Allyssa Costerton-Grant

Associate Director, Industry Partnerships & Alumni Development

Faculty of Management
Office: EME


Fellowships recognize early-career researchers who have demonstrated outstanding research achievement

Dr. Jonathan Little is one of six 2020 recipients for the Killam Accelerator Research Fellowship program, which was established through a bequest from the late Dorothy J. Killam. The fellowships strengthens UBC’s support for early-career researchers who are ready to launch the next stage of their careers. The fellowships aim to recognize and support exceptional early-career researchers potential for significant impact in their fields of scholarship. Offered on a competitive basis, up to six awards will be made annually through the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Fund. The support from the Killam Accelerator Research Fellowship will advance Dr. Little’s research on the role of inflammation in type 2 diabetes and the benefits of lifestyle interventions.

Learn more.

Dr. Stewart launches training for educators and academics to positively impact student life on campus


University students are vulnerable to a decline in health and well-being during the beginning of their university careers, and throughout their studies. Academics can be overwhelming, and researchers are finding that social isolation is common. To address this growing concern, Dr. Stewart is leading the TEACHERS project. TEACHERS is designed to positively impact the health, education, and resiliency of university students through strategic training of classroom leads.

The project provides faculty with a unique training opportunity to learn and integrate well-being practices into the classroom. This initiative is designed to provide the necessary support and resources to meet the ongoing and changing learning needs of students. The aim is to have all classrooms being facilitative of student and faculty wellbeing.

“TEACHERS is a simple, targeted intervention,” explains Dr. Stewart, Associate Professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. “Using evidence-based practices, we provide critical tools and supports for in-class activities and recommended course logistics, for example, to enhance student resiliency and well-being.”

The TEACHERS Project launched in 2019, and is presently in its second phase of development as a pilot research project. Supported by the UBC Okanagan Provost Office, and a UBC SoTL Seed Grant, Dr. Stewart, and colleague Dr. Jannik Eikannar from the School of Engineering, will investigate the impact of TEACHERS project with the aim to inform and improve student well-being initiatives on campus.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) Young Investigator Award (YIA) is presented annually to an outstanding CSEP member who received the PhD or MD degree within the past 10 years.

Congratulations Dr. Jonathan Little for being recognized by CSEP as the 2020 Young Investigator Award winner.

The YIA is awarded to an exceptional member who has demonstrated evidence of a sustainable program of research funding beyond the first grant cycle, publications in peer-reviewed journals that establish the candidate as an independent scientist, and evidence of training of highly qualified personnel. The individual must be acknowledged to have an excellent reputation throughout Canada and to have achieved notable international recognition.

The School is pleased to share with you the 2020/2021 Human Kinetics Student Association executive team. 



Aswathy Kumanan, President

My name is Aswathy and I am very pleased to be your HKSA president this year!

I’m in my 4th year of my Human Kinetics degree. Born and raised in Vancouver, currently finishing my degree from home like most of you out there. I’m hoping to complete my master’s in social work once I graduate. I enjoy venturing out on hikes in our beautiful province, kayaking and travelling!



Cara Johnston, VP

My name is Cara and I am going to be one of your HKSA VP’s this year. I am a third-year student from Sherwood Park, Alberta with hopes to go to medical school after completing my degree. In my free time, I like to play rugby, travel, and downhill ski.




Danika Ungarian, VP
My name is Danika and I am going to one of your HKSA VP’s this year. I am a second year Human Kinetics student and I currently live in Kelowna. With my bachelor’s degree I hope to pursue my studies with a master’s degree in either Physical or Occupational Therapy. My passions are skiing, hiking and travelling.

Dear School of Health and Exercise Sciences community,

Undoubtedly, this September looks different to the typical start to the academic year and we all share some anxieties about how things will unfold. Yet the feeling of excitement that typically comes with “back-to-school” endures. Each year, students and faculty embarking on a new term brings exciting opportunities – opportunities to create new connections, make new friends, deepen our knowledge, and pursue discovery. In the School of Health and Exercise Sciences those opportunities remain, albeit through an electronic interface.

I am tremendously proud of the efforts of faculty, staff and students who have worked over the summer to ensure that the experience –for both undergraduate and graduate students alike – will not just be online; we have taken steps and created new avenues of connection and communication to help our students thrive. To ‘pivot’ has become the cliché of 2020, and yet there is not a more accurate term to describe the ways our School members have sought to turn the obstacles of COVID-19 into opportunities.

