Department of Kinesiology

School of Health and Human Sciences

News and Events

Image result for uncg historyThe EdD in KIN’s own Dr. Diane Gill is one of the Organizing members of the UNCG Association of Retired Faculty – thanks to helping to get this launched. Of course we hope you don’t retire anytime soon. For more details about the organization, read the story at

Erin ReifsteckMichael Hemphill

Dr. Michael Hemphill and Dr. Erin Reifsteck are two of the EdD in KIN program’s newest faculty members. After sitting down with them it’s no wonder that they are so well liked by their peers and students.  Their commitment to student success and passion for applied research is deeply evident and a common theme from where they started and how they ended up here.

Tell me more about of your background? What were some of your career goals

Michael: Originally I wanted to work for the NBA, I had an internship with the charlotte bobcats, as a video coordinator.  I would code video and have to make a three minute clip by half time to show the players in the locker room.  It was fun, but I realized I didn’t want to work in professional sports.  Meanwhile, I was doing my undergraduate work at Wingate  and had been working with at risk youth with a university outreach program. That led to an internship with SHAPE America, the president of SHAPE was Tom Templin who later became my advisor at Purdue University.

Erin:  I went to St. Francis University where I majored in psychology and also played Division I field hockey. While pursuing my studies as a student-athlete I discovered that there was a world where both of my passions could be mixed in the field of sport psychology. I wrote an undergraduate honors thesis and actually used a survey that Dr. Gill had developed- which is partly how I came to know about UNCG. While exploring options for grad school, I visited UNCG and felt very connected to the program and the people here. Like many young graduate students in our field, I thought someday I would become a sport psychologist who worked with elite athletes. But,I really liked research, especially applied research, and I eventually completed my masters and PhD in kinesiology/ sport and exercise psychology at UNCG and then later a post-doc with the Institute to Promote Athlete Health and Wellness in the public health education department.

Tell me more about your current research.

Michael: One project I am currently involved is The New Zealand Project.  It focuses on teaching social responsibility through sports.  New Zealand is the leader in restorative justice practices, the idea of solving problems in a restorative manner.  New Zealand is a great example for us. Many of their institutions are built around the foundations of restorative justice, their youth justice system, their schools, but it has not penetrated sports.  Sports has its own set of rules and New Zealand is looking at ways to change that. What Tom Martinek and I are looking to gain and apply back home is using sports as a starting ground for implementing restorative justice practices here in the United States.  Sports provides a low risk opportunity to practice these things on a daily basis. Our goal is to develop a model that can be implemented throughout different communities.  

Erin: My current research focuses on promoting physical activity and health-related behaviors through sport and life transitions. Our team developed the Moving On! program, which supports student-athletes in making healthy transitions out of college sports.  I enjoy doing this kind of applied research, which involves translating psychosocial theories into evidence-based programming. The Moving On! program provides educational resources for collegiate student athletes as they graduate and “move on” from college.  We received funding from the NCAA in 2015 and 2016 to help develop the program and make it adaptable for other institutions. The applied nature of this research has been a good fit for working with EdD students. For example, Mindy Smith (2015 cohort) is pursuing a dissertation on similar issues and was able to complete an independent study with me on this topic where she implemented and evaluated the program at the institution where she works.

Has the EdD program aligned well with your current career goals?

Erin:  I think my goals fit really well with the EdD in KIN program’s philosophy, especially the focus on translation of research into professional practice.

Michael: Yeah, the idea behind restorative justice program is to empower coaches, teachers, and working professionals and the EdD program does exactly that.  

How has your first year been?  What has been difficult?

Erin: The first year was both exciting and challenging. We’ve been learning the ropes of a new program while trying to figure out how to best meet the needs of students with diverse interests.   

Michael:  It’s a unique new program and being able to shape a program is exciting but there’s work in figuring out best practices.  But I love it and I love getting to know the students.  They all come from  various backgrounds which provides opportunities to interdisciplinary learning.

Erin: I love when students find a meaningful topic within their professional field and are able to move from course work to immediate impact.

Michael: The first year was very collaborative, and I benefited greatly, working in a community and not being isolated.

Erin: Yes I feel like the department and the university as a whole really supports new faculty and provides us with the tools to be successful.

January 17 & 18, 2018: Snow days can be spent multiple different ways. You can stay inside under a warm blanket, or you can get out for a walk and play on the plush, white covering. Either way makes for a good day! For Undergraduate students Brooke Laws and Stephanie Seawell, deciding to get outside and enjoy the weather was an easy choice. From sledding, to a mock Superbowl win, to selfies with a snowman, these two really made the best of their snow days. Now it’s time to hit the books — instead of each other with snowballs.

