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FALL 2011

Leading Innovations in Public Education and Exercise

Howdy! I hope you enjoy our second issue of On the Move. The Department of Health & Kinesiology is one of the largest departments at Texas A&M University. We offer nine undergraduate and 16 graduate degrees in the areas of Health, Kinesiology, and Sport Management to over 2,300 undergraduate majors and minors and 210 graduate students. The department offers about 1,600 classes per year (ranked 1st at A&M), has an annual course enrollment of over 41,000 (ranked 1st at A&M) and generates about 70,000 student credit hours per year (ranked 2nd at A&M). The department is home to 15 research labs (including 10 wet labs), eight teaching and special use labs, two centers and one institute. Research ranges from basic research in animals to applied human clinical research trials and translation of research findings to the public. This includes research on the genetic basis of physical activity, obesity/weight loss, diabetes, cancer, aging, bone loss, exercise rehabilitation, nutrition, sports medicine and human performance in children through elderly adults. In addition, our department has a focus on research eliminating health disparities and diversity in sport. Research in the Department is funded from the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, NASA, NCAA, Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, foundations, and corporations like Curves International. Research being conducted by HLKN faculty, undergraduate students, and graduate students is literally making a worldwide impact on improving quality of life. The Department of Health & Kinesiology has been on the move academically! Our MS program in Athletic Training has been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and eight students started this program this summer. We developed a distance education version of our MS program in Sport Management that is pending final approval as well as offered a number of distance education courses our undergraduate students could take while at home during the summer as part of the College of Education and Human Development’s “Accelerate 2 Graduate” program. In 2010, HLKN faculty and students published 131 articles / works, were cited 1,173 times in the literature and gave 387 presentations at regional, national and international conferences. Faculty within HLKN also managed 43 active grants, nearly 200 research projects and submitted an additional 44 grants. Our graduate program achieved an historic enrollment of 210 students this year representing a 35% increase in size since 2008. Our faculty and students participated in scores of community outreach programs and was highly engaged in providing leadership in their professional organizations. The direction and quality of our academic and research programs is helping us attract world class scholars to our department to help train the next generation of practitioners and researchers in Health, Kinesiology and Sport Management. Finally, after many years of discussion, the Department of HLKN will literally be on the move this year! The Divisions of Health, Kinesiology, and Sport Management will be moving to the Blocker Building and animal and human physiology labs will be moving to Heldenfels this year as the university prepares to make renovations to Kyle Field. The university has approved building a new Physical Activity Building on the West Campus to house our Physical Education Activity Program. The projected completion date is May of 2013. The university has also submitted a request to the Texas A&M System to build an HLKN Academic Building to house academic and research programs. As you can see, HLKN is on the move! I hope you enjoy reading about some of the programs, activities, faculty and students that make our department one of the best in the nation. Gig ‘em,

Richard B. Kreider, Ph.D., FACSM, FISSN Professor & Head

FALL 2011

Contents Understanding Health Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2

The Child and Adolescent Research Laboratory strive to help children live healthier lives

Weighing in on Weight Loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Research at the ESNL compares the efficacy of different weight loss plans

A Game with Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Sport management major Dustin Johnson raises money for Shriners Hospitals through baseball


Never Stop Moving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Instructional Assistant Professor Teri Wenzel challenges her students to meet fitness goals

Breaking the Glass Ceiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Senior Professor Danny Ballard reflects on 26 years of distinguished service to the department

Hitting the Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 8

Former student Julia Boland talks about helping Texas A&M achieve championship glory

Keeper of the Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez ‘79 returns to Aggieland to lead the Corps of Cadets

Team Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 ChallengeWorks shows organizations how to unleash their potential through teamwork



From Internship to Dream Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Hannah Matthews uses classroom experiences to begin her career in sports

On The Cover: The Jack K. Williams Administration Building, opened in 1932, is the centerpiece of the main entrance to Texas A&M University. 14


Understanding Health Matters The Child & Adolescent Research Laborator y strive to help children live healthier lives Childhood obesity and illness rates continue to grow. Yet many schools have decreased— or eliminated—physical and health education programs due to tight budgets or to make more time for academics. E. Lisako McKyer and students from the Child & Adolescent Health Research Laboratory (CAHRL) are looking for answers to these problems. “The CAHRL is a think tank for studying things such as literacy and health outcomes,” says Lisako, CAHRL director and assistant professor of health education. The Child and Adolescent Research Laboratory was founded by Dr. E. Lisako J. McKyer (above).

