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College of Education

College of Education professor wins prestigious award

The College of Education is proud to announce that Ali Brian, associate professor in the Department of Physical Education has received the 2020 Early Career Distinguished Scholar Award from the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA).


“I am humbled to receive this prestigious honor,” Brian says. “I am grateful to be included with a group of scholars toward whom I have the utmost respect and regard.”


The award recognizes the overall body of research conducted within a scholar’s first seven years of their career and will help promote the College of Education to an international audience. It was established to recognize the outstanding achievement of a current NASPSPA member who possess a distinguished record of scholarship in the early stage of their scientific career.

Brian will receive a $1,000 grant, a one-time NASPSPA conference registration fee waiver and a commemorative plaque. She is invited to present a summary of her research activity at the fall NASPSPA conference and will be published in the annual conference abstracts.

“Ali is my former doctoral student and a rock star in the field,” Jacqueline Goodway, Professor of Kinesiology at The Ohio State University wrote in an email. “This is a huge award from an international society – she beat out motor development researchers from around the world to take this prestigious award.”

Selection for the award was based on Brian’s curriculum vitae, her publications, a summary of her work and three letters of recommendation. The selection committee chose Brian as the winner after a thorough review of her credentials and qualifications, agreeing that she has a record of scholarship that clearly establishes her as a leading scholar among scientists at a similar career stage.

“Thank you to the folks who took the time and effort both to nominate me also to conduct the review process,” Brian says.


Brian is passionate about helping children and adolescents with and without disabilities learn to be competent movers. Brian has traveled throughout the world evaluating motor competence, physical activity and health-related fitness levels of individuals with visual impairments in order to develop targeted intervention strategies.

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