Kinesiology Newsletter - Winter 2022

Introduction from the Chair


As I look back on the year of 2021, I once again turn to words written by another; this time it is those of William Ernest Henley: And yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid. The entire poem, Invictus, is a masterpiece of uncomplicated motivation to persevere in the face of adversity. But it is these lesser known lines that epitomize the character of the Kinesiology faculty, staff, and students as we fearlessly navigated the unforeseen circumstances of change that continue to impact our world. We have not only succeeded in simply surviving this second year of continued uncertainty – we have, individually and collectively, accumulated numerous successes.

“New” is not an unfamiliar word to Seattle University’s Kinesiology Department, and the past year continues to emphasize our collective need to innovate: new faculty, new staff, new mobile lab, new partnerships…new opportunities. One might even be able to say that for the Kinesiology Department, it is less ‘the new normal’ and more that ‘the new IS normal’.

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Welcome, New Faculty!!

The 2021-2022 academic year introduced two new faculty members, each with a very unique role to play within the university. For the first time in Seattle University history, full-time roles are occupying faculty and staff spaces. The opportunity to develop these positions has also provided a deeper relationship with the Athletics Department. Dr Casey Watkins, CSCS, has joined as a part-time instructor for our upper-level applied coursework AND as the strength and conditioning coach for women’s soccer, track and field, and rowing. Theresa Swanson, ATC, is our new internship coordinator for the undergraduate curriculum and shares responsibilities with the Sports Medicine Team as the athletic trainer for track and field and women’s swimming. With the development of these new positions, our undergraduate students are learning from educators who are also active practitioners.



Welcome New Staff!!

The Kinesiology Department made two new hires this summer and early fall, which has increased the quantity and quality of administrative support for the department. Julius Moss and Dena Ingraham have joined our team as program coordinator and administrative assistant, respectively. Their hard work continues to elevate our efforts to innovate. Julius and Dena also strengthen our connections to other departments: Julius is completing his Ed.D. within the Educational and Organizational Leadership program in the College of Education, while Dena has started her Master’s degree in Public Administration within the Institute of Public Service.


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Sean Machak and student on test bike

New Mobile Laboratory

Even though we were not physically on campus for the first half of 2021, the Kinesiology Department was quickly making moves to expand our infrastructure footprint. The mobile laboratory is an innovative solution to invest in our students and community without investing in real estate. Portable technology, particularly related to sport and exercise, has created a path forward in removing boundaries that limit our impact on human function and performance. The mobile lab emphasizes accessibility; it provides flexibility not only in how we research and educate, but also in how we connect with our community.  It is our model for the future of Kinesiology and a way of empowering the next generation to create societal impact through human movement.

Student deadlifting in front of Mobile LabTheresa Swanson and student inside mobile lab

Mobile Lab Open House

We celebrated the opening of the mobile lab on Tuesday, November 16. Lab supervisor, Sean Machak, graduate assistant for lab operations, Katy Andersen, and a team of undergraduate and graduate student led an enormous effort to create seven unique research experiences that utilized most of our new technology. Community supporters (on campus and in the greater Seattle area) were able to watch demonstrations on markerless motion capture, force insoles, and fine motor control while also actively participating in stations that examined forearm musculature via ultrasound and tested parameters of strength and power. We have some events coming up in the first half of 2022 that will put the ‘mobile’ in mobile lab – follow us on our social media pages and watch this space!

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New Partnerships

We continue to explore new and interesting relationships with partners around the greater Seattle community and beyond. Industry partners have helped broaden the ways we can engage our students and community members. Novel, Inc and its subsidiary Novel USA have been incredible industry partners this year, with a matching in-kind gift during our SU Gives campaign. Their support, in combination with the incredible support of our alumni, family and friends, helped us double the number of portable force technology we can offer to our students in class and during education outreach. Similar generosity from Sawbones, a Seattle-grown industry leader in anatomical education models, has expanded our students’ understanding of many structures within the human body.

Relationships with community partners have also strengthened in ways that profoundly support graduate and undergraduate student experience. In 2019, we began to work closely with Upower, a local non-profit organization that focuses on trauma-informed coaching to empower underserved youth. This year, we deepened that relationship to offer the Upower Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship provides a graduate student with the opportunity to work with Upower in creating the appropriate assessment toolkit for understanding just how effective their programs are. The Upower Fellowship may be the first of its kind, but the Kinesiology Department is looking to expand this series; if you know of a local business or organization who might be interested in establishing a fellowship, please let us know!

We are continuing to grow the number of community-engaged learning experiences being incorporated into the classroom. A newly developed course in Exercise and Mental Health will partner with Project Be Free, a non-profit organization that advocates for mental health resources for those affected by domestic violence. Students enrolled in the course will be responsible for developing the exercise program that will be used in a new youth/parent mentorship program, entitled Breaking Generational Cycles. Our freshman course in Health and Wellness will also take important steps in community engagement learning due to the deepening of relationships with Girls on the Run. Students will be charged with creating marketing plans to better engage families with Girls on the Run programming, and develop training sessions that they will lead. Our community partnerships continue to bring the learning out of the classroom and empower our students to be leaders through exercise.

