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 the current president of the American Kinesiology Association. Smith is a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology and serves on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition Science Board. Contact Dr. Smith at


Danielle M. Johnson, M.S.

DJ is a third-year Ph.D. student interested in physical activity motivation. Specifically, she studies how peer relationships and individual self-perceptions shape physical activity experiences during adolescence, as well as the implications of these experiences for physical activity in adulthood. Her master’s research examined perceived variety and preference for experience seeking in predicting current motivation for exercise as well as future exercise intentions. She currently serves as a research assistant and teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact DJ at

Justin T. Worley, M.S.

Justin is a second-year PhD. student interested in the psychosocial aspects of sport and physical activity. Specifically, he is interested in group dynamics and how peer relationships influence social and motivational processes within the sport environment. His master's research explored the mediating role of social identity on the relationship between peer leadership and cohesion in collegiate athletes. Justin serves as a research assistant and teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Justin at

Liam O'Neil, M.S.

Liam is a first year Ph.D. student with primary research interests of commitment, motivation, and self-discrepancy beliefs in sport. Specifically, he is interested in how these psychological processes can help explain and understand individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in sport. His master’s thesis focused on the interaction between collegiate student-athletes’ distinct commitments to school and sport. Liam is a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. He also currently serves as Junior Associate Editor of the Journal for Advancing Sport Psychology in Research (JASPR). Contact Liam at


Jennie Gottardo
Hannah Miller
Brian Haynes
Amanda Piotrowski
Skye Hydel
Annika Linzmeier


Tyler S. Harris

Olufemi A. Oluyedun

Kathleen T. Mellano

Christine E. Pacewicz

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.