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CATS grad research efforts recognized on national platform

Luciana Braga, assistant professor of Sport Pedagogy at California State University Chico, is establishing a research foothold in physical activity promotion among children and adolescents.  

Braga, CPASS Coaching and Teaching Studies, Ph.D. (2014), recently received the 2017 early career research grant from SHAPE America. “This is a competitive grant. The award means recognition of the potential of my scholarly work. This is my first externally funded research project as a principal investigator. I am excited to take on this new challenge. I wrote this proposal with Kevin Patton, my colleague in the PETE program at Chico State,” said Braga.  

The project, titled “How I move: Girl’s physical activity experiences in their daily lives” aims to explore adolescent girls’ movement experiences as embedded in the social, cultural, and physical contexts of their daily lives.  

Her scholarly work is a direct result of her experiences at CPASS. Under the mentorship of Drs. Eloise Elliott, Sean Bulger and Emily Jones, Braga worked for the Greenbrier CHOICES project for three years.  

“Over this period, I developed the knowledge, skills, and motivation to continue engaging in scholarly work as a junior faculty. I am grateful for the excellent guidance and support I received at CPASS and feel proud of having such a fantastic group of scholars as my mentors,” Braga explained.  

Braga benefitted from working with mentors. She advises doctoral students to interact with faculty on a regular basis. “I took every opportunity presented to me as a graduate student. Get involved. Seek for opportunities and jump on them. Volunteer, be around your professors and do not leave the program before completing your dissertation,” she added.    

According to Braga, the study will examine how adolescent girls living in a rural area of Northern California perceive and navigate physical movement within their sociocultural and physical environments. The study will feature participant-generated visual diaries, photo-elicitation interviews and participant-generated physical activity mapping to capture adolescent girls’ thoughts, feelings, experiences and perspectives about physical movement within their daily lives. The project was funded in the amount of $3,451.  

Since she started the doctoral program at WVU she has published nine peer reviewed articles and conducted more than 30 presentations at state, national, and international conferences. In 2016, Braga was awarded the Young Scholar Award by the International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AIESEP). 

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