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New Successes

Our department has recently discussed the idea that success looks different to everyone. While I believe that success must be individually determined, I think we can all agree that the Kinesiology Department faculty, staff, and students have achieved an abundance of success as we faced a 2021 that was fraught with challenges. Below are the many, many successful outcomes that we have been celebrating throughout this year.


  1. Dr Casey Watkins was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Sport and Exercise Science from Auckland University of Technology. Her thesis was entitled, Dose response and manipulation of plyometrics for improving sprint performance in semi-professional and professional rugby players
  2. Sean Machak received the Dean’s Award by the College of Arts and Sciences for his exceptional effort and dedication to the Kinesiology Department and Seattle University.
  3. Dr Brittany Heintz Walters was awarded the Community Engaged Learning Faculty Fellowship (2021-2022) by Seattle University Center for Community Engagement, the Winter Course Design Program Fellowship by Seattle University Center for Digital and Learning Innovation, a 2022 Summer Faculty Fellowship by Seattle University, and a Student Assistantship Award (2021-2022) by Seattle University College of Arts and Sciences.
  4. Graduate student Katy Andersen won second place in the Society for Neuroscience Science Sketch Award.
  5. The Kinesiology Department was awarded Silver Status as an Exercise is Medicine campus by American College of Sports Medicine. An extra bonus COVID Conqueror badge was also awarded to our Exercise is Medicine student club, advised by Dr Erica Rauff.


Accepted Publications

  1. Sean Machak, Dr Sarah Shultz and Dr Erica Rauff collaborated with current graduate student Augustine Herman and former department colleague Doug Berninger on a paper accepted in International Journal of Sport Science & Coaching (Using sport science data in collegiate athletics: Coaches’ Perspectives)
  2. Dr Nicole Wood had a paper accepted in Anticancer Research, entitled Moderate intensity endurance and resistance exercise attenuates cachexia is tumor-bearing mice.
  3. Dr Casey Watkins had a paper accepted in Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, entitled How low do you go? Dose response of horizontal single-leg drop jumps on sprint performance
  4. Dr Sarah Shultz co-authored papers accepted in Health Promotion International (Next Level Health: A holistic health and wellbeing program to empower New Zealand women) and Current Obesity Reports (Neuromusculoskeletal Health in Pediatric Obesity: Incorporating Evidence into Clinical Examination)

Published Articles

  1. Dr Sarah Shultz co-authored two published articles in Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy (Mini-trampoline jumping as an exercise intervention for post-menopausal women who experienced a stroke – A case report; Exercise interventions to improve pelvic floor muscle functioning in older women with urinary incontinence; a systematic review), as well as articles in Health Education & Behavior (Empowering women in the face of body ideals: A scoping review of health promotion programs) and Current Sports Medicine Reports (Helping children with obesity ‘move well’ to move more: An applied clinical review)
  2. Dr Casey Watkins authored two published articles in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Horizontal force velocity power profiling of rugby players: A cross-sectional analysis of competition-level and position-specific movement demands; Implementation and efficacy of plyometric training: Bridging the gap between practice and research). She co-authored two published articles in Physiology Reports (Temperate performance and metabolic adaptations following endurance training performed under environmental heat stress) and European Journal of Applied Physiology (Peak fat oxidation is positively associated with vastus lateralis CD36 content, fed-state exercise fat oxidation, and endurance performance in trained males)
  3. Dr Nicole Wood co-authored two published articles in The FASEB Journal (Endurance exercise abolishes cancer-mediated cardiac dysfunction and metabolic alterations) and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Exercise protects against cancer-induced gastrocnemius metabolic alterations)
  4. Dr Erica Rauff and SU alumnus Carolyn van der Meulen co-authored a paper in the Journal of American College Health (First Year Undergraduate Students: Depressed, Distressed, and Drained? The influence of depressive symptoms on psychological well-being and health behaviors)
  5. Dr Brittany Heintz Walters authored a published article in Journal of Neurophysiology (Age-related differences in pegboard tests: the role of eye movements, attention, and hand movements


  1. Dr Brittany Heintz Walters received the American Society of Biomechanics Junior Faculty Research Award for her project, Design and evaluation of a soft robot for hand rehabilitation
  2. Dr Sarah Shultz, on behalf of the Kinesiology Department, secured a community partnership grant (Upower graduate fellowship program)


  1. Graduate student Augustine Herman presented research at the AASP Northwest Regional Conference and the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport & Physical Activity. The research (Using sport science data in collegiate athletics: coaches’ perspectives) was co-authored by Dr Erica Rauff, Dr Sarah Shultz and Sean Machak.
  2. Dr Brittany Heintz Walters presented her research (Saccade amplitude, among other age-related differences in eye movements, is related to Archimedes spiral tracing performance in older adults) at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
  3. Dr Sarah Shultz, with assistance from graduate student Ashley Buck, presented an invited 90-minute tutorial (Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: How can we build database repositories to share the load and expand our research opportunities?) at the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics. She also co-authored poster presentations at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Thurston Arthritis Research Center Research Day and Obesity Week (Nutritional education needs in adults with osteoarthritis and obesity).

NKOTB Mobile Lab photo


Alumni Involvement

We want to hear what alumni are doing! If you want to share information about your current employment or education, or volunteer to get involved with the department, please contact us by email.

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In This Issue:

  • Introduction From the Chair 
  • Welcome
  • New Mobile Lab
  • New Partnerships
  • New Successes
  • Alumni Involvement