Department of Kinesiology

School of Health and Human Sciences

News and Events

JUNE 17, 2021 - In a message to School of Health & Human Sciences faculty and staff, Dean Mattacola announced the appointment of Dr. Jenny Etnier as 
Kinesiology's next chair:

Dear Colleagues, 

We are excited to announce that Dr. Jennifer (Jenny) Etnier has accepted the role of chair of the Department of Kinesiology.  

Dr. Etnier is the Julia Morton Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology, an award-winning researcher, thought leader, mentor, and respected colleague. She has served as Associate Chair of Kinesiology since 2017.

Dr. Jennifer (Jenny) EtnierDr. Etnier is renowned for her research on exercise and cognitive performance and has authored over 90 publications mostly focused in these areas. She is frequently sought out as a thought leader for podcasts and other media outlets. Her work on the benefits of physical activity on older adults with a family history of Alzheimer’s was featured in the spring 2020 issue of UNCG Research magazine

As principal investigator, she has received over $3.8 million in external funding and is currently conducting an R01 Physical Activity and Alzheimer’s Disease – 2 (PAAD-2) focused on the effects of physical activity on cognitive performance, blood-based biomarkers, and cerebral structure and function of adults with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Dr. Etnier has received numerous awards in recognition of accomplishments across the range of faculty responsibilities and at both the School and University levels. These include awards for research (HHS Senior Research Excellence Award 2020, UNCG Senior Research Excellence Award 2021); teaching (HHS Teaching Excellence Award 2016, UNCG Alumni Teaching Excellence Award 2011); graduate student mentoring (HHS Graduate Mentoring Award 2013, UNCG Graduate School’s Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award 2014); and service (Kinesiology HUMARTS Award 2018).

In addition to her data-based scholarship, she has written two books for youth sport participants: “Bring your ‘A’ Game” in 2009 and “Coaching For the Love of the Game” in 2020. Dr. Etnier serves as a founding co-chair for the Scientific Advisory Board of MOJO Sports, and she is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK). She previously served as President of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. She served as editor of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (JAPA), associate editor for the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology (JSEP) and JAPA, and section editor for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. She is currently Member at Large for NAK and an editorial board member for Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology; JAPA; JSEP; Journal of Sport and Health Science; and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Dr. Etnier finished her PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Arizona State University after receiving her master’s from UNC Chapel Hill in Sport Psychology.

In addition to Dr. Etnier’s reputation as a scholar and expertise in the area of exercise and cognitive performance, she brings a wealth of experience in administration and is well positioned to lead the Department of Kinesiology. 

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Etnier to the position of chair of the Department of Kinesiology!

Carl S. Mattacola


Alain Aguilar and Lisa Almedina-McQuade were awarded the EdD in Kinesiology (EdD in KIN) Professional Development Award (2nd call), which is designed to support students seeking professional development opportunities.

Alain Aguilar will attend the 18th Annual Qualitative Research Summer Intensive hosted virtually by the UNC Odum Institute. From this professional experience, he will develop his skills in qualitative methods and use these skills to amplify the voices of marginalized students within his current department. He is planning to share the findings with his department to make changes around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Lisa Almedina-McQuade will attend the Vedic Yoga RYT-300 hour training through Houston Yoga & Ayurveda. From this experience, she will gain knowledge regarding the use of breath work, diet and yoga postures. Following graduation, she is planning to continue her yoga work by incorporating what she has learned during the training. She feels this will complement her dissertation work which included quality of life and mindfulness in yoga physical activity courses.

Congratulations, Alain and Lisa! For more information about the program, please go here.

Thanks to Dr. Kate Barrett, Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, for her support and the establishment of this award.

The graduate school held a virtual 2021 Showcase of Scholarship in April. This online event aimed to give graduate students an opportunity to share their academic achievements with the greater Greensboro community. The students created brief videos about their research for this broader audience.

One of our EdD in KIN students, Jeff Akers participated in this event. He introduced his study titled “Increasing Physical Activity and Self-efficacy in PE by Flipping the Classroom”. Jeff shared “The graduate showcase was a nice chance to show the community the extent of our hard work. It’s exciting because there is such a diverse research effort taking place here at UNCG, and the creativity is off the charts. I’m very thankful to be a part of the UNCG family and look forward to seeing the paths these participants take as they move forward making positive impacts in so many disciplines.”

Derek Hevel, who is a Summer GA for the EdD in KIN program, received an award in the Health Sciences category for his study titled “Feelings of Pleasantness for the Promotion of Physical Activity in College Students” which was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jaclyn Maher. Mac Pierson and Jason Brantley who are PhD students in Kinesiology also participated in the Showcase and were awarded.

