Alan L. Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Smith is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Kinesiology at MSU. His research addresses the link of sport and physical activity involvement with young people's psychological and social functioning. Smith is widely known for his research on peer relationships in the physical activity domain (e.g., sport, physical education) and the motivational implications of these relationships for children and adolescents. Recent work funded by the National Institute of Mental Health examined physical activity as a means of ameliorating symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in young children. This work addressed behavioral, cognitive, motor, and social functioning of participants and involved interdisciplinary collaboration with experts in neuroscience, motor control, and biobehavioral and clinical psychology. Smith's recent publications appear in outlets such as Human Movement Science,International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Attention Disorders, Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, and others. He has served as associate editor of the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology and on the editorial boards of Child Development, International Journal of Sport Psychology, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Kinesiology Review, and Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. He is past-president of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity and is a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology. Contact Dr. Smith at



Olufemi A. Oluyedun, M.S.

Olufemi is a fourth-year Ph.D. student with primary research interests in the areas of youth development, peer relationships, self-perceptions, and motivation. Specifically, he studies how peer relationships influence self-presentational processes among competitive youth sport athletes. Femi serves as a teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Femi at

Kathleen T. Mellano, M.S.

Kathleen is a third-year Ph.D. student interested in the psychosocial aspects of physical activity. Her current work explores how peers shape the motivational climate on adolescent sport teams and, in turn, how this ties to motivational markers such as enjoyment and commitment as well as maladaptive states such as burnout. Her master's research examined the role of non-autonomy supportive coaches and their influence on athletes' perceived levels of burnout throughout the competitive season. She serves as a research assistant and teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Kathleen at

Christine E. Pacewicz, M.A.

Chrissy is a third-year Ph.D. student interested in the psychosocial aspects of physical activity. Specifically, she studies psychological and social contributors to athlete burnout as well as the progression of burnout and its effects on sport and physical activity participation. Her master's research explored the mediating role of coping tendencies on the relationship between perfectionism and burnout in collegiate athletes. She serves as a research assistant and teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Chrissy at

Tyler S. Harris, M.S.

Tyler is a second-year Ph.D. student interested in physical activity motivation. Specifically, he is interested in how dispositional attention preferences tie to physical activity attitudes and behavior. Tyler serves as a teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology and a research assistant for a project funded by the International Olympic Committee Anti-Doping Research Grant program. Contact Tyler at


Alexa Applefield
6 semesters
Kelsie Schwartz
6 semesters
Deborah Johnson
1 semester
Jennie Feldpausch
1 semester


Anthony G. Delli Paoli

Jordan A. Blazo

Travis E. Dorsch

J.D. Defreese

Stacey A. Gaines

Sarah Ullrich-French

Anne E. Cox

Kimberly S. Hurley


Obtaining research experience as an undergraduate student in the SiMPL can offer unique learning opportunities and strengthen connections with others interested in kinesiology-related careers and working with young people. Our undergraduate research assistants help with literature reviews, data collection and management, data analysis and preparation of scientific presentations. They work closely with graduate students and Dr. Smith and are encouraged to participate over multiple semesters. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Dr. Smith or phone the lab at 517-353-6497.

Graduate students in the SiMPL receive intensive research training, teaching opportunities, and other professional experiences that provide the foundation for independent scholarly work in sport and exercise psychology. Dr. Smith accepts one to two new graduate students per year. Successful applicants typically initiate communication with Dr. Smith well in advance of the application period, have interests that closely align with the SiMPL research agenda, and possess strong academic and research profiles. Please contact Dr. Smith if you have interest in pursuing graduate work with us.