Don serves as the Director of Youth Initiatives at The Cooper Institute. He provides visionary leadership for FITNESSGRAM worldwide, FITNESSGRAM NFL Play 60, Nutrigram, and the Healthy Zones School Recognition Program and research relevant to those programs. He is an internationally recognized leader and administrator in the field of health and physical education. In September 2012, Don was instrumental in the creation of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.
Prior to coming to The Cooper Institute, Mr. Disney served as Director of Health and Wellness for The El Paso Texas Independent School District. El Paso is the largest Border city in the United States. Under Don's leadership, The El Paso ISD received over $9 million in grants for health and wellness. Mr. Disney received the Congressional Recognition Award for his leadership in health initiatives for the city of El Paso in 2009.
Prior to his tenure in El Paso, Don served in various teaching and educational administrative positions in the state of Maryland. In 2009 Don was inducted into Howard County Sport and Community Hall of Fame, for founding the international jump rope team called the "Kangaroo Kids," which is still in existence today. Mr. Disney received The Founders Award from the American Heart Association for his work with the Jump Rope for Heart Program.
On a personal note, Don is married and has four children and four grandchildren. He likes training for old age with lots of cross training, hiking, and outdoor sports.
Catherine directs and supervises the operations and management of the FITNESSGRAM/ACTIVITYGRAM Program. This includes the current and future versions of FITNESSGRAM/ACTIVITYGRAM and The Cooper International Youth Fitness Test. Catherine coordinates the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board, an esteemed group of experts specializing in tests and measurements, kinesiology, behavioral science, and other pediatric disciplines, to ensure a solid scientific foundation for all aspects of programming.
Prior to coming to The Cooper Institute, Catherine worked for the El Paso Independent School District as the Coordinator of Health and Physical Education. During her tenure with EPISD, Catherine developed and implemented an array of health and wellness initiatives to improve the health of her school communities. Catherine holds several physical education and health certifications and has presented at numerous health and physical education conferences. She has an MBA in International Business and a BS in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Catherine is a member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAPHERD), American School Health Association (ASHA) - Future Leaders Academy Cohort 2011, and a Leadership Texas Alumna.
At the Institute since 1982, Dr. Meredith has served in numerous capacities including Director of Operations and Director of Information Technology. Her primary responsibility has always been the direction of the national FITNESSGRAM project.
Prior to joining the staff at the Institute, Dr. Meredith was employed as a physical educator. She was in the Richardson I.S.D., Richardson, Texas for a 10-year period serving in various capacities, including Director of Health and Physical Education. She also taught at the Austin State School for the Mentally Retarded and the Lockhart I.S.D.
She is a member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and Texas Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD), having served TAHPERD as vice-president of the Physical Education Division, chairperson of various sections, and chairperson of the TAHPERD Board of Trustees.
Dr. Meredith has been an integral member of the FITNESSGRAM staff since the program began in 1982. She has been involved in every aspect of the FITNESSGRAM program including designing software, authoring manuals, developing awards systems and publishing materials. She has presented FITNESSGRAM to groups at national, district, and state conferences plus worked with thousands of teachers conducting teacher in-service meetings. Dr. Meredith has been a member of the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board since its inception in 1987.
During leisure time, she enjoys cycling, walking, sewing, needlework, and working two of her four Labrador Retrievers in Animal Assisted Therapy.
Norma Candelaria, M.S., began her career at the Cooper Institute in 2008 as a Lab Tech/Research Coordinator in the Exercise Lab. She moved into the Youth Initiatives division in 2009 as the Youth Fitness Project Coordinator, where her primary responsibility was to help physical educators implement health and activity promotions in 19 schools throughout the Dallas–Fort Worth area. She was promoted to Associate Director of Youth Initiatives in 2012 and currently manages the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program and the NFL Play 60 FITNESSGRAM Project. The Healthy Zone School Recognition Program, a 6-year, two-tier, 70 school program in which she works with schools throughout the Dallas Metropolitan area as they strive to create healthier campuses. The NFL Play 60 FITNESSGRAM Project is a partnership between The Cooper Institute and the NFL Foundation, which provides programming and support for over 1,000 schools nationwide as they promote physical activity and combat the obesity epidemic that is challenging our youth.
