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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Health and Physical Education Master’s Student Wins Prestigious National Award

By Amy Kurfist

Amanda Yessick, a master's student in the health and physical education program in the Darden College of Education, recently received the Adapted PE/Activity Graduate Student of the Year Award at the SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) America National Convention and Expo on March 22 in Nashville, Tenn.

SHAPE is the largest member-based organization for health and physical education professionals in the United States

Yessick was selected by the conference committee as the top master's level student in the country in her field based on criteria including engagement in the field, publications and community service.

"I am extremely honored to receive this prestigious award" Yessick said. "I appreciate the opportunity to represent ODU's HPE program on a national level, and I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Justin Haegele for his encouragement and motivation throughout my time here at ODU."

During the National Convention and Expo, Haegele, assistant professor of human movement sciences; Xihe Zhu, associate professor of human movement sciences; and two doctoral students, T. Nicole Kirk and Summer Davis, presented their research at the conference. Conference sessions included both poster and oral presentations related to participation in physical education. The research presented addressed varying populations, including typically developing children and youth with disabilities.

"Participating at SHAPE helps show how we are emerging as an important HPE program at the national level," Haegele said. "Even though we are a small program, we had a great representation at the convention, and that is indicative of our commitment to the field."

In addition to Yessick, ODU had two other award recipients at the convention. Senior Karen Simonic received the Undergraduate Major of the Year Award for Old Dominion University. Simonic was selected by the ODU nomination committee based on her exemplary GPA and engagement in the HPE major. Haegele received the Mabel Lee Award, which recognizes younger members who have demonstrated outstanding potential in scholarship, teaching and/or professional leadership.

"I am incredibly proud of the HPE program's participation at the SHAPE America Conference," said Lynn Ridinger, department chair for human movement sciences. "Our outstanding faculty and students did an exceptional job representing Old Dominion University and the Darden College of Education on a national stage."

One of six academic departments within the Darden College of Education, human movement sciences offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in exercise science, health and physical education, sport management and park, recreation and tourism studies. To learn more about the academic programs visit the Department of Human Movement Sciences website.