2017-2018 Kinesiology Student Award Winners

Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners of the Kinesiology Scholar and Service Awards. We received very strong applications for both awards, and are pleased to announce the following winners:

For the Scholar Awards our Gold Medal winner was Rachel Christensen, the Silver Medal winner was Charlette Wiggins-Gurich, and the Bronze Medal was awarded to Jacob Manriquez.

For the Service Awards our Gold Medal winner was Cory Low, the Silver Medal winner was Pooja Pal, and the Bronze Medal was awarded to Austin Shen.

In addition to this award Rachel Christensen was a local winner of the American Kinesiology Association winner, and won Honorable Mention for the National Undergraduate Scholar Award! This is the first time that a San José State University student has been recognized at this level.

We want to express my heartfelt congratulations to all our students who are graduating. I hope that you have the opportunity to recognize our Scholar and Service Award winners. They have all made considerable contributions to the field of Kinesiology, demonstrated commitment to their studies, and shown dedication to working in the community.

Service Award

Award Winner

Cory Low Gold – Cory Low
 Pooja Pal Silver – Pooja Pal
 Austin Shen Bronze – Austin Shen

Scholar Award

Award Winner

 Rachel C Gold – Rachel Christensen



 Charlette S Silver – Charlette Shy Wiggins-Gurich
Jacob M Bronze – Jacob Manriquez

American Kinesiology Association Scholar Award Opportunities

The annual AKA Scholar Awards honor a select number of students from member departments, recommended by department faculty, whose academic and leadership records are distinctive. The awards are intended to recognize and promote academic excellence, to further the professional competence and dedication of academically accomplished students and to promote kinesiology and its related fields. Awards are offered in four categories:

  • Undergraduate Scholar Award
  • Master’s Scholar Award
  • Doctoral Scholar Award
  • Graduate Writing Award

Member institutions may submit one nomination per category. Each student nominated by a college or university will be the designated Undergraduate Scholar, Master’s Scholar, Doctoral Scholar, or Graduate Writing Award recipient from their institution, pending final approval by the AKA Scholar Award committee. More information about the awards, including selection criteria, can be found on the AKA website  or by contacting the AKA Awards Committee Chairperson, Dr. Melinda Solmon. The deadline for nominations is March 2, 2015.

Awardees will receive a certificate and their photos will be published on the AKA website. Announcements of awards will be sent to chairs and deans of the students’ institutions soon after a decision is made (every effort is made to have certificates in time for your awards ceremonies).  The Awards Committee will begin the review process on March 2.

This year, in addition to the recognition of program-based awards for students at each institution, nominations will be considered for national awards. One winner will be chosen by the AKA awards committee for each category. National award recipients will receive a $250 gift certificate for Human Kinetics products.

These awards provide an excellent way to showcase the academic talents of undergraduate and graduate students in kinesiology and many member departments have taken advantage of this opportunity.  If you have not already done so, please consider nominating your students for this year’s awards.

Dr. Emily Wughalter Receives AAHPERD Highest Honor: The Luther Halsey Gulick Medal


Academic excellence and deep dedication to students, colleagues, and the field of kinesiology have been hallmarks of Dr. Emily H. Wughalter’s professional career.

Dr. Emily Wughalter

Dr. Emily Wughalter

A career that spans more than 3 decades of department, university, and community service, Dr. Wughalter’s demonstrates that which is best in the field of kinesiology and San Jose State University. Her accomplishments will be soon recognized at the national level with one of the highest honors that can be bestowed in the field of kinesiology: The Luther Halsey Gulick Medal.

Dr. Wughalter was named the recipient of the Luther Halsey Gulick Medal, which is given for long and distinguished service to one or more of the professions represented in the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD).  The Gulick Medal is the highest award given by AAHPERD, the largest professional organization serving health and physical education professionals. The award will be presented at the Hall of Fame Banquet at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel at the AAHPERD 129th annual National Convention & Expo in April 2014.

The honor not only reflects on Dr. Wughalter’s excellence in scholarship, service, and academics, but also shines a light on the SJSU Kinesiology Department as a whole.  Kinesiology Department Chair Dr. Shirley Reekie commented, “I think everyone in the department was delighted to hear of this well-deserved recognition for our colleague.”

