Psychosocial Physical Activity Laboratory

William Massey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Massey’s line of research focuses on the role of sport, play, and physical activity on social development for children, with a focus on children in low-resource communities. His current line of work examines how the quality of elementary school recess contributes to social, emotional, and behavioral health. See full profile



Janelle Thalken

Fifth year Ph.D. candidate, Kinesiology, Psychosocial concentration, Adapted Physical Activity option

Janelle is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in Kinesiology. She earned a MPH in Epidemiology at Oregon State University, and a M.S. in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Northern Colorado, with a concentration in the Social Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. Additionally, she received a B.S. in Kinesiology at Arizona State University. Janelle is currently a Doctoral Scholar through the Multi-Institution Adapted Physical Activity Mentorship Consortium, funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Her research interests are primarily focused around promoting children’s social development through physical activity and play, especially among children with disabilities. Janelle’s current research is focused around examining school recess experiences and opportunities for children with disabilities.


Deanna Perez

Fourth year PhD candidate, Kinesiology, Psychosocial concentration

Deanna is a fourth-year PhD candidate in Kinesiology. She has a BA in psychology from UCLA and an EdM in counseling with an emphasis in sport psychology from Boston University. She has coordinated physical activities for Jackson Street Youth Services. She helps conduct research on recess quality. Deanna is interested in how youth sports can facilitate a sense of purpose.


Maya Trajkovski

Second year PhD student, Kinesiology, Psychosocial concentration

Maya is a second-year doctoral student in the Kinesiology program with a psychosocial focus. Originally from Canada, Maya moved to Tampa, Florida to obtain a BA in Psychology from the University of South Florida and then to California for her MA in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Chico State University.  Her research interests include self-compassion, gratitude, and their influence on creating change in health behaviors.


Nazli Ozkoca

Second year PhD student, Kinesiology, Psychosocial concentration

Nazli is a first-year Ph.D. student in Kinesiology with a psychosocial concentration. She has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Middle East Technical University. Her main research interests include developmental sports and exercise psychology and positive youth development.


Jim Arnold

First year PhD student, Kinesiology, Psychosocial concentration

Jim is a first-year doctoral student in Kinesiology with a psychosocial concentration. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in clinical psychology with a minor in health psychology at George Mason University. He is a first-generation college student and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Jim’s research and career interests focus on understanding how sporting, coaching and team cultures, predominantly within schools and youth organizations, influence athlete well-being and cross-context success.


Michael Bennett

First year PhD student, Kinesiology

Michael is a first-year doctoral student in Kinesiology. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a Bachelor’s degree in Education with an emphasis on Health and Physical Education from Oregon State University. He also received his Master’s of Education degree in Physical Education and Health from the University of Arkansas. He was a K-12 health and physical education teacher and coach prior to starting his Ph.D program. His research interests are focused on school policies around health and physical education.


Sara Tobias

First year masters student, Kinesiology, Psychosocial concentration

Sara is a first-year master’s student in Kinesiology, with a psychosocial focus. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College where she double majored in Psychology and Anthropology. Sara is particularly interested in the role of physical activity in the social/emotional development of young girls and the promotion of accessible spaces for such activity.

PhD Alum

  • Alex Szarabajko, PhD


  • Emmanuel Ughelu, MS
  • Marissa Lovell, MPH
  • Chad Mann, MPH
  • Laura Neilson, MPH

B.S. Alum

  • Alicia Korn, B.S.
  • Grant Thesing, B.S.
  • Kyle Yost, B.S.
  • Julianne Laurusso, B.S.
  • Paige Bishman, B.S.
  • Tyger Gruber, B.S.
  • Erin Zinkula, B.S.
  • Hallie Baker, B.S.
  • Sydney Giles, B.S.