The key is ensuring families understand all the factors that affect a child’s health. For example, Lisako notes children may understand that something is healthy for them, but not how it benefits them.

“If you tell kids to eat their carrots because they are good for them, they may not care. But if you tell them carrots will improve their jump shot or help them pedal faster, that resonates.”

The CAHRL participates in a number of community-wide events. The lab is involved in the UP-BEAT Youth Health Leadership Program, showing kids activities that are fun and good for them. The lab also volunteers for the Bryan ISD Back to School Bash by providing free backpacks and school supplies. “What we love about this event is we help hundreds and hundreds of kids locally,” Lisako says.


Graduate and undergraduate students working in the CAHRL receive hands-on, real-world experience aiding and educating others on health issues. Many are preparing to enter medicine, social work and other fields. “Overwhelmingly, for every one of them, the lab is where they take what they learned in the classroom, apply it and help people,” Lisako says. She takes pride in the number of students of color who have completed doctoral work in the lab, including four black women and one Latino woman, over the last five years. “At a non-historically black college or university, that’s unheard of,” Lisako says. “I’m very proud of what our lab has managed to do—putting excellently trained scholars out in the world.” “I want the lab to be the place where people, who want to learn a comprehensive and holistic approach to infant and child health, come to get the skills they need to make a difference,” she adds. “Then I want them to go out and spread that message.”

Weighing in on Weight Loss Research at the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory compares the efficacy of different weight loss plans With so many weight loss plans out there, it can be hard to find the right one. Researchers at the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Laboratory (ESNL) are investigating what weight loss routine works best for women. Lab researchers are conducting a study, funded by Curves International, to compare different weight loss plans. Women involved in the research come from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of age groups (18-70 years old). “It’s a unique age range that we get to work with, and they’re from all different walks of life,” says Claire Baetge, research assistant and doctoral student. In the 12-week study, researchers utilize different weight loss protocols and monitor changes in participants’ muscle and body fat. The Curves program, which includes an exercise component, is measured against the results of three other plans. “Several health markers are tested, such as blood work and treadmill, strength and bone density testing, to see how those markers change,” Claire says. Early findings look promising. According to Brittanie Lockard, research assistant and doctoral student, early results from the Curves program show weight loss coming from body fat while maintaining important muscle mass.

Participants can choose to continue their involvement in the study, and many do. The ESNL benefits by having better results on who was able to maintain their weight loss, and participants continue to reap the rewards of better health. “They feel successful, and many have not exercised before,” Brittanie says. “Having this kind of environment for them has really been embraced by the program.” Claire has enjoyed the positive feedback from participants as they lose weight. “It’s been really wonderful just seeing what motivates each person specifically,” she says. Brittanie, who considered becoming a nurse after college, likes the daily interaction with people and helping them become proactive in leading healthy lives.

Researchers Claire Baetge (below) and Brittanie Lockard (above) are part of a team investigating what works best for weight loss in women.

“My goal has been to deal with people before they need medication and to encourage them to maintain good health,” she says. “I am a people person, and I love to see the transformation happen.” More information about the ESNL:

“They may not lose as much weight as some of the other plans, but it is the type of weight you want to lose and may be able to sustain,” Brittanie says. The research of the Curves study is part of the mission of the ESNL—to help people worldwide live healthier and happier lives.


