Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in a few smaller towns in Ontario. My family was heavily involved in dairy farming and 4-H, so that was a big part of my life until I went to school. The other main part of my life was sports, although I played a lot of sports (soccer, rowing, volleyball, flag football), I was really passionate about rugby and played it at the club and provincial level in my youth, then transitioned to university rugby and coached a bit. After I graduated high school, I went to Brock University where I completed a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Master of Arts. For my PhD, I went to Western University and then had a short post-doctoral post at Ottawa University. I never considered pursuing a career in academia until one of my professors, Dr. Phil Wilson, asked me if I was interested in an independent study. During the experience, I caught the research bug and haven't looked back since.
How long have you been at ULethbridge and what do you do here?
I started seven years ago on July 1, 2016. I am an associate professor in sport and exercise psychology and I therefore have a teaching and research role. Within my teaching role, I teach KNES 2140 (Psychological Perspectives), KNES 3780 (Exercise Psychology), KNES 4680 (Advanced Sport and Exercise Psychology), KNES 2200 (Research Methodologies) and KNES 4900/5900 (Interdisciplinary Research Dialogues). My research falls under the umbrella of sport and exercise psychology that ultimately focuses on fostering positive behaviour change (e.g., reducing sitting time and being more active) and an optimal experience and environment in the context of sport, exercise or sedentary behaviour.
Right now, I have two main research projects. The first project is funded by SSHRC (co-investigators are Dr. Jennifer Copeland from ULethbridge and Dr. Luc Pelletier from Ottawa University) and includes a brief two-month intervention study designed to help older adults reduce or break up their sitting time by increasing their awareness of their sitting time and providing them with various tools and strategies they can use. This is a study we have been doing for a few years and we are currently looking to recruit another 20 participants before we wrap it up.
The other project that is a little more recent revolves around understanding the factors that influence use of the ULethbridge fitness facilities. This has been a project my student, Alex Engel, has spearheaded, and we recently received funding for from the ULRF (with my colleague Dr. Scott Rathwell). My ultimate goal with this project is to understand the personal (both psychological and demographic), and environment (physical and social) factors that influence if students use the gym and what parts of the gym they use in order to make them feel more comfortable and competent in the gym.
What's the best part of your job?
Interacting with the students! I really love getting to know the students and helping them in any way possible.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I spend most of my time outside of work cheering on my kids in whatever sport they are doing. We are an active family that loves being busy either at sports, camping, skiing, travelling or spending time with friends and family. Other than that, I love working out and being active, so I prioritize that for myself throughout the week.