Norma received her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees from The University of Texas at El Paso, where she served as a Teaching Assistant for Biomechanics and a Research Assistant in the biomechanics lab. During her graduate studies, she coauthored four publications regarding running mechanics and strength training.
During her leisure time, she enjoys running, exercise, watching sports, shopping, and spending time with her family.
Emily Bowles joined The Cooper Institute in the summer of 2013 and works on the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program as the Coordinator.
Emily received a Master of Public Health and Physical Activity degree from the University of South Carolina, and an undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University in Health Promotion. Throughout her graduate studies, she worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Exercise Science Department working on a study looking at the effects of exercise on veterans with combat PTSD. She also worked as a Graduate Supervisor for the GoodBodies Program, a weight management program for children.
She currently holds the CHES (Certified Health Educator Specialist) certification and is a member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAPHERD) and Texas Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She enjoys group fitness classes, cycling and shopping.
Prior to working at The Cooper Institute, Dr. Allums Featherston was an adjunct professor at Texas Woman's University (TWU) and Texas Christian University teaching courses in Kinesiology and Health and Wellness. While pursuing her doctoral degree from TWU and during her tenure there, she had numerous roles within the Kinesiology Department including, teaching assistant, research assistant, and graduate assistant for the NCAA Division II women's volleyball team. She was also the Coordinator for the TWU Dr. Carol Huettig Swim Program for Children with Disabilities.
Dr. Allums Featherston brings a unique blend of teaching experiences to the Institute, as she has taught adapted physical education (Denton, TX) and physical activity and sports classes to children of all abilities in the private, public, and non-profit sectors (Miami, FL). She has a MS in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Barry University and a BA in General Psychology from Arkansas Tech University. During her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, playing volleyball, and running with her dogs.
Katelin Anderson joined The Cooper Institute in the fall of 2012. Her primary responsibility is to assist with the NFL PLAY 60 FITNESSGRAM Project which provides programming and support for over 1,000 schools nationwide.
Katelin received her Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Kinesiology from Iowa State University in Ames, IA. While there she served as a Teaching Assistant for the Department of Kinesiology and a Research Assistant for numerous projects. Her passion is to promote and encourage physical activity in youth through the development and implementation of health promotion programs.
She currently holds the Certified Health Educator Specialist (CHES) certification and earned the Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) certification through ACSM. She is also a member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAPHERD), Texas Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAPHERD), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Amy Rembert is the Youth Initiatives' FITNESSGRAM Outreach Specialist. She joined The Cooper Institute's Marketing Department in the fall of 2012 and moved to the Youth Initiatives team in the fall of 2013. Before joining The Cooper Institute, Amy managed wide-ranging accounts like The Home Depot, Southwest Airlines, and Fort Worth's West 7th development at The Richards Group, AvreaFoster and Cypress Equities.
Amy's thirst for knowledge and helping others has led her to also become a Board Certified Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher; two additional positions that provide her with a platform to positively impact adult and youth health. Her community involvement does not stop there - through Amy’s membership in the Junior League of Dallas she has volunteered with Cancer Support Community of North Texas (formerly Gilda's Club) and Kids in the Kitchen as the Public Relations Chair.
After graduating from Ursuline Academy of Dallas, Amy earned her Bachelor of Science in Journalism, with an emphasis in communications, from The University of Kansas. She is a member of International Association of Business Communicators, Think Ahead Group with the Center for BrainHealth, Young Texans Against Cancer, and Young Friends of Ronald McDonald House. Her knowledge in communications, health, and youth education combine perfectly for her role on the Youth Initiatives team.
Georgina Vint joined the Cooper Institute as the Administrative Coordinator in the fall of 2013 to assist the NFL PLAY 60 FITNESSGRAM team with new and existing schools in the project.
Georgina received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from the University of North Texas in Denton. During her undergraduate program, she volunteered at the Institute in the fall of 2012 and completed an Independent Study with the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program.
Georgina is a member of the Texas Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD), and is passionate about increasing youth physical activity. Her leisure activities include running, strength training, outdoor activities, and reading.