A Game with Heart Sport management major Dustin Johnson raises money for Shriners Hospitals through baseball


Dustin Johnson is using his love of baseball to help others. The junior sport management major founded Shriners Baseball and heads up the annual Shriners Baseball Classic, which helps raise funds for Shriners Hospitals. “I looked at it as a way to create a job for myself and help the Shriners work toward their own sports department,” Dustin says. Dustin’s ties to the Shriners, an international fraternity known for community service, run deep. His father has been a Shriner for 33 years, and in 2009, Dustin joined. At the time, he was the youngest Shriner in the history of the organization at age 18. Over the past three years, the Shriners Baseball Classic has hosted eight baseball and eight softball teams from the Waco area, with no charge for participating children. Preparation for this year’s baseball tournament offered Dustin the chance to attract potential clients—a unique experience for a student still years away from graduation. “The skills and experience I have had in sport management here have definitely helped me,” Dustin says. “I was introduced to the Paul Kruse (CEO of Blue Bell Creameries), and they became the title sponsor for Shiners Baseball for 2011.” Proceeds from the baseball classic benefit Shriners Hospitals, which provide advanced care for children with burns, orthopedic conditions and other ailments, regardless of the patients’ ability to pay.

Due to Dustin’s work at this year’s Shriners Baseball Classic, this year’s contribution to Shriners Hospital for Children - Houston & Galveston came in around $17,000. The Shriners Baseball Classic has caught the interest of Shriners International, which had representatives on hand to observe and assist Dustin. For some this would be intimidating, but for Dustin it is a part of achieving success. “It’s all about networking and taking the skills learned in the classroom to make events happen,” he says. With its proximity to Houston and the reputation its sport management students have built, Texas A&M is the perfect place for students to establish contacts and get involved.

Dustin Johnson (left) oversees the Shriners Baseball Classic, which is open to baseball and softball teams from the Waco area.

“I think there’s a benefit to being in College Station,” Dustin says. “There are so many opportunities to be involved with the university.” In the future, Dustin hopes to spread the baseball tournament to all 194 Shriners chapters across the country. He’d like to include concerts and other entertainment to make it a family event. “I have some ideas for larger events, especially at Major League Baseball stadiums,” he says. “My goal one day is to be able to play the game at Minute Maid Park.”


Never Stop Moving Instructional Assistant Professor Teri Wenzel challenges her students to meet fitness goals Strength training, boot camp, swimming and sports conditioning—Teri Wenzel, instructional assistant professor, teaches them all. Teri’s commitment to staying fit goes back to her time in the military. She served in the Army for 10 years and was a member of the National Guard marathon team. She also competed in marathons and military pentathlons, consisting of shooting competitions, an orientation course and land and water obstacle course.

Whether training in jiu jitsu (bottom left, far left) or taking on an obstacle course (bottom right, in mid air), Teri Wenzel knows the value of physical fitness.

“I would train for the pentathlon yearround,” Teri says. “I would spend a lot of time on the track.” Teri also trained and competed on the Texas National Guard Marathon Team and United States Military Pentathlon Team (CIOR), all while serving as a full time faculty in the Physical Education Activity Program (PEAP). Like many PEAP instructors, Teri can be called on to teach a wide range of classes. She’s learned that she needs to adjust her approach before each class, such as when she teaches self-defense and yoga courses back to back. “It’s such a contrast,” Teri says. “I really have to chill out before my yoga class and then hype up before my self-defense class.”


Teri believes that as she continues to learn and becomes a better teacher, her students will have a better class experience. In an effort to extend her training, Teri attends Brazilian Jiu Jitsu courses locally. She hopes to eventually offer a similar class for students. She especially loves inspiring students who for whatever reason have never worked out before.

“I tell the ones who have never been fit that they are my babies, she says. “I want them to be here, be fit and enjoy this.” Teri explains it’s all about enjoying the work, being enthusiastic and believing in what you do. It’s a belief that she carries in her life—and in her classes—to move and stay active. “Find something you can do. And do it again. Just start,” she says.


Why not enjoy the quality education that comes with being enrolled at Texas A&M, but in the convenience of an online, flexible community? Be a part of the College of Education and Human Development online community and see for yourself.