If you did something interesting or fun on your snow days, please send the pictures or stories to Ms. Britt at

Sophia Brown Named Athletic Trainer of the Year by GATA

“MACON, GA— The Georgia Athletic Trainers’ Association (GATA) is proud to name Sophia Brown, an athletic trainer at Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), as the Jerry Rhea Athletic Trainer of the Year. The award will be presented at the GATA Honors & Awards Dinner in Macon on January 20 as part of their annual educational conference.

In September 2017, Brown saved the life of a student athlete at Locust Grove High School when he collapsed on the basketball court. As described by Athletic Director Stephen Phillips, “When Sophia arrived she quickly stepped in and performed CPR on the young man. She had instructed the coach to go and get the AED. When the AED arrived she connected it and followed the steps like she has been taught. Because of her actions the young man was saved…”

Dr. David Marshall, Medical Director of the Sports Medicine Program at CHOA commended Ms. Brown, “We hope and pray we will never find ourselves in a situation where an unresponsive child is found on the ground and a group of coaches look at us to “do something.” Sophia did something. She took control of the situation, relied on her training as a certified athletic trainer and literally saved a child’s life.”

The award is named for Jerry Rhea, former head athletic trainer of the Atlanta Falcons, and a pioneer in the athletic training profession. To be eligible for the award the individual must be a certified/licensed athletic trainer demonstrating exemplary service to the profession of athletic training in Georgia.

The Georgia Athletic Trainers’ Association is an organization committed to education of its members and enhancement of the profession of athletic training, leading to better healthcare for the population which it serves.”

We congratulate you, Sophia! Keep up the hard work, and thank you for serving as a great role model for not only our program, but Athletic Trainers across the United States.

Jason Moody, a Senior Undergraduate student in the Department, is making a difference by research. In speaking with Jason, he wanted to ask “why?”

Moody stated “The opportunity to become a Research Assistant is something many undergrads take for granted. I started about two years ago working with a Ph.D student who opened so many doors for me because I simply showed passion, interest, and possessed a lingering question of “why?”. It takes those key components to become successful as a researcher. Through these opportunities at UNCG I was able to work closely with incredible mentors like Dr. Anne Brady, Dr. Christopher Rhea and Dr. Justin Waxman who is now a professor at HPU.”

Read more about him in the article below:

Hitting His Stride

Ted Monnich, is not your typical student. For one, he brings a wealth of experience with him—ranging from art curator, to music lecturer, to being a renowned expert in elite performance, particularly with hockey goalies. He claims to have always been a passionate person, which would explain why, in the first two weeks of school, he went from doing a music lecture in Pittsburg, to presenting on Flow State at Burning Man in Nevada. I was curious why someone regarded as an expert in so many fields would want to return to school?

Ted came into the EdD program as a sport psychology consultant working with ice hockey players, and almost exclusively with goalies. In fact, he was an ice hockey goalie coach for almost 20 years. He himself is a retired professional ice hockey goalie, though he humbly adds that he only played in the minors (the beer leagues is how he humorously refers to it). “ I wanted to transition from coaching to sport psychology. I found the program at UNCG, where I earned a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology in the kinesiology program.”

The not-so-straightforward path of a Renaissance Man

Prior to coaching hockey, Ted could be considered somewhat of a renaissance man. As he put it, “I live by the words of Joseph Campbell ‘Follow your bliss.’” I am a very passion-driven person, sometimes good, sometimes, well…. “  Ted playing in his band TURKU

When Ted was very young, he landed an internship with a blacksmith. His early work as an artist/blacksmith sculptor led him to museum conservation work. His work has been exhibited in galleries, universities and museums around the country. “I’m not active with this at this time because Dr. Gill assigns so much reading,” Ted says with a laugh.

For over 35 years, Ted has restored art for several well-known museums including The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, The South Carolina State Museum, The Biltmore Estate, Brookgreen Gardens, among many others. Although he has transitioned from this work to coaching and sport psychology, he still takes care of the world-class collection of sculptures at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. “I am in my 25th year there, and will probably always maintain an active connection to that institution for sentimental reasons.”

In addition to art conservator, he is also a founding member of the world music group TURKU: Nomads of the Silk Road. The group has released four albums, two concert videos, and has toured the world. Ted had studied the music of Turkey, Iran, and other countries in the region for 20 years and even lived Turkey while coaching hockey. “I now study and teach early music, 13th-14th centuries, of the Timurid, Seljuk, and Ottoman empires. I also harbor a secret life as a DJ at Balkan dance parties.”

