Dr. Danielle Burt was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2004 where her right leg was amputated. During her recovery, Dani was inspired to become a physical therapist so that she can help others who are going through a similar experience. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from San Diego State University in 2015 and is currently working at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, CA. She is honored and proud to work for the same hospital she had therapy at as a patient. Four years after her accident, amputee surfer Alcino “Pirata” Neto inspired her to try surfing. She is now a highly-respected U.S. Surf Champion. On June 19, 2016, she was crowned the 2016 U.S. Adaptive Surfing Champion in the adaptive stand division (2). She also competed for TEAM USA in the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) Adaptive World Surfing Championships, where she placed 1st among women and 16th overall in the standing division in 2015. Dani recently competed on December 11, 2016, where she placed 1st for women and 7th in overall.
Kirsten Cummings was born deaf, but that didn’t stop her from becoming one of the best women’s basketball players in the country. As the first deaf player to become a first-team All-American, Kirsten excelled on the top ranked Long Beach State team before enjoying 14 high performing years as a professional basketball player, displaying her talents worldwide in 6 countries, including the US.
After blazing the trail for other players with disabilities, Kirsten retired from professional basketball in 1999 and found hometown San Diego State the ideal place to take her love of sports and physical fitness in an exciting new direction. Thanks to Randi McKenzie’s exceptional mentorship and the teachings of Thom McKenzie and other notable professors, Kirsten graduated from San Diego State in 2002 with a Master’s Degree in Biomechanics.
With an SDSU Master’s Degree in hand, Kirsten soon discovered senior women’s basketball and her passion for senior sports became evident. Combining her lifelong love of basketball, sports, and fitness, Kirsten realized her mission was to help men and women extend their lives as athletes into their 80’s, 90’s, and beyond.
Kirsten is now Executive Director of the San Diego Senior Games Association, Founder/CEO of the National Senior Women’s Basketball Association, Co-Founder of the National Senior Athlete’s Association, and owner of Silver Swan Training, specializing in personal training for men and women over 50 years of age.
Still very involved in sports and fitness herself, Kirsten enjoys giving back by coaching dozens of senior women’s basketball players, helping her hometown San Diego teams take home GOLD and SILVER medals at the last 7 National Senior Games, and inspiring 50+ men and women nationwide to understand their bodies better and continue pursuing their athletic dreams – at any age!
Kathie Davis is the co-founder of IDEA Health and Fitness Association. Kathie is recognized as an authority on fitness and exercise-related topics and frequently contributes to news stories and research studies to educate our communities and the world. Upon graduation from SDSU with her degree in Physical Education, she embarked on a journey to pursue her passion and dedicate her life’s work to promoting healthy lifestyles. Together with her husband Peter Davis, Kathie co-founded IDEA in 1982. Her vision, creativity, and leadership led to the development of the largest annual international fitness event, the IDEA World Fitness Convention®, which brings together over 12,000 fitness professionals from 60 countries to learn, work hard and gain the tools they need to change millions of lives around the planet. Kathie is a key supporter and influencer of several national initiatives that contribute to conquering the global obesity epidemic including “National Physical Activity Plan Alliance” and “PHIT America” initiatives.
Dr. Steve Estes is a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Estes did his undergraduate and masters studies in kinesiology (both in sociocultural sport) at San Diego State University, and received the doctorate from The Ohio State University with an emphasis sports culture. After completing the doctorate, Dr. Estes taught at California State University – Fullerton, State University of New York – Cortland, East Carolina University, and Missouri Western State University before coming to Middle Tennessee State University. His administrative appointments include Director of the Center for Technology in Education at Cortland, Department Chair at East Carolina University and Middle Tennessee State University, and Dean of the College of Professional Studies at Missouri Western State University. He has also served twice as President of the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education, Faculty Senate Chair at SUNY Cortland, and as the keynote speaker at academic and professional conferences in his specialty areas.