Gregory J. Welk is the Director of Clinical Research and Community Outreach with the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center at Iowa State University as well as an Associate Professor with the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State University. Dr. Welk completed his Masters degree (MS) at the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Prior to coming to ISU, Dr. Welk worked at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research where he directed the Childhood and Adolescent Health Division. He was responsible for the scientific direction of FITNESSGRAM and has continued to serve as the Chair of the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board. His research interests focus on the assessment and promotion of physical activity and fitness in children. Dr. Welk is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), the Society for Behavior Medicine (SBM), and the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE).
Kirk J. Cureton is Professor and Head of the Department of Kinesiology, and Director of the Metabolism and Body Composition Laboratory at the University of Georgia in Athens, where he has been on the faculty since 1976. Dr. Cureton is a member of the American Physiological Society, and a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Academy of Physical Education. He was Vice President and member of the Board of Trustees of ACSM, and a past President of the Southeast Chapter of ACSM. He has received the AAHPERD Mabel Lee Award, a Scholar Award from the Southeast Chapter of ACSM, a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois, and a Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine. He has been physiology section editor for the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and associate editor of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. He has published approximately 100 articles in professional journals and books related to exercise physiology, human performance and physical fitness.
He is particularly known for his research on the effects of body composition on metabolic responses to exercise and physical performance and on validation of field tests of aerobic capacity in youth. Dr. Cureton has been a member of the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board since 1987 and developed the FITNESSGRAM criterion referenced standards for aerobic capacity.
Dr. Eisenmann is a diverse scientist whose academic framework draws from the areas of auxology (human growth), human biology, exercise and sport physiology, and chronic disease epidemiology. He has published 125 papers and lectured widely on the growth- and maturity-related variation of body size and function, and its impact on the health and physical performance of children and adolescents. He completed the PhD at Michigan State University in 2000 and has held faculty positions at the University of Wyoming, York University (Toronto, Canada), Iowa State University, and Michigan State University. He has also served as the Senior Translational Epidemiologist at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Division of Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition within the Department of Radiology and College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. He is involved in the North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine Board of Directors, American College of Sports Medicine Pediatric Exercise is Medicine working group, and the Pediatric Data Harmonization Project. He joined the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board in 2012.
Besides his primary research focus on child growth, obesity, and cardiometabolic health, Dr. Eisenmann is involved in the development of young athletes and issues related to pediatric sports medicine. He is the co-directing of the Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program (SNAPP). He also coaches youth and high school baseball.
Scott Going, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and in Physiological Sciences and the Director of the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at The University of Arizona. His research interests include development of methods and models for body composition assessment, changes in body composition during growth and development in children and with aging in older adults, and the effects of exercise and diet on bone, soft tissue composition, functional capacity and health. His research is funded by The National Institutes of Health (NIDDK, NIAMS and NICHD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Science Foundation of Arizona.
Current projects focus on the development of body composition standards for youth and adults, school-based integrated physical activity and nutrition programs, sarcopenia, hip geometry and fractures in postmenopausal women, and the effects of exercise interventions on skeletal development and health in children and patients with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Baker Harrell’s background and expertise in new media, social movement theory and health marketing drive the initiatives of the not-for-profit organization, ACTIVE Life, and its initiative, IT’S TIME TEXAS. Prior to founding the organization, Baker completed a Master’s in Health Education with a specialization in childhood obesity. His philosophy of empowering people to initiate social change is demonstrated throughout AL’s efforts and supported by Baker’s interdisciplinary work as a Ph.D. candidate specializing in the intersection of social movement theory, health marketing and new media.
Dolly Lambdin, EdD, is a clinical professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She has 16 years teaching experience in public and private schools grades K-8 and 37 years in teacher preparation at the university level for many years teaching mornings in the public school and afternoons at the university. She has supervised over 100 student teachers visiting thousands of public school classes and learning from scores of fabulous “cooperating teachers”. She teaches undergraduate teaching methods courses and Technology in Physical Education, Analysis of Teaching, and Current Issues in Physical Education in the masters and doctoral programs in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at UT Austin.
Dr. Lambdin is the recipient of the Texas Exes Elizabeth Shatto Massey Award for Excellence in Teacher Education (2009) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Physical Education Teacher Education Honor Award (2009), Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance College Teacher of the Year in 2008.