Programs Offered:

• Bilingual Education • Curriculum & Instruction • Health Education • Human Resource Development • K-12 Educational Administration • Special Education Doctorate • Curriculum & Instruction Certification/Training • Accelerate Online • Applied Behavior Analysis • Bilingual/ESL Prep Course • Virtual Instructor Program

Learn more:


Breaking the Glass Ceiling Senior Professor Danny Ballard reflects on 26 years of distinguished service to the department


“My blood, even though it is red as a Houston Cougar, is now Aggie maroon.” Teacher. Researcher. Writer. Trailblazer. In her 26 years of service to the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Danny Ballard’s accomplishments are many. And now she has decided to begin life’s second chapter, retiring from Texas A&M University. With a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Houston, Danny started her career in teaching public school in Pasadena, Texas. She focused on teaching students how to improve their health and well-being. “Families were moving in and out of the area, and those kids sometimes were sleep deprived or not fed,” says Danny, senior professor of health education. “Their well-being concerned me, and that’s what I wanted to deal with most in education.” Danny returned to school, earning a master’s in health education from the University of Houston and a doctorate in higher education/health education from Oklahoma State University. She joined the department in 1985 as an assistant professor, a role that kept her busy. “When you came in as an assistant professor, you taught 12 hours a semester and six hours in the summer,” Danny says. “You taught all year long.”

She has led in service as well. Danny served as president of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and president of Southern District AAHPERD. The American Association for Health Education and the American School Health Association both have named her a fellow. Danny has earned many honors, but she views the Emma Gibbons Legacy Award—the highest recognition given to a person in the Department of Health and Kinesiology—as her most rewarding. “I hope that we have done some great things, and I hope I’ve supported the health faculty to be successful,” Danny says. She will remain with health and kinesiology after retirement in a smaller role, working on a fifth edition of her textbook, Contemporary Women’s Health: Issues for Today and the Future, and mentoring graduate students. A bigger role will be in the job of grandmother to seven-year-old Braden and six-year-old Brynn. “I have loved my job here, and the people I work with are just incredible,” Danny says. “Seeing good people doing good things is a real plus in this job.”

Her emphasis later moved to women’s health issues. Danny became one of the department’s first female full professors and later assumed leadership of the Division of Health Education, a position she’s held for the last four years.


Hitting the Green Former student Julia Boland talks about her college experience and helping Texas A&M achieve championship glory


“My degree taught me so much and it gave me an understanding on how to think through scientific problems.” Where are you originally from? I grew up in the country music capital of Australia, Tamworth NSW. Ironically, moving to Texas made me listen and appreciate country music.

How did you go about choosing Texas A&M University? I came to Texas A&M due to a chance meeting with a soon to be teammate, Ashley Freeman. Having finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney, I was traveling throughout the States playing amateur golf. When I found out I had a year’s golfing eligibility, I jumped at the opportunity to play college sports and get my master’s degree.

What was your degree in? My degree was a Master of Science in kinesiology, with an emphasis in clinical exercise physiology. Or simply, a master’s degree in sport science.

as a team and I won 3 individual titles. My coaching experience was capped off with the national championships here in Aggieland. It was an honor to coach young women who inevitably taught me more than I could ever have hoped to teach them. From personal experience I know that the first few years of school for anyone is tough, so it was cool to be there and watch and help where possible. Texas A&M golf is on the up and up. There will be plenty more championships in the coming years.

What do you wish to do next? My next step is turning pro. I’ve been blessed to play in many professional events as an amateur and I know how hard they work. But for some reason this seems like a challenge that I want to face. My parents, who are missionaries in Africa, face challenges that to me seem really hard, but each time they figure out a new way of creating something they need when supplies are low. It’s the same for me.

Julia Boland (above) shows off her Aggie pride wherever she goes.

Why did you decide to be a kinesiology major?

What do you consider your proudest I chose this route because I love sports. I truly moment as a student at Texas A&M? believe that even if people don’t personally care about their health or physical activity, it’s important to them. I feel blessed to have learned from the professors at A&M who are some of the leaders in the field.

