I am a doctoral student in the Teaching and Curriculum in Physical Education program. I have always believed in the importance of social justice work and, as such, my area of professional interest is on critical issues related to inequity within Physical Education, framed by theories of Feminist Postructuralism and Critical Race Theory. My dissertation research is exploring the experiences of ethnic minority female PE teachers from a critical perspective through narrative inquiry, life history, and visual methodology. I have been teaching Physical Education for 9 years and plan to become a teacher-educator after completing my degree.
At AERA 2016, Mara, received the Lawrence F. Locke Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Paper from the Research on Learning and Instruction in Physical Education special interest group. Simon, a physical education teacher at New York City’s Trevor Day School, titled her paper “Singled out because of skin color...”: Exploring ethnic-minority female teachers’ embodiment in physical education.
As a doctoral student in Movement Sciences, my research focuses on the influence of media and how it affects the attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of individuals with regards to physical activity. In 2010, I was a recipient of the Fred Rogers Fellowship in Media and Child Health, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. My goal is to build a career exploring alternative ways in which the media can help facilitate physical activity behavior changes among various populations. Specifically, I study creatively driven content that addresses social and environmental constructs known to influence physical activity behavior through a combination of quantitative and qualitative research tactics.
My background in Nutrition and Dietetics (B.S.) and Applied Physiology (M.A.) offered me a one-sided scientific approach to the way health and fitness is constructed in society. However, as a personal trainer, student, and just someone who loves to be active, I always felt the way we learn about exercise and health, through formal classroom instruction, media, curricula, and policy, is too narrow to truly make a difference in people’s lives. This is where sociocultural issues come into play as this area opens up possibilities within the world of physical activity. My interest, as a doctoral student, is in the way young people take up, negotiate, and resist the dominant messages surrounding the ‘obesity epidemic’. I believe we need to uncover the many complexities behind the way obesity, health, and fitness are objectively labeled and defined. It is important to understand that being physically active and ‘fit’ can have multiple meanings that go beyond body shape and size.
My research focus, as a PhD student, will be on promoting physical activity and developing healthy body image for female adolescents within a school-based physical education curriculum. My past research involved both quantitative and quantitative work. At University of California, San Francisco, I worked on a physical activity study for pregnant women and mothers using mobile technology. I also helped investigate cultural discourse and perspectives of girls-only skateboard groups in the Bay Area with faculty members from California State University, East Bay. Due to these experiences, I plan to continue using both quantitative and qualitative research methods in my research at Teachers College, Columbia University.
As a Caribbean-American, born and raised in New York, I have had a lifelong passion to better myself, and the community around me. It is this passion that led me to join the United States Coast guard, and use my experience as a competitive swimmer to teach swimming from a holistic approach in urban communities. A Master’s Degree from Adelphi University reinforced my interest in community sports-based youth development. It is my goal, as a doctoral student, to make a difference, working with young people through sports and swimming. Through my research, using Hellison’s Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Model, I hope to show that physical education and sports is more than skill acquisition. It is about making positive and long lasting social change among minority youth and their communities.
My experience, as a Health and Physical Education teacher in a suburban high school in central New Jersey, helped me develop a passion for teaching students with disabilities in an inclusive setting. I spent four years working with students with various disabilities, as a teacher, and an assistant coach for Special Olympics. I have also spent the past five summers working at the Teachers College, Center for Cerebral Palsy Research. These experiences, along with my background in Health and Exercise Science (B.S.) and Motor Learning (M.A.), reinforced my passion to develop research focused on students with disabilities. It is my aim, as a doctoral student, to understand the ways in which young people with disabilities experience and view their bodies in a school context. As a teacher and someone who truly values the importance of education, I hope this research will assist pedagogy and curriculum development to enhance young people’s inclusion in physical education practices.
I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where I received a BFA from the University of Michigan. Since 1985, I have lived and worked in New York City as a freelance photographer, shooting for a long list of magazines and, for five years, at the New York Times. My experience and passion as a lifelong cyclist led me to become an instructor for Bike New York, where I teach safe and legal riding to people of all ages. That, along with my love of sport and activity, led me to Teachers College to purse a Master’s Degree in Biobehavioral Sciences. I am planning to become a Physical Education Teacher.
As a life-long athlete, critical thinker, freestyle soccer performer, and music lover, it seems only fitting that sociocultural issues in physical activity is the place for me. The complexities of this discipline will allow me, as a Master’s Student, to deepen my understanding and critique of how gender, race, and socioeconomic status intersect and are articulated in physical culture. My work, as a youth soccer program director and teacher in a progressive public school (k-5), has only enhanced my position as an advocate for children who occupy spaces of marginality, through gender, race, or class. My goal, at Teachers College, is to develop a curriculum that critiques gender order in sport, and to bring about a humanistic revolution in the way sport and PE are taught to future generations.