Dr. Lambdin served as President of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) from 2004-05 and on the writing teams for the Texas Physical Education Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in Physical Education, the National and Texas State Physical Education Beginning Teacher Standards, and NASPE’s Appropriate Practices Guidelines.
Dr. Lambdin has co-authored several texts including Putting Research to Work in Elementary Physical Education with Lawrence F. Locke, Fitness for Life Middle School, and Fitness for Life Middle School Teacher’s Guide with Chuck Corbin and Guy LeMasurier. More recently she co-authored the completion of the Fitness for Life Series, Fitness for Life: Elementary School, a comprehensive guide for school-wide support of physically activity and physical education which includes guides for classroom teachers, physical education teachers and the school wellness coordinator (Corbin, Lambdin, LeMasurier, & Greiner).
During leisure time she enjoys walking, cycling, kayaking, sewing and signing around the campfire. In the summer she spends her time in Maine enjoying living in the woods by the lake.
Matthew Mahar is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Founding Director of the Activity Promotion Laboratory at East Carolina University. His research focuses on the promotion and measurement of physical activity and fitness in youth. He has expertise in the measurement aspects of physical activity and fitness and has extensive experience conducting school-based research and intervention programs for overweight children. He has experience teaching both elementary school and high school physical education. Dr. Mahar has served on the Science Board of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, the Board of Trustees for Be Active North Carolina, as chair of the Editorial Board for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, as chair of the Examinations Committee of the American College of Sports Medicine, and as chair of the Measurement and Evaluation Council of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. Dr. Mahar is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a Fellow of the Research Consortium of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology. He has won awards for his teaching, research, and service contributions, including the prestigious North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He exercises, walks his dogs, and tracks his steps every day.
James R. Morrow, Jr. is a Regents Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation at the University of North Texas. His background is in research and evaluation methodology, having conducted research on fitness testing and taught measurement, research, and evaluation courses for more than 35 years. He has published more than 130 manuscripts, chapters, and 3 textbooks. His co-authored measurement text, Measurement and Evaluation in Human Performance, is in its 4th edition. He presents his research annually before national and international audiences. He has served on the FITNESSGRAM® Advisory Committee for more than 30 years. He previously served a 4-year term on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Science Board as member and then Chair. Morrow is a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Kinesiology (for which he was President in 2003-2004), the AAHPERD Research Consortium, and the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (1989-1993) and founding Co-Editor (with Steven N. Blair) of the Journal of Physical Activity & Health (2004-2006). He has received numerous state and national awards for his research and service activities. Honors include the AAHPERD Scholar, AAHPERD McCloy Lecturer, AAHPERD RQES Lecturer, the AAHPERD Research Consortium Distinguished Service Award, the Measurement and Evaluation Council Lifetime Achievement Award, TAHPERD’s David K. Brace Award, SDAAHPERD Scholar, TAHPERD Honor Award, and the AAHPERD Research Consortium Writing Award (3 times). He has been Principal or Co-Investigator on research awards funded for approximately $8,000,000.
Dr. Sharon Ann Plowman a professor emeritus from the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University. She taught in higher education for 36 years including classes in personal fitness, exercise physiology, stress testing and exercise bioenergetics. She has published over seventy scientific and research articles in the field as well as numerous applied articles on physical fitness with an emphasis on females and children/adolescents.
Dr. Plowman earned her earned her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign under the tutelage of Dr. T. K. Cureton, Jr. She is a Fellow emeritus of the American College of Sports Medicine, and served on the Board of Trustees. She is a Fellow emeritus of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education. She is a Life Member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Dr. Plowman has received the Excellence in Teaching Award at NIU, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Honor Award.
Dr. Plowman was part of the original professional committees that developed the Health-Related Physical Fitness concept and has served on the Scientific Advisory Council for FITNESSGRAM® since its inception in 1987.
During leisure time, Dr. Plowman enjoys traveling, exercising, volunteering at a local therapeutic horseback riding program and making pottery.