Dr. Estes’ studies in kinesiology began his career as an athlete. He was a rower in college at San Diego State University, and trained and competed for United States National Rowing Teams through 1987. Career highlights include two national championships in the elite eight-oared shell, and seventh place at the 1982 World Rowing Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Dr. Estes’ research interests include the relationship of mind and body in sport and physical activity, philosophy of science in physical activity studies, postmodern sport, and the processes of leader development. He is an author or co-author of four textbooks in kinesiology and numerous articles on leadership in kinesiology and the military. Dr. Estes coordinated the Leadership Symposium at the Educator Visit for the ROTC Leader Training Course at Ft. Knox, Kentucky from 2009 through 2012, and he continues to study leader development processes in ROTC. His studies in military leadership led to a commission in the Tennessee State Guard, where he currently serves as the Public Affairs Officer, Headquarters, Headquarters Company in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Estes is married to Dr. Betty Block, also a professor of kinesiology at Texas A&M – Commerce. They have three daughters, Nan, Katherine, and Erin.
Liz is a Registered Dietitian (RD) specializing in sports nutrition for elite endurance athletes. She completed her undergraduate degree in dietetics and kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island from 2007-2011, where she was a member of the URI Rams sailing team. Liz was an active participant in the Energy Balance Laboratory (EBL) under Kathleen Melanson and also contributed to exercise science research studies conducted by “Doc” Manfredi and Matthew Delmonico. After graduating, Liz attended San Diego State University from 2011-2014 to pursue concurrent masters’ degrees in nutrition science and exercise physiology and began working with Team USA athletes and staff as a graduate assistant. Liz completed her dietetic internship through the University of Houston. She completed most of her supervised practice at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. After acquiring her RD credential in April 2014, Liz returned to the USOC as a consultant to the endurance sports leading up to and throughout the Rio 2016 Olympic games. Liz joined the staff of USRowing as their first sports dietitian in the Fall of 2016. She continues to consult with USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and US Sailing athletes.
Michelle Barrack Gardner
Dr. Michelle Barrack Gardner is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at California State University, Long Beach, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) specializing in nutrition for high school and collegiate cross-country and track & field runners. She has researched and published extensively on factors increasing the risk of low bone mineral density and bone stress injury in runners. Currently, Dr. Barrack is collaborating with sports medicine physicians at UCLA and Stanford University to evaluate the efficacy of nutrition education intervention, including a smart-phone application, “Run Fueled,” aimed at optimizing nutrient intake, health, and reducing bone stress injury risk among elite collegiate runners. She also has experience evaluating dietary supplement use among NCAA collegiate athletes and distance runners. Dr. Barrack is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), and Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitian Association (CPSDA). She serves as Sports Editor, for PULSE, a publication of the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionist’s (SCAN) Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr. Barrack earned a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biology from the University of California, Davis, M.S. in Exercise Physiology from San Diego State University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Barrack largely credits the opportunities and mentoring she received from various faculty at SDSU, including Dr. Jeanne Nichols, Dr. Mark Kern, Dr. Mike Buono, Dr. Fred Kolkhorst, among others, to her passion in research, exercise science, and nutrition.
Keith Gordon, Ph.D., ATC, CSCS, holds appointments as an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University and as a Research Scientist at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital. Dr. Gordon is the director of the Northwestern Human Agility Laboratory. His research focuses on understanding how humans balance and maneuver during walking and applying this knowledge to develop effective interventions to improve community ambulation after neuromuscular injury.
Doug Harvey is a 1950’s Alum and worked in 4,673 regular-season big league games and was a crew chief in 18 of his 31 seasons (1962-92) as a National League umpire. Harvey worked nine National League Championship Series (1970, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1991), six All-Star Games (1963, 1964, 1971, 1977, 1982, 1992) and five World Series (1968, 1974, 1981, 1984, 1988), and was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame.
Dr. Asahel (Ash) Hayes (Kinesiology, ’49) was named a winner of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award by The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS). Dr. Hayes, former executive director of the PCPFS, has worked vigorously to advocate physical activity and the importance of an active lifestyle during his six-decade career. The award is presented to individuals whose careers have greatly contributed to the advancement and encouragement of physical education. Dr. Hayes is a role model for a healthy lifestyle, and continues to promote physical activity in his work as a Physical Education, Physical Fitness and Sports Consultant. In addition, Dr. Hayes was recognized in 2007 with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award by the SDSU Alumni Association.
