KinKudos to the 2020-21 Fellowship Recipients

The College of Education and Human Development and School of Kinesiology provides prestigious fellowship offers to professional students interested in academia and research in the kinesiology and sport management fields. The Grants to Advance Graduate Education (GAGE) program serves to increase the diversity of students earning graduate degrees at the University of Minnesota. “Diversity” in this instance is the inclusion of individuals with differing backgrounds and experiences derived from, e.g., different ethnicities, gender identities, nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, veteran status, and/or disabilities. Each year, the GAGE is awarded to incoming doctoral students in the School. We are proud to recognize the following 2020-21 GAGE fellowship recipients.  

Efrat Abadi

According to Efrat Abadi, sport has always been a large part of her social and academic life. At the age of 10, Abadi began playing basketball with her friends, prompting a professional career. She understood the positive impact sport had on her life, and observed a decline in female sport participation as she grew older. After graduating with a bachelors of education in physical education (PE) at Kaye Academic College of Education, Abadi became a PE lecturer, while continuing to coach basketball. She then obtained a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, NC.

Abadi acknowledges the false perception of athletic activity as masculine, and cites this as an influence on girls’ persistence in sports: “My objective is to build an equitable culture where girls’ options are not limited,” Abadi said. “This goal has motivated me in sports and physical education as I strive to make sure girls are able to choose their own paths, unbound by social constrictions. The fellowship will allow me to study at a higher education institution that focuses on promoting girls and women through sports, and studying at the University of Minnesota has long been an aspiration for me.” 

Abadi’s academic emphasis areas include sport and exercise psychology, and she will begin research with Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi at the Tucker Center for Research on Women & Girls in Sport.

Suryeon Ryu

From a young age, Suryeon Ryu was exposed to physical activity education from her father, who had an educational background in the subject. As Ryu began her professional research, she sought to maximize health outcomes through physical activity and exercise. She then obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical education at the Yonsei University in South Korea. During graduate school, she was a physical education instructor. Post-graduation, Ryu was a part-time research assistant at Yonsei University. Ryu shares, “through scholarly activities, I am confident I can build in-depth knowledge on ways to promote individuals’ lifelong physical activity, health, and wellness. I hope to contribute to current research projects with the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota.”

Ryu’s stated research philosophy is to support and facilitate equitable physical activity opportunities for children, adolescents and adults. Her research interests specifically aim to identify effective technology-based strategies in order to increase physical activity levels. Ryu is also passionate about text-mining analysis and data-science, and in the future she would like to contribute to policy development and cost-effective field applications in physical activities and health promotion areas.

Ryu will conduct research with Dr. Zan Gao in the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory

The School of Kinesiology looks forward to welcoming our newest PhD fellowship students to the U of M. If you are interested in research and academia in the School, visit

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