Feltz to be honored as Distinguished Scholar

May 28, 2015

University Distinguished Professor Deb Feltz will be honored with the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity’s (NASPSPA) Distinguished Scholar Award. The award is given to scholars at least 25 years post-doctorate who have a distinguished record of scholarship, reflected in sustained and high-quality contributions that meaningfully impact knowledge in the recipient’s field of study.

Feltz, who has been at MSU since 1980, holds many accomplishments and accolades to her credit. In her career, Feltz has, among many other honors, been inducted into the National Academy of Kinesiology (1992), served as the chair of the Department of Kinesiology (1989-2012), served as president of NASPSPA (2007-08), was named a Michigan State University Distinguished Professor (2011) and has mentored 39—and counting—doctoral students.

She owes it all to a few simple principles: “Having goals, remaining focused in those goals and being passionate about them,” as well as an early nod to her success from NASPSPA, which is nearing its 50th anniversary. In 1985, Feltz received the Early Career Distinguished Scholar Award from the organization, which recognized the early and outstanding achievements in her career. It was a stepping stone to everything that came next. “I saw the award as a sort of promise—that I needed to go out and continue to ask questions and perform high-quality research, and I wanted to hold true to that promise.”

She may have also started a legacy; among the doctoral students she has mentored, two have also received awards from the Early Career Distinguished Scholar Awards from NASPSPA: Sion Beilock in 2008 and Nicholas Myers in 2013.

At Michigan State, Feltz’s work ethic is heralded among her peers, including Al Smith, current chair of the Department of Kinesiology. “Deb is incredibly focused. She has been able to stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant through her years of research—setting the times, not staying with them,” he said. “She has had the foresight to ask the right questions, and the willingness to jump into the proverbial deep end to answer them.”

The passion and the focus continues for Feltz. She is currently teaming with NASA to help astronauts exercise more in space and is working on a walking app with one of her doctoral students that incorporates a virtual partner to help walkers keep up their pace.

Feltz will be honored at the annual NASPSPA conference alongside Larry Brawley of the University of Saskatchewan as the 21st and 22nd recipients of the award.

For more information on NASPSA and the Distinguished Scholar Award, click here.