muslim Iranian immigrant Democrat with fears that the country could turn violent because of forces now unleashed.  Well, Greg and Kouhyar ended up sitting next to each other during the workshop.  By the end they had agreed to visit each other’s houses of worship.  They are now co-chairs of the Southwest Ohio Better Angels Alliance and will be featured in a forthcoming PBS documentary about that workshop.  They are still a conservative and a liberal but with a common cause to rebuild the civic fabric of their community.

On this occasion as we celebrate the attainment of a graduate degree in the College of Education and Human Development, I want to challenge the graduates to create containers or processes in your classrooms, counseling offices, and community centers for a kind of diversity that we’ve not emphasized very much until recently—namely, political diversity.  How can we create environments that allow conservatives and liberals, reds and blues, to engage each other productively, with both sides feeling respected?  Among other things, it will mean understanding that many of our favorite terms have become “colorized” in today’s environment.  Some of us frame goals in terms of diversity, inclusiveness, and social justice—all good things, but thoroughly blue in language and therefore alienating to reds who fear that the starting premise will be that they are racists—and then let’s work together from there.  The shoe would be on the other foot if blues were invited to a conversation based on the language of love of country, the American experiment, and self-responsibility.  I’ve learned that productive conversation in a polarized environment cannot start with my insistence that the other side accept my preferred terms for what we are here to do.

Now this depolarization work is not just in classrooms and workshops; it’s in our hearts and minds as well.  My question for all of us here today is this:  How do we personally regard our fellow Americans who differ from us strongly in politics and public policy? Maybe you’ve heard the adage:  Choose your enemies carefully, for you will become like them.  Stated differently, if you demonize another group, you distort yourself and begin to look like a mirror image of them.  When we train moderators for Better Angels workshops, we ask them to self-assess their own emotional attitude towards the people on the other side of the political spectrum.  I invite you to think about where you are on a spectrum of attitudes I’ll describe. Keep in mind that this not how you may feel about an individual political leader but about the bulk of people on the other side—the over 40 million people who voted the other way in the last election.

The first attitude is hatred toward a group who are out to destroy the country.  I hope that’s not where most of us are with regards our fellow citizens.  The second attitude is more common: disdain for people who are ignorant and misguided—and who should know better. The third attitude is pity for others who have good intentions but are ignorant and led astray by bad leaders—and who need to be enlightened. The fourth attitude is basic respect: others who disagree with me have rational views but ultimately theirs is not the right approach to solving our nation’s problems.  The fifth attitude is respect and appreciation: the other side has views that need to be included in the ultimate solutions.   I’m convinced that we only shift in the direction of respect by first seeking to understand others as they understand themselves, and then telling them what we think.

As a family therapist, I’m trained to understand people who are locked in conflict, but the challenge in the public arena is that I’m part of the conflict. I do have a dog in this fight and I’m scared for the future of our democracy.  But I believe in my heart that most Americans really don’t really want a civic divorce and, when offered the right container for conversation and relationship building, will choose to access the better angels of their nature.

There is lots of work ahead.  As I said, today’s polarization didn’t start with the current President. It came from many sources that gradually tore the social fabric, with groups feeling left out and left behind, with our growing distrust of one another and of our social institutions, including colleges and universities.

Our democracy itself is at stake here.  Elections of course are won or lost, but they are only a small part of democracies. Democracy is mostly about how we come together and make decisions about our common lives. It’s about collective agency, about acting as “We the People,” in all our differences.  It’s the only way we can have healthy communities and effective governance.  As people sometimes say in Better Angels workshops, “We can’t wait for our elected leaders to start bringing us together. We have to begin ourselves.”

Abraham Lincoln presided over a country that was far more divided than the one we live in today. Yet he saw the promise of America in that dark time.  We’d do well to heed these ending words of his first Inaugural address:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Barr-Anderson presents at Board of Regents’ May meeting

Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology, has been invited to give a presentation at the Board of Regents’ May meeting. She is one of four newly promoted University of Minnesota faculty members invited to the meeting to give a short presentation and answer questions about their work.

Each year at their May meeting, the Board of Regents invite several recently promoted faculty from across the University who represent excellence in a variety of ways to participate in a panel. Barr-Anderson will discuss her scholarship and creative activities related to her research and community involvement.

FSoS graduate and undergraduate students awarded scholarships and fellowships

The Family Social Science community wants to recognize the over 40 graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees in Family Social Science who have been awarded scholarships and fellowships for the 2018-2019 academic year and 2018 summer session.

We celebrate their academic achievements and look forward to what they will accomplish in the future!

Awards for the 2018-2019 academic year

Graduate student at podium.
MA/Ph.D. student Quin Morrow made her first presentation at the Society for Research on Adolescence national conference.