Tell us about your time on the TAMU Golf Team. Being on a sporting team is hard work; long hours, gym sessions and then add school on top. But it was all the more enjoyable graduating and winning tournaments knowing that my team had worked so hard to get in that position. We won 4 tournaments

My proudest time here was definitely graduating. I am a very proud member of the Aggie family now and walking across the stage was really emotional. I think you get about 3 seconds between people walking, and it is a hundred percent worth the hard work! I remember when I received my Big 12 championship ring. That was pretty cool, but I don’t think I have even worn it since getting my Aggie ring! I have traveled since receiving it, and it’s pretty cool to see fellow Aggies giving you a “Gig’em” in an airport. I can’t wait to be home in Australia and randomly meet up with an Aggie!


Keeper of the Spirit Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez ‘79 returns to Aggieland to lead the Corps of Cadets


“If I can’t be commanding soldiers, this is the next best thing.” They say you can’t go home again—but don’t tell that to Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez Jr. ’79 (Ret.), commandant of Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets. His father, a Korean War veteran, influenced the Houston native to come to Aggieland. The elder Ramirez served under a platoon leader who went to Texas A&M. “My parents didn’t go to college. My dad always told me that Texas A&M produced Lt. Marby Cain ’50, and if I decided to go there, it was OK by him,” Ramirez says. While Ramirez chose to attend Texas A&M, he admits to some culture shock when he started as a cadet. “I wanted to join the Aggie Band,” Ramirez says. “I knew nothing about the Corps and military lifestyle. I had hair down to my shoulders.” Ramirez received his bachelor’s degree in physical education, planning to become a physical therapist. However, after receiving an Army ROTC scholarship, he decided to wait until after his four-year commitment to continue to his education. He enjoyed serving in the Army, and four years became 31. Ramirez credits his time in Aggieland for serving him well in the military. “I had a good foundation in what being a follower and a leader was about,” he says. “Texas A&M did a lot to prepare me for my life as a military leader.”

among women and students of color. “The university is 50 percent female; the Corps is 11 percent female,” he says. “I want to make the Corps more reflective of our state and nation.” Ramirez also will tackle the misbelief that serving in the Corps of Cadets means a student must enter the armed forces. “Right now we commission 47 percent of our upperclassmen. I would love to see that at 50 percent, but you can get the Corps experience without committing to the military,” Ramirez says. Like many former students from the department, Ramirez believes that his time here cemented the role of physical fitness in good health.

The Corps of Cadets are often called the “Keepers of the Spirit.” Many of Texas A&M’s traditions, including Midnight Yell, Aggie Muster and Silver Taps, grew out of the Corps.

“One of the things I’ve learned at Texas A&M is being fit carries over in a lot of ways and I maintained that in the military,” Ramirez says. Having retired from the Army in January, the veteran considers his role as commandant a dream come true. “To be back here at the Corps of Cadets, influencing young men and women, there’s nothing more rewarding than being back at Texas A&M,” he says.

As commandant, Ramirez has several goals for the Corps, including raising academic scores, even though Corps members tend to have a higher GPR than the general student population. He aims to increase retention and recruiting efforts, particularly


Team Challenge ChallengeWorks shows organizations how to unleash their potential through teamwork


Could your organization use a little adventure and camaraderie? ChallengeWorks, a program designed for team building and offered through the Department of Health and Kinesiology, has a challenge course located just three miles from the main Texas A&M University campus. Bob Gantt is the coordinator. While programs can be tailored for a group, a typical day at the course starts with icebreaker activities for participants to get to know each other outside of their normal roles. Then they are divided into smaller groups with a facilitator to engage in “low element” activities. These activities are designed to make a group work together as a team to problem solve. Activities include jumping rope as a group, walking on bandanas across an area while not touching the ground and other exercises.

While participation in the high elements is optional, most decide to give them a try. This part of the day is about participants’ personal goals and trying something new or that they never thought they could do. By the end of the day, groups discover strategies for making their organization run more efficiently. ChallengeWorks offers many options for different groups depending on their needs, including holding activities off-site. It is a year-round program and open any day of the week, even during the holidays. “If a group is interested in coming out to the course, we usually can find somebody to work in their timeframe,” Bob says.

