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National organizations honor kinesiology students

Kam King
July 14, 2016

EHE students awarded for empowering the nation to lead healthier lives

Students in the college's Kinesiology program, housed within the Department of Human Sciences, learn the true impact that physical activity has on the health of our society.

This knowledge, instilled in our students by world-class faculty, led to the acquisition of national honors by four outstanding EHE students.

Waits named SHAPE’s Major of the Year

Award recipient Joel Waits, Jr. is joined by Sam Hodge, professor of kinesiology, at the annual Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America conference.
Award recipient Joel Waits, Jr., left, is joined by Sam Hodge, professor of kinesiology, at the 2016 Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America conference.

Joel Waits, Jr.’s passion for education — particularly physical education and health — led him to EHE.

“I want to share my knowledge of physical activity, sports and health with underrepresented populations,” said Waits, a senior majoring in physical education teacher education.

In April, Waits received the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America’s Major of the Year Award. Nominated by his kinesiology professors, Wait’s honor celebrates his service and academic contributions to the fields of health, physical education, recreation and dance.

On campus, Waits serves as a member of the Young Life ministry, where he coaches wrestling and track for local high schools. This year, he traveled to Brazil with the Higher Education in Brazil: Access, Equity and Opportunity education abroad program. While in South America, Waits explored how he could help incorporate physical activity and health into the daily lives of young Afro-Brazilian students.

“It feels like the hard work is paying off,” said Waits, a first-generation college student.

This June, the Columbus native was also chosen as the student chair for the Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the state’s SHAPE America chapter. He also serves as a Robert and Missy Weiler Scholar and a valued member of Ohio State’s Bell National Resource Center.

In addition to his commitment to academic excellence, Wait serves as a member of the United States Army Reserves and the university’s ROTC Cadet Services Corps.

“Joel is one of the most enthusiastic, dedicated and hard working students we have had the pleasure to work with,” said Sue Sutherland, professor of kinesiology and Wait’s primary award nominator.

“He will be an excellent physical education teacher and will truly be an asset to any school he works for.”

AKA honors graduate researchers

As an information leader in physical activity and health, the American Kinesiology Association (AKA) serves as a voice for the field at the national level. AKA recognizes graduate students for their exceptional academic and leadership accomplishments.

This year, three EHE students were honored:

Yilin Li, ’16 MS, of Nanchang, China, received the 2016 Master’s Scholar Award. She was honored for her doctoral research, which aims to develop and validate a specific measurement for perceptions of caring in physical education.

Tunde Szivak, of Columbus, received the 2016 Doctoral Scholar Award. As a former officer in the United States Army, Szivak’s research focuses on the stress physiology and performance optimization for soldiers. Her award honored the real-world impact that Szivak’s research has for our military.

Shawn Flanagan, of Naperville, Illinois, received the 2016 Graduate Student Writing Award. Judged by faculty at Ohio State, Flanagan was honored for his service as an exemplar graduate student researcher. The doctoral fellow is dedicated to exploring the connection between kinesiology and public health policies.


These students, who were nominated by faculty, have demonstrated an exceptional ability to conduct and disseminate research interest in the field.

“Our EHE students and their research have the potential to make a significant impact on the field of kinesiology,” said Cheryl Achterberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Ecology.

“National recognition is just the start for these exceptional students.”


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