Family Social Science Fellowships and Scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year were awarded to 36 graduate students in the Department, including:

S. Okrey Anderson – Lucile Garley Blank Fellowship in Ambiguous Loss

Katie Arnold – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Kadie Ausherbauer – M. Janice Hogan Fellowship

Molly Bailey – Frances Dunning Fellowship

Emily Barstad – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Natasha Bell – Jean W. Bauer Family Economics and Policy Fellowship

Gretchen Buchanan– Ludden Trust

Student discussing research.
Master’s student Yiting Li discussed her work at CEHD Research Day.

Sarah Burcher – Ardell H. Wantoch Fellowship

Kayla Burningham – Letitia Walsh Memorial Fellowship

Jory Catalpa – Lucile Garley Blank Fellowship in Ambiguous Loss

Muzi Chen – Mary Ellen McFarland Assistantship

Daniel Cooper – M. Janice Hogan Fellowship

Catherine Dickinson – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Lekie Dwanyen – M. Janice Hogan Fellowship

Lisa Erbes – Family Education Teacher Preparation Fellowship

MA/Ph.D. student Jingchen Zhang discussed her research at a poster session during the SRA national conference.

Nusroon Fatiha – BAS – Knorr Endowed Fund for Fellowships in Family Education

Fathia Feerayarre – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Renada Goldberg – Shirley L. & Peter D. Zimmerman Fund for Family Policy

Eugene Hall – Marjorie Brown Family Social Science Fellowship

Hailey Holmgren – Letitia Walsh Memorial Fellowship

Seonghee Hong – Ragnhild E. Edwardson Fellowship

Alyssa Humpal – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Emily Jensen – David & Karen Olson Fellowship

Student at poster.
Ph.D. student SunKyung Lee at the CEHD Research Day.

Angela Keyzers – Marie Christenson Fellowship

Stacey Koehler – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Rebecca Koering – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Danielle Kreemer – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Sunkyung Lee – Ott International Student Fellowship and Roxanna Ford Fund

Yiting Li – Hauge Fellowship

Jennifer Luing – Foundation for Family Education Award

Joseph Maxwell – BAS – Knorr Endowed Fund for Fellowships in Family Education

Graduate student at a poster.
Ph.D. student Gretchen Buchanan discusses her work at a Society for Research on Adolescence poster session.

Kali Moore – Ford Foundation for Family Education Award

Quin Morrow – Florence Munson Wilson Fellowship

Alize Rattenni – HC & C Christofferson Fellowship

Kelly Tronstad – Jean Illsley Clark Fellowship for Parent Education

Jingchen Zhang – Roxanna Ford Fund and Ott International Student Fellowship

FSoS Summer 2018 UM UM Fellowship/Scholarship

For summer 2018, 21 graduate students will receive scholarships and fellowships from six funds.

Grad students at a conference.
Ph.D. students Natasha Bell, Sarah Burcher, Kadie Ausherbauer and Emily Jensen all presented papers or posters at the National Council on Family Relations.

Students who were awarded Waller Summer Fellowships are: S. Okrey Anderson, Pooja Brar, Gretchen Buchanan, Kayla Burningham, Muzi Chen, Amy Gunty, Hailey Holmgren, Aimee Hubbard, Emily Jensen, Vaida Kazlauskaite, Lijun Li, Demitri McGee, and Quin Morrow.

Four graduate students were awarded William & Georgina Olson Fellowships: Kadie Ausherbauer, Daniel Cooper, Angela Keyzers, and Jingchen Zhang.

In addition, Jacqueline Braughton received a scholarship from the Emma Whiteford Family Social Science Fund (MEd), Jory Catalpa was awarded a Robert E. Keane Fellowship in Ambiguous Loss, Lekie Dwanyen received a Priscilla Rugg Family Social Science Fellowship, and Sunkyung Lee was awarded an Amy Jean Holmblade Knorr Family Social Science Fellowship.


Undergraduate scholarships

College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and/or Family Social Science Funded scholarships were awarded to six undergraduate students.

Christine Stephanie and Chee Moua will receive the College of Education and Human Development’s Fibiger Award, Domonique Kent will receive a scholarship from CEHD’s Gamma Omicron Beta Endowment Fund, and Natalie Wimmer will receive a scholarship from the CEHD Alumni Society Family Social Science Future Scholar Fund. Eric Oropeza will receive a Beverly A. Busta Memorial Scholarship, Emily Keis will receive an Elizabeth D Cormack Endowed Scholarship, and Lydia Eichelberg will receive an award from the Mildred and Russell Gute Scholarship Fund.


Tianou Zhang accepts tenure-track position at UTSA

Tianou Zhang, doctoral candidate in School of Kinesiology, has accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA). Zhang will be an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition beginning this August. He will teach courses in Exercise and Nutrition, and continue his research on beneficial effects of phytochemicals supplementation in exercise and health. 