ChallengeWorks coordinator Bob Gantt (above) is especially proud of the new climbing tower (left) built at the site last year.

“All the activities are focused around working as a team,” Bob says. “Communication, planning and leadership are all involved to pull that team together to solve a problem.” After completing an activity, the group talks about the challenges, their individual styles and how these relate to their interaction in their student groups or at the office. Later, group members can choose to participate in “high element” exercises. These range from jumping off a pole toward a trapeze to a “rainbow serpent,” where participants dive head first into a giant net similar to a large basketball hoop. The newest addition to the challenge course is a climbing tower installed last year. At 50 feet high, it is one of the tallest towers of its kind in the state. It also offers a unique view of the facility and area. “Being 20 feet above the tree line, you get to the top, look down and see the tops of the trees below,” Bob says.

To learn more about ChallengeWorks and how it can benefit your business or organization, visit:


From Internship to Dream Job Hannah Matthews uses classroom experiences to begin her career in sports Internships are about more than making copies and brewing coffee. They serve as a springboard into the real world of business. Former sport managment major Hannah Matthews ’10 knows this firsthand, landing an internship with the Fiesta Bowl organization after she graduated last August. “I knew I was interested in sports and considered doing marketing in the business school, but looking into sport management I realized it was a better fit for what I wanted to do,” Hannah says.

Hannah Matthews spent time working at the BCS National Championship and Fiesta Bowl in Arizona.

Internships in today’s market have changed. Gone are the days of filing and sorting. Today, interns are responsible for major events and given responsibilities once reserved for paid staff. Hannah’s involvement extended to operations with the Fiesta Bowl, Insight Bowl and the BCS National Championship. The Fiesta Bowl organization also hosts more than 40 community events throughout the year. “I worked in event operations,” Hannah says. “I helped with the Northern Arizona University Volleyball Tournament in September and the Million Dollar Holein-One golf event in November. I also ended up being in charge of over 2,000 participants and 400 volunteers in the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Hannah learned about working with caterers and vendors, and holding games for kids. “Even with the VIP party for the parade, they tell you that this is your event and here’s your budget,” Hannah says. “They trust you to take on a lot and not have to look over your shoulder all the time.” On game days, her department was in charge of pregame events, including


“College Football’s Biggest Party,” a massive pregame tailgate for the Fiesta Bowl and BCS National Championship. Over 21,000 tickets were sold for the event, and Hannah was in charge of the VIP area, with more than 5,000 attendees. The work was hard, with long days, but Hannah believes it was worth it. “It’s hard because you have to come in and learn everything,” Hannah says. “But then I’ve learned so much and met so many people. It’s been an invaluable experience.” While interning, Hannah continued networking in hopes of finding a full-time position. Her Fiesta Bowl work got her noticed by the Toyota Center in Houston. “I literally did the interview in my car because I was out at the pregame site working,” Hannah says. After a phone interview and a final interview in Houston, she was offered a position with the Toyota Center. She is now working with the Houston Rockets (basketball), the Houston Aeros (hockey) and special events that are hosted at Toyota Center. Eventually Hannah wants to move into the sponsor activation world of sports, acquiring sponsorships for events and facilities and catering to the needs of those sponsors. For now, she’s excited about the decisions she’s made so far and is a proponent of the internship process. “I’ve applied for jobs that want years of experience, but because of my internships, they believe I can do it even though I just graduated six months ago,” Hannah says. “Plus, the interns I worked with are from all over the country, and now we are spreading to different areas. Those are connections I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

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HLKN On The Move - Fall 2011  

The Department of Health and Kinesiology (HLKN) at Texas A&M University is proud to present the second issue of On The Move Magazine, highli...

HLKN On The Move - Fall 2011  

The Department of Health and Kinesiology (HLKN) at Texas A&M University is proud to present the second issue of On The Move Magazine, highli...