Jake Lawler-Schwartz has worked as a biomechanist for the NIKE Sport Research Lab since completion of a Master’s in Kinesiology from San Diego State in 2013. Based out of Michael Johnson Performance (MJP), a sport performance facility north of Dallas, Texas, Jake works with some of NIKE’s most prestigious athletes and teams conducting biomechanics and applied sport science research. As a member of the Sport Performance Insights team, he has helped both American and international athletes prepare for the Olympics, return to professional play from injury, and make decisions related to apparel and footwear and has taken on projects ranging from in-depth athletic evaluations to footwear-specific biomechanics research. Jake also contributes as a consultant for MJP’s sport performance staff, informing them on concepts relevant to sport science and athletic evaluation and synthesizing strength and conditioning research for their practical application.
Jeff A. Nessler
Jeff A. Nessler has been a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, San Marcos since 2008. Dr. Nessler’s interdisciplinary background includes an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of California, Irvine, an M.A. in Biomechanics from San Diego State University, and a B.S. in Sports Medicine from Pepperdine University. Before joining the faculty at Cal State San Marcos, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University and spent two years as an assistant professor of Kinesiology at Cal Poly Pomona. Dr. Nessler currently serves as the chair of the Kinesiology Department at CSUSM.
Dr. Nessler’s research is focused on the control and mechanics of human movement. He has spent several years studying gait and locomotion, where much of his work focused on the development and use of robotic devices. Recently, he has applied his background in movement analysis to paddling mechanics, balance, and wave riding in surfers. To date, Dr. Nessler’s work in the study of human movement has been supported by grants from both the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
Anne Rosser was a very active professional throughout her physical education teaching career in San Diego, much of which was at Madison High School. During that time she was a leader in the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, as well as the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and she has continued this work during her retirement. She has also been an active SDSU alum, especially lending support to the College of Arts and Letters programs in China. She was also instrumental in helping us make contact with many of the 1950s Kinesiology alums (at the time, of course, the major was titled Physical Education). Anne was the 2009 recipient of the Meritorious Achievement Award at the San Diego County High School Coaching Legends 11th Annual Induction Banquet.
Ailish Sheard is an Assistant Professor in the School Kinesiology and Nutritional Science at CSU Los Angeles. She received her B.S. degree in Exercise Science from CSU San Marcos and her M.S. degree in Exercise Physiology from SDSU. During her time at SDSU she became passionate about environmental physiology after working with Dr. Michael Buono, and during this time she decided to continue on her academic journey, and she received her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.
Ailish has continued her work in environmental physiology and focuses on heat acclimation and its effects on exercise performance and various blood markers. She has also investigated cross-tolerance between heat and hypoxia and if this model could be used to acclimate athletes or military personnel before ascending to high altitude terrain.
Michelle Sullivan, DPT
Dr. Michelle Sullivan has always had a passion for helping others and is a natural-born leader. She has been a physical therapist for over 15 years and has worked as Director of Rehabilitation Services for over 12 years in various skilled nursing facilities in the Los Angeles area. Currently, Michelle is the Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, California. Michelle is a proven leader in her profession and serves as an Expert Consultant for the Physical Therapy Board of California.
After graduating from high school at the young age of 16, Michelle attended San Diego State University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with honors. In 1999, Michelle was accepted into the top-ranked physical therapy school in the nation, the University of Southern California. She graduated in 2002 with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy.
Alongside her busy career, Michelle shares an active home life with her husband and three children. She supports her community by sitting on the Parent Teacher Organization Board at an elementary school in Altadena. Michelle is a USA Track and Field Level I Coach, and she volunteers countless hours helping youth athletes pursue their goals of competing in the National Junior Olympics.
Kellie is currently an Assistant Professor in the Kinesiology Department at California State University, Long Beach, where she teaches in the Fitness concentration. She is also co-founder of Smart Fit Girls. Kellie obtained her Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from Colorado State University where she continued her professional career as the Director of Adult Fitness and Instructor in the Health and Exercise Science Department. Kellie received her Ph.D. in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management Department at Clemson University. In addition to studying the impact of Smart Fit Girls, Kellie’s research focuses on the relationship between physical activity and psychosocial health in adolescent girls and their mothers. Kellie lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys teaching group fitness and traveling to visit her family.