Zhang is advised by Li Li Ji, Ph.D., professor in the School and director of the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene & Exercise Science (LPHES).

CEHD Connect magazine highlights ICD research on trust and learning

Melissa Koenig
Melissa Koenig, Ph.D.
Sarah Suárez
Sarah Suárez

A recent article in CEHD Connect magazine discussed research conducted by the Institute of Child Development (ICD) that focuses on how children develop skills to form trust and learn from others.

The article highlights work by Melissa Koenig, Ph.D., a professor in ICD, and Sarah Suárez, a doctoral student in ICD’s child psychology program. Koenig and Suárez conduct their research as part of the Early Language and Experience Lab, which Koenig directs. In the lab, they aim to understand how children acquire knowledge from others and how they balance the benefits of learning with the risk of misinformation.

“We’re trying to correct a longstanding, flawed, picture of child learners. Children aren’t just accepting whatever they’re told,” Koenig says. “Once you put aside the model of children being passive and credulous learners, it allows you to ask all kinds of questions about how we can support their evaluation of other people and the information they provide.”

To learn more about Koenig and Suárez’s research, read the full story, “Trusting to Learn.”

Zeng, Gao and Lee publish in Journal of Clinical Medicine

School of Kinesiology Ph.D. student Nan Zengassociate professor Zan Gao, Ph.D., and assistant professor Jung Eun Lee, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota Duluth, recently published an article titled “Reliability of Using Motion Sensors to Measure Children’s Physical Activity Levels in Exergaming” in Journal of Clinical Medicine. Mr. Zeng is a current advisee and Dr. Lee is a former advisee of Prof. Gao.

The study examined the reliability of two objective measurement tools in assessing children’s physical activity levels in an exergaming setting. The findings suggested that the NL-1000 pedometers and ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers have low reliability in assessing elementary school children’s physical activity levels during exergaming. More research is warranted in determining the reliable and accurate measurement information regarding the use of modern devices in exergaming setting.

Nan Zeng
Dr. Zan Gao


Gao establishes Brain Gym Lab at LoveWorks Academy in Golden Valley

Dr. Zan Gao

Thanks to support from the administrators of the University of Minnesota and the principal and teachers at LoveWorks Academy in Golden Valley, Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL), recently established a Brain Gym Lab in the fitness room of LoveWorks Academy. Specifically, four Wii U exercise stations and four Xbox One Kinect exercise stations have been set up in the Brain Gym Lab, which promotes learning through movement.

Loveworks Academy is a public charter school located in a diverse neighborhood and works with a large number of low-income, underserved children ages 4 through 14. The school focuses on a strong academic program that personalizes learning for all students, helping develop independent, cooperative, responsible, and creative adults.

Thus far, the novel exercise program has been well received by teachers and students in the school. This is the third school-based lab Dr. Gao has established in the public schools in the state of Minnesota. Below are photos from the program.


Peter invited to be Artist in Residence for writers’ retreat

Gary Peter, lecturer in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), has been invited to be an Artist in Residence in June at Write On, Door County, a retreat for writers providing time and space for focused work on creative projects. He will also lead a workshop, “Writing from Life,” while in residence.

Barr-Anderson publishes in Journal of Adolescent Health

Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory, published along with colleagues from the School of Public Health a manuscript brief in the Journal of Adolescent Health (impact factor of 3.612).

The publication titled “Physical Activity and Sociodemographic Correlates of Adolescent Exergamers” examines demographic and behavioral characteristics of adolescents who engage in active video games, or exergamers.



FSoS undergrad to deliver student commencement speech

Family Social Science student
Cheniqua Johnson will deliver the student address at CEHD Commencement ceremonies. Photo supplied.

Cheniqua Johnson, who is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in Family Social Science, will deliver this year’s student commencement address at the College of Education and Human Development’s undergraduate ceremonies Thursday, May 10, 5:30 p.m.

She is the first person in her family to graduate from a four-year institution and is currently the Staff Assistant/Intern Coordinator for Congressman Keith Ellison. While a student, she was actively involved in several student groups and campus organizations, including Black Motivated Women, Black Student Union, CEHD Student Senate, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, TRIO Student Alliance, Undergraduate Student Advisory Board, and the U of M Women’s Center. She completed a policy internship in the Office of Governor Mark Dayton and an internship in Washington D.C. through the Council for Opportunity in Education with the Office of Senator Richard J. Durbin.

Johnson is currently a New Sector RISE Fellow and a participant in the Dr. Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy, an intergenerational, year-long leadership training program for African American leaders in the Twin Cities. Her future plans include attending law school and building a career in public service.

(Information supplied by CEHD communications staff).

See a feature story on Cheniqua Johnson in The Globe, her hometown paper in Worthington, MN.