Children & Youth with Disabilities Lab


Megan MacDonald, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research interests

Movement and physical activity are essential components in a healthy lifestyle for individuals at any age and ability. My research interests are related to how motor skills and physically active lifestyles improve the lives of children and youth with and without disabilities. I have a specific research interest in the movement skills of children with autism spectrum disorder including how to improve motor skills for children with autism and how motor skills interact with social communication skills.

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Kathleen McCarty, MA, CPT, CIFT

Ph.D. Candidate (4th year)

Kathy is a first-generation college graduate and Doctoral Candidate in kinesiology and adapted physical activity at Oregon State University. Her dissertation work is focused on equity and access in collegiate sports offerings for students with disabilities and supports efforts to create a national, Title IX-mirroring policy for disability. Kathy is also a Health Policy Research Scholar with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where she is learning to bring critical and intersectional lenses to her work and life, towards social and policy change. Outside of work, Kathy represented the USA on the 2016-2017 US Ladies Rink Hockey team during the World Roller Games in China and plays roller derby under the name Samwise Banshee.

Ming-Chih (Darren) Sung, M.Ed

Ph.D. Student (3rd year)

Ming-Chih (Darren) is a doctoral student in Kinesiology with the option in Adapted Physical Activity. He obtained his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Physical Education from National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan. His Master's thesis utilized event-related potentials (ERP), an assessment of neuroelectrical brain signals, to measure the influence of exercise intervention on executive function in children with ASD. His current research interests primarily focus on the effects of physical activity intervention on motor skills and executive function in people with and without disabilities, as well as the relationship between motor skills and executive function over child development.

Nicole Fiscella, MS

Ph.D. Student (3rd Year)

Nicole is a third-year doctoral student in Kinesiology with an option in adapted physical activity. In addition to obtaining her Ph.D., she is also pursuing a Master’s in Public Health: Health Promotion Health Behavior. She earned her Master’s at James Madison University where she completed her thesis on the enjoyment, perceived exertion, and actual exertion of exercise in children with ASD. Her current research interest includes the effects of physical activity interventions on on-task behavior among children with ASD and promoting community based physical activity programs for individuals with disabilities. She currently serves and the coordinator for OSU’s IMPACT program. Outside of classes she stays active taking walks with her dog Ollie and playing soccer and disc golf.

Willie Chun Wai Leung, MS

Ph.D. Student (4th year)

Willie earned his Master’s in Kinesiology with the option in Adapted Physical Activity and Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Oregon State University. His research interests primarily focus on the physical activity measurements and assessments for individuals with and without disabilities. His other research interests included examination of consumer-oriented wearable physical activity trackers, augmented reality games and physical activity levels, fitness testing, and gamification in increasing physical activity levels.

Courtney Jost, MPH

Ph.D. Student (1st year)

Courtney is a first-year doctoral student in Public Health (concentration: Global Health) with an option in Adapted Physical Activity. She earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from Oregon State University where she conducted research to examine community resources for persons with and without disabilities in rural Botswana. Her current research interests primarily focus on the global dimensions of disability and the effects of social and physical interventions on inclusion practices. Beyond the classroom, Courtney acts as a Volunteer Assistant Coach with the track and field team here at OSU.