Dr. Prochaska is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine with the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University. Dr. Prochaska’s research centers on developing effective and innovative behavioral treatments for promoting health including physical activity adoption, healthy diet, and smoking cessation. Dr. Prochaska has evaluated computer-delivered behavioral interventions with youth and adults in schools and medical settings. Her science is trans-disciplinary – bridging the fields of clinical health psychology, medicine, public health, and the quantitative sciences – and translational – including intervention development, efficacy trials, and studies of dissemination and adoption.
Dr. Prochaska’s current funding includes an R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health, a component in the NIDA P50 San Francisco Treatment Research Center, and a Community-based Participatory Research Award from the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program. She has 90 peer-reviewed publications, in 2007 was the recipient of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Jarvik-Russell Young Investigator Award, in 2010 received NIDA’s Division of Clinical Neuroscience & Behavioral Research Outstanding Early Career Investigator Award, and in 2011 was named Mentor of the Year by the Bay Area Clinical Research Symposium.
Dr. Prochaska completed her doctoral training in the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Training Program with Dr. James Sallis as her major professor. Her expertise and training includes self-reported and objective physical activity measurement; analysis and interpretation of physical activity data; and computer-delivered behavioral interventions in schools and health care settings.
Dr. Prochaska lives in the hills of Southern Marin and enjoys hiking, running, and skiing (in Tahoe) with her husband and two young children.
Georgi began her teaching career as an elementary PE teacher in Fort Worth, Texas. She taught 7 years and then became the Director of Health and Physical Education for the Fort Worth I.S.D.
Her primary focus has been to build a strong, standards-based program for the district of 80,000 students with focused professional development for teachers and meaningful assessment. She has been successful at obtaining several large federal and local grants to facilitate obtaining resources and training for the teachers.
Very active in local, state, and national organizations that support teachers and student health, she is currently the chair of the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) Legislative Affairs Committee and member of the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) PE steering committee. In 2008 she received the TAHPERD K-12 Administrator of the Year Award; in 2010 she received NASPE’s Channing Mann K-12 Administrator of the Year Award.
Georgi has been a member of the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board since 2008 and is passionate about the ideals of health-related fitness and its impact on student learning and wellness. Her current goal is to expand the district’s Coordinated Health Program as well as to work with other districts in doing the same.
Her passion is travel and she often combines regular visits to Austin, the State Capitol, to lobby for legislation that supports strong physical education programs for children with her love for cycling and walking wherever she goes.
Dr. Zhu is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An internationally known scholar in Kinesmetrics (Measurement and Evaluation in Kinesiology), Dr. Zhu’s primary research interests are in the study and application of new measurement theories (e.g., item response theory) and statistical models/methods (e.g., equating) to the field of Kinesiology, especially the impact of body-mind exercises on health. His research has been well supported by external grants, including NIH and RWJF. He was the section editor of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport between 1999 and 2005 and is the associate editor of Journal of Physical Activity and Health. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, American College of Sports Medicine and Research Consortium of AAHPERD. He was a member of the Scientific Board of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports between 2005 and 2008 and has served on the FITNESSGRAM/ACTIVITYGRAM Advisory Committee since 2002.
Stephen Pont, MD, MPH serves as the medical director for the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, which strives to empower families to lead healthy, happy lives through ACES (Activating Children Empowering Success) a bilingual tertiary care weight management clinic, Healthy Living Happy Living a 10-week family based group program, the TEEN cooking and behavioral health group program, and education, advocacy and research activities. Dr. Pont also serves as the medical director for Austin Independent School District's Student Health Services and on a team with the UT-School of Public Health and the USDA/Baylor College of Medicine on a CDC Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Project that funds a systems based childhood obesity intervention linking primary care offices, schools, recreation centers/YMCAs, and community-based interventions in Houston and Austin. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with UT-Southwestern, Austin Programs and an adjunct Professor in the UT-Austin Department of Advertising. Dr. Pont works with many organizations to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic including Marathon Kids, Children's Optimal Health, Texas Department of Agriculture, Children's Hospital Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, where Dr. Pont currently chairs the AAP's Provisional Section on Obesity. Dr. Pont enjoys working with the media, and regularly utilizes print, radio and TV to spread health messages in English and Spanish to families in Austin and across Texas.