Returning to a former passion

Ted Monnich premiere hockey goalie coachIce hockey was not a passion developed later in life. In fact, Ted started playing ice hockey at 10 years old in Pittsburgh, PA. He played successfully through high school but states, “After high school, my passion for blacksmithing took over.” It was not until years later that Ted returned to ice hockey recreationally as an adult, and “ that old passion,” he states, “ returned in a big way.”

His motto in the “beer leagues’ was, “I just don’t wanna suck.” He says he “took it to the extreme in studying my position, working with trainers, etcetera, until I caught the eye of the AA minor pro team in Columbia, SC—the Columbia Inferno.” They brought him on as a practice goalie, and eventually as a team member for three seasons. He transitioned to assistant coach and video coach. Coaching led him to Sports Psychology, which led him to pursue a master’s degree at UNCG. At this point he had a private practice in art restoration and played music in TURKU. “Yes, those were all odd bedfellows,” he admits, but onward he continues.

The juggling act

Ted did not stop once he completed his master’s in Sports Psychology he, as is his nature, wanted to take it to the next level and pursue a doctorate. Upon the recommendation of his advisor, Dr. Diane Gill, he applied for the EdD in KIN Online Doctorate Program. He began this past fall and is in the process of figuring out how to balance school with all of his other passions.

“It’s a juggling act,” he states with a matter-of-factness, “this semester started earlier than usual, and caught me in a professional schedule of teaching music at a festival in Pittsburgh, then lecturing and coaching at a camp at Pennsylvania State University, and then traveling to the Burning Man festival to present on my proposed dissertation topic. So, I’m still playing catch-up, and looking for a happy medium for school, career, AND family life. I remind myself, as I learned in pro hockey, ‘it’s only work.’”

Finding his flow at Burning Man

To quote Wikipedia, “Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary city erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The event is described as an experiment in community Ted and his wife at Burning Manand art, influenced by 10 main principles: ‘radical’ inclusion, self-reliance, self-expression, community cooperation, civic responsibility, gifting, decommodification, participation, immediacy, and leaving no trace.”

Ted and his wife have attended The Burning Man Festival four times between 2009 and 2013. In the past, they have always attended for the art and Ted would contribute through musical performances. This year, he was invited to present on his interest in flow state and peak performance. “It’s a hot topic and there is a definite interest in that very progressively thinking community of 70,000 attendees.”

Ted led two discussion groups on flow state and peak performance at the “Creation Nation BRC!” theme camp. He was also able to attended a presentation by Stealing Fire coauthor, Jamie Wheal, whose book is about flow state. Even cooler, Ted discovered an interactive sculpture by artists from Mexico City that utilizes measurements of heart rate variability in volunteers to operate the sculpture. Ted was even asked to give a presentation to students of the KIN 712 Sport and Exercise Psychology class, which you access by clicking here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

A one-of-a-kind program

Not all program directors would be ok with their students going missing for a whole week during the first month of class, but director Dr. Brown was all for it. he could have dismissed this festival, but she recognized it as a once-in-a-lifetime professional growth opportunity. And after all, the work would still be there when he returned.

“Being a member of a doctoral program confers a degree of academic legitimacy—that opens doors,” Ted explains. “I respect and appreciate that greatly as I pursue my dissertation and dialogue with other scholars. But perhaps more importantly, the EdD program allows you to pursue practical experiences while remaining in school, and connecting course content to the workplace is not only encouraged, it’s expected.

Dr. Michael Hemphill Congratulations to our own EdD faculty member Dr. Michael Hemphill for his selection as one of four faculty fellows for the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE)!

As a 2018 ICEE Faculty Fellow, Dr. Hemphill will facilitate a learning community focused on community-engaged writing beginning Spring 2018. This learning community will bring faculty, staff, administrators, students, and community members together around community-engaged topics. Keep a look out in the spring for about the community-engaged writing learning community, or e-mail for more information.

November 21st, 2017: Second year student in the MSAT program, Katelyn Ward, is really showing the community what it means to be caring and thankful this Holiday season. A huge thank you to Katelyn and everyone involved for your generosity and kindness. Do something bigger altogether. #DSBA

“Katelyn coordinated with the community and local businesses to help the Greensboro Police Department raise enough money to purchase 1,188 teddy bears to donate to GPD’s Ted E. Bear program. Katelyn, along with Guilford College Men’s Lacrosse and players from the Page High School Football team dropped off 1,188 Teddy bears.”