Great work, all! For more information about the program, please go here.

Dr. Lauren Griffin, a recent graduate of the EdD in KIN program, has accepted a new position as the Clinical Education Coordinator/Assistant Professor for the Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) at UNCG. She shared that she is “…extremely excited for the opportunity. This is something that I have been interested in pursuing for a long time. I will be able to utilize the knowledge I gained from the EdD program and continue the work I started with my dissertation. I know the faculty and staff in the Kinesiology department at UNCG are striving to lead the campus in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives within an academic unit. I am so happy to continue that work here. I look forward to bringing my own diverse perspective to the program and can’t wait to start in August.” Her dissertation titled, “Minorities in Kinesiology: Challenges Encountered in the Pursuit of an Athletic Training Degree and Beyond” may help you learn more about her focus as she takes on this leadership role.

We are looking forward to having Dr. Lauren Griffin as a new faculty member in our department! For more information about the EdD in KIN program, please go here.

The 2021 Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Diversity in Sport Conference was hosted virtually by UNC Greensboro April 16th-17th, 2021. In its fifth year, the AASP Diversity in Sport Regional Conference was a student-driven event targeting traditionally underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students (e.g. students of color, LGBTIQ students, students with disabilities) and early career professionals interested in careers in applied sport, exercise, and performance psychology. Through a variety of discussions, presentations, and networking opportunities, the conference provided a space for open dialogue around diversity and social justice issues in applied sport and exercise psychology settings. The event is held annually at a historically black college and university (HBCU) or minority and Hispanic serving institution (MSIs and HSIs). We at UNC Greensboro were proud to be chosen to host the event (virtually) this year.

The conference had many connections to the EdD in KIN program. The conference planning committee included several EdD faculty – Dr. Pam Brown, Dr. Diane Gill, Dr. Erin Reifsteck, & Dr. DeAnne Brooks. Long-time EdD in KIN GA Shelby Anderson was the conference co-coordinator. Several EdD students were also able to participate in the event as attendees and presenters. Andrew Cage authored an excellent panel titled “Diversity and Inclusion in Sports Medicine.” Additionally, former EdD in KIN GA, Dr. Kimberly Fasczewski who is now a professor at Appalachian State was a co-author on two presentations with current students. Overall, the EdD in KIN program was well-represented at the event.

Shelby shared, “We feel the conference ended up being a huge success. We were able to have 25+ synchronous and asynchronous presentations throughout the two day event. Having synchronous sessions allowed for a ton of attendee and presenter engagement. Our main goal of providing a space for students to connect and share their work surrounding diversity in sport was accomplished.”

Congratulations to all on a wonderful event! For more information on the EdD in KIN program, click here.

Dr. Ben Dyson, Yanhua (Eddy) Shen, Donal Howley, and Seunghyun Baek presented their study titled “Social and Emotional Learning Matters! Interpreting High-Needs Elementary School Educators’ Buy-In and Constraints with Human Developmental Theories” at the 2021 AERA (American Educational Research Association) Virtual Annual Meeting. The study was presented at a roundtable session focused on the “Examination of Social Emotional Learning with Children” on Friday, April 9. The purpose of this study was to investigate educators’ perspectives on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in a high-needs elementary school setting based on two human developmental theories, Developmental Cascades Theory and Social-ecological Systems Theory. One of the presenters, Seunghyun said “It was a motivating experience to learn about different studies on SEL in other fields! We had a great discussion over the future research work for SEL with Children.”

Dr. Ben Dyson is one of our core faculty members in the EdD in KIN program, and Yanhua (Eddy) Shen and Seunghyun Baek are GAs in our program as well. We are looking forward to seeing more of the research work about SEL in PE in the future. For more information, please go here.

We are excited to have a new EdD in KIN Administrative Assistant, Nathalie Perez. Nathalie started working with our EdD in KIN program this Spring semester. We asked her three questions so we could all get to know her better.

Tell us briefly about yourself.
My hometown is Orlando, FL. I have lived in Florida all my life and I am very excited to see all the opportunities that North Carolina will bring me! I also am a first-generation graduate from the University of Florida. I graduated in 2019 with my BA in Business Administration and Sociology. In my free time I like to volunteer, specifically with children. I love tutoring, mentoring, and creating workshops that promote education/empowerment for young kids. Educational equity is an issue that I care deeply about.