A national leader in the broad field of kinesiology, she has been active in AAHPERD serving as the President of the AAHPERD Research Consortium, two-time member of the Board of Governors, and member and chair of countless committees for the Research Consortium and National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS). In recognition of her service to AAHPERD, she received the Mabel Lee Award in 1992, the Distinguished Service Award from the Research Consortium in 2004, the Honor Award from NAGWS in 2005, and the AAHPERD Honor Award in 2011.
She was inducted as a Fellow in the Research Consortium of AAHPERD in 1987.

Dr. Wughalter has held many service and leadership positions in AAHPERD, including two terms as a Board of Governors representative, Vice President of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, the President of the Research Consortium, and member of the Social Justice and Diversity Committee of AAHPERD.   Most recently she served as a member of the Visioning Committee for the unification of AAHPERD that will become the Society for Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America).

Luther Halsey

Luther Halsey Gulick

Dr. Wughalter has often served simultaneously on multiple boards to advance the fields of physical education and kinesiology. She has provided leadership in the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education (NAKHE) for which she received the NAKHE Distinguished Service Award in January 2014.

Mentorship has been a cornerstone of her career.  Dr. Theodore Butryn relayed, “I was fortunate enough to share an office with Emily during my first year as a professor at SJSU, and I saw firsthand, every day, her dedication to Kinesiology both at SJSU and nationally. In fact, her mentoring was key in beginning my own efforts to stay connected with national and international organizations. I would not be the teacher or scholar that I am today without Emily’s guidance.  She truly deserves this recognition, and it shows the strength and, dare I say, influence of our department.”

“As a junior faculty member, I am constantly inspired by her passion and energy in the classroom.  I am provided with daily examples of the laser focus she has for the Spartan mission,” noted Kinesiology lecturer Daniel Murphy.

A dedicated scholar and distinguished professional throughout her career, Dr. Wughalter currently teaches courses in the Department of Kinesiology and in the interdisciplinary Program in Human Factors and Ergonomics.  Dr. Wughalter is passionate about topics in motor learning research and scholarship, with a focus on aspects of practice that affect learning, memory, and performance of motor skills. She is committed to assisting students as they gain a critical perspective of scholarship, teaching the value of multidisciplinary approaches and interdisciplinary knowledge, and providing focus on application of knowledge as it relates to practice.

Although the focus of her scholarship has been in the field of motor learning and measurement, she has had a profound commitment to social justice and diversity

throughout her career.  She has been a strong advocate for girls and women in sport at the local and national levels, as evidenced in her work as a Past President of the Western Society for Physical Education of College Women.  Her sustained and significant leadership and commitment to girls and women in sport, and social justice and diversity issues is a vein that runs through all the work she does and often puts her on the margins of change.

AAPHERD officials noted that “She is recognized for her teaching expertise having been awarded the Outstanding Professor Award from San Jose State University, an honor bestowed by the President of the University who selects one each year from among a large tenure track faculty as well as the Outstanding Service Award and the Outstanding Professor Award for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.”

Dr. Wughalter completed her Doctor of Education degree at the University of Georgia.  Her scholarship is robust including 28 journal articles, a book, a book chapter, five book reviews, seven abstracts, and over 50 national, regional, state, and local presentations.

Please join the Department of Kinesiology, the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, and San José State University in congratulating Dr. Wughalter on this prestigious award.

Click here to read about Dr. Wughalter’s work in the Kinesiology Human Factors and Ergonomics Graduate Program or to connect with her, please go to her faculty page.  Read more about Dr. Wughalter and her accomplishments at the SJSU CASA blog.  More information about Luther Halsey Gulick can be found here and here.

About the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)



The vision of AAHPERD is “Healthy People – Physically Educated and Physically Active!” Headquartered in Reston, VA, 25 miles west of Washington, DC, AAHPERD is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, physical activity and school health —all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. Founded in 1885, its mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance and sport by providing its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. For more information, visit http://www.aahperd.org/.