“The Ted E. Bear program allows officers from the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) to carry a few bears with them and offer them to children at crime scenes, accidents, domestic violence calls, child abuse/neglect calls and other incidents. The bears are a great comfort to small victims/sufferers, and serve as allies for officers. They instill trust in uncomfortable or unfamiliar surroundings.” Read more on the program, and how you can get involved here:

JoAnne Safrit

The Department of Kinesiology has so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but we would like to humbly extend our gratitude to Dr. JoAnne Safrit.  On November 13, Dr. Safrit made a $1 million contribution to the Department of Kinesiology by establishing the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology. The gift was made in honor of her long-time partner Dr. Catherine Ennis. Dr. Ennis, a UNCG alumna and esteemed professor in our department, passed away in April of 2017. We are deeply touched and honored to be the recipient of such enormous generosity bestowed upon us by Dr. JoAnne Safrit.

Dr Safrit, also a UNCG alumna, graduated in 1957 with a degree in Physical Education, and was once the recipient of $1 million dollar gift from a couple when she was a young professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison. “It was life-changing for me, “ she recalls, “With that gift, I was able to conduct important, meaningful research because of the generosity of others who had the means to do so. Now that I’m in a position to help, I wanted to give a professor the opportunity to make the next discovery, to advance knowledge in the field that I have dedicated my life to, at the school I love so much.”

The inaugural recipient of the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology has been awarded to Dr. Laurie Wideman, whose research focuses on the impact of exercise, disease and injury on the endocrine system. The professorship will help to cover the cost of Dr. Wideman’s research. Thank you, Dr. Safrit, for your generosity, you are a model to us all.

See additional coverage in the News and Record – and hear her interviewed on WUNC Radio’s “The State of Things.”

Dogs can do some amazing things, but have you ever heard of a Medical Alert Assistance Dog for a Head Athletic Trainer? Kourtney Sappenfield, a first year sport and exercise psychology master’s student had; and she decided to bring the experience to the classroom.

Meet Remington, a happy Golden Retriever who is making a difference in athlete’s lives. Currently serving UNC-Chapel Hill’s baseball team and his mom, the Head Athletic Trainer, Remington is taking his job to the next level. Check out more information on Remington here: Read more on Kourtney’s experience and how she was able to bring the full experience to the classroom below.

“As a first year sport and exercise psychology (SEP) master’s student here at UNCG, I am extremely eager to learn about all that the field has to offer. I was especially excited when a class I was taking this semester tasked us with an assignment to look into the field of SEP and present about it to the class. I decided to think outside of the box and look into a topic we probably wouldn’t dive into normally. This prompted me to think about things I am interested in the field, like sports, and things I am in interested about in life, like dogs. I remembered seeing a news article last spring about a Medical Alert Assistance dog that worked with the baseball players at UNC-Chapel Hill and thought that this would be an interesting topic to explore. Since this is a brand new area in the field of SEP, I worried that the lack of literature would make it not enough for the assignment however, my advisor thought otherwise, so I became invested in learning more about REMINGTON and the work he does at UNC-Chapel Hill.

REMINGTON’S mom Terri Jo Rucinski is the baseball team’s athletic trainer. I reached out to her to learn more about his impact on the baseball team and other sports on campus. She was very nice and worked to fit my class into her schedule as she thought the best way to learn about REMINGTON would be to meet him in person. After a couple of months of communication, it was decided that both Terri Jo and REMINGTON would come visit my class for my presentation.

I was so excited not only because he is a cute golden retriever but also to hear about his job and the positive effect he has.

During the presentation REMINGTON laid quietly on the ground (because he was working) while Terri Jo told his story, the process of getting him, and parts of his job. REMINGTON is a very smart dog who knows over 100 commands, from being able to whisper to taking off someone’s jacket to turning the lights on and off. He also has the ability to sense anxiety and “anchor” on to a person (i.e., curl up at his/her feet) to help provide some relief by letting them pet him. She explained that this and simply his presence have helped the baseball team feel more positive in a sport of high anxiety and pressure. REMINGTON also helps in the recovery of injured athletes, whether that means being there with them the day of their surgery or helping them work on exercises during rehab. She says since his time there, she has seen fewer reports of injury than ever before. However, she did talk about how she has run into some issues regarding him and the necessity of his job. Nevertheless, she explained that everyone who he has worked with sees how special a dog he is and feels the benefits of his presence.

This was such an incredible opportunity and I was so glad I got to meet them and hear their stories, and I am thankful for this assignment for giving me the chance to learn about something new in SEP. I wish them the best of luck in their upcoming season and as they continue to keep positively impacting the people that they meet.”