What brought you to UNCG?
When researching this position, I loved the community aspect that UNCG and more specifically, the KIN department has. I thought (still think) that this university is doing a wonderful job helping students achieve their professional goals and is actively working to create opportunities for everyone to succeed. On a broader note, I was attracted to move to North Carolina because of the abundant nature scenes, weather and opportunities. I know that my move to UNCG/NC will allow me to flourish professionally and personally.

What is one thing that you want to share with the UNCG KIN community?
Best advice that I can give someone: Be courageous…If I have learned anything in life, it’s that every opportunity has an expiration date. It is very easy to let fear stop us from going towards our goals, so during moments of doubt, remind yourself to have courage. A moment of courage can lead to an endless path of amazing possibilities.

Let’s give Nathalie a warm welcome into the EdD in KIN family! For more information about the program, please go here.

Recently, several students from the EdD in KIN program met for a virtual Cross-cohort Talk to discuss a mix of research topics, including College Teaching, Youth Sports/Athletics, Physical Activity Interventions and Programming, AT/PT Clinical Education, and Cultural Issues. The students had requested this type of program as they wanted to talk with other students who shared similar research interests but they may not have gotten to talk with since they entered the program in different years.

Following brief introductions, the twelve students moved into three breakout rooms according to their interested topics. While in the rooms, students shared their current research and made connections. In the College Teaching topic breakout room, Mark and Amanda answered a number of questions regarding their dissertations, particularly data collection and analyses. In the Physical Activity breakout room, Crystal and Ted shared their recent research and experiences during the dissertation process. They also discussed the teacher/student relationship changes in the dissertation phase and suggested other students don’t be afraid to ask questions because “they [teachers] really want you to succeed and cross the finish line.” In the Cultural Issues breakout room, Alain shared his dissertation journey as well as “things he wishes he knew a year ago” with two 2019 cohort students, Tracy and Alma.

The EdD in KIN students enjoyed the Cross-cohort Talk very much. We are looking forward to having more students joining us in the following virtual social events! For more information about the program, go here.

Dr. Erin Reifsteck, one of our EdD in KIN core faculty, was awarded the HUMARTS Award (Fall 2019- Spring 2020)!

The HUMARTS (Hennis, Ulrich, McGee Assisting Research, Teaching and Service) Award was established by Dr. Celeste Ulrich, a retired Professor of the School of Health and Human Performance, and Dean Emerita of the College of Human Development and Performance at the University of Oregon. This award is to recognize the professional capabilities and contributions of the professoriate in the Department of Kinesiology in the School of HHS at UNCG.

Dr. Reifsteck has served as an assistant professor since Fall 2016. During her time here Dr. Reifsteck has contributed to a wide range of research, teaching, and administrative works, especially associated with the EdD in KIN program! She has been acknowledged by students for her excellent communication and efforts to make her class accessible to all in the online EdD program. She is president of the School of HHS Alumni Leadership Council. She also serves on the Research Development Committee for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, an editorial review board member for Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, and an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple professional journals. Additionally, as a researcher, she has been consistently contributing to promoting lifelong physical activity and health among athletes through disseminating her research in a range of scholarly and professional outlets.

We are grateful for such an exceptionally great faculty member in our EdD in KIN program! For more information, please go here.

2020 Summer Graduate Research Assistantship recipients presented their works at the KIN graduate colloquium, including our two EdD in KIN GAs, Eddy Shen and Travis Anderson. Learn more about them and their work:

Eddy Shen is a PhD student in Kinesiology. He has been working for the EdD in KIN program as a GA since 2019. He presented his research titled “Social and Emotional Learning Matters! Interpreting High-needs Elementary School Educators’ Perspectives on SEL with Human Developmental Theories”. Eddy said “I was very excited to have the opportunity to present my summer research at the K71IN graduate colloquium in March. It was a great opportunity for me to learn from others’ studies. Although our research topic varies, there is still valuable and interesting information or knowledge I could borrow and learn. The presentation is also a rehearsal for me to prepare for presenting this study at a national conference!”.

Travis Anderson is also a PhD candidate in Kinesiology. Travis also has been involved in the EdD in KIN program providing student research support as a summer GA along with partnering with a recent EdD grad on a paper exploring training load monitoring in soccer players. He presented his research titled “The Effect of High-Intensity Exercise on Changes in Salivary and Serum Cortisol Proportion Dynamics”. Travis said “It was a privilege to be able to present this research to the department at the colloquium last week, and share the work being completed by our laboratory group. I am always curious about the projects that other groups in the department are completing, and thoroughly enjoy hearing about the breadth of work that the KIN department supports and produces!”.

Great work, Eddy and Travis!
For more information about the EdD in KIN program, please go here.