Our laboratory team has recreated the laboratory experience online so that our students can still observe and learn about critical hands-on skills. Our practicum office is working with active professionals in the field to develop virtual practicum opportunities, connecting our graduating students with practical experts in their field, and our instructors have rapidly embraced the technology to deliver both synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning activities online.

At the heart of our work is our desire to continually strengthen our communities: Our School community, our campus community, and our global community. For that reason, we are collaborating to welcome thought leaders from across the nation, virtually to the UBC Okanagan campus. Beginning in October, our first community event welcomes Dr. Charlotte Loppie to explore the root determinants of indigenous health inequities.  For our students, faculty and wider community, we are also launching the 2020 UBC Exercise, Kinesiology and Health Seminar Program in collaboration with UBC Vancouver School of Kinesiology to introduce the leaders in our field.

In relation to research within the School, we are working closely with the Faculty and wider institution to re-start a number of face-to-face research programs with a total commitment to safety of our participants and researchers.  We have recently published last year’s research report which provides an overview of the activities and success the School enjoyed in 2019.

Although we have tried to anticipate all of your needs and requirements, and have been working proactively to find solutions to the challenges faced by our community as we work at a distance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with myself or your instructors if you have ideas that would help you to succeed. This situation is new to us all, and it is likely that we have not thought of every scenario or opportunity. In the words of Bonnie Henry, “we are in this together” and we are committed to working with all members of our community to find optimal solutions as we travel through the coming year together.

Over the coming months we will be using multiple virtual media opportunities to connect with the HES community. Notifications for these events will be sent through to students through Canvas, please keep an eye open for these messages and engage with these activities synchronously or asynchronously as works best for you. 2020 is a year like no other, and as a School we uphold our promise to work with you to help you to thrive.

Wishing you all the very best for the upcoming year and asking you to look after yourselves and our community.






It is with great pride that the School shares the success of several of our postdoctoral fellows who have been hired by institutions across Canada. All three began their tenure-track positions on July 1, 2020.

Sean Locke, a postdoctoral fellow supervised by Drs. Mary Jung and Jonathan Little, began his role as Assistant Professor in Kinesiology within the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University.

Corliss Bean, postdoctoral fellow from Mary Jung’s lab, is now Assistant Professor in Recreation and Leisure Studies within the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University.

Jeremy Walsh, postdoctoral fellow in Jonathan Little’s lab, began his role as Assistant Professor in the Kinesiology Department at McMaster University.



The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) launched a Summer Student Series this year featuring student researchers from across Canada.

Joining their line-up are two School of Health and Exercise Sciences students: Elijah Haynes and Rowan Smart. Haynes and Smart will present a two-part session on Aging and exercise: force steadiness, tendon mechanics and muscle strength in sex-specific healthy aging.

Session 1 will explore the role of strength and tendon mechanics in sex- and age-related force steadiness differences, and Session 2 will explore the sex-related trajectory of age-related strength loss.

When: Thursday, September 3, 2020, 3:00-4:00 PM EDT
Cost: Free for CSEP members, $25.00 +tax for non-members

Visit CSEP to register. 

About Elijah Haynes

Elijah Haynes

Haynes graduated from from the School’s Bachelor of Human Kinetics program in 2018. Having completed an undergraduate research project with Dr. Jakobi in his final semester, Haynes was drawn to the MSc in Health and Exercise Sciences under Dr. Jakobi’s supervision in January of 2020. Hayne’s thesis project involves characterizing sex-specific adaptations of motor units in healthy aging and relating these physiological adaptations to force control.



About Rowan Smart

Rowan Smart

Smart grew up in Vernon and decided to move ‘down the road‘ to Kelowna in 2010 to complete his undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics. Smart began volunteering in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Jakobi, and later went on to complete his MSc with Jakobi before pursuing his PhD in Kinesiology.  Smart’s research focuses on the use of ultrasound imaging to understand how muscles and tendons contribute to functional force control in humans.


The Killam Postdoctoral Fellow Research Prize is awarded annually for excellence in research. The School of Health and Exercise Sciences congratulates Corliss Bean for her 2019 Killam Postdoctoral Fellow Research Prize.

Dr. Corliss Bean is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences within UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Health and Social Development. Her research is focused on prevention programs for type 2 diabetes. Dr. Bean is working to evaluate Small Steps for Big Changes, a diet and exercise intervention program in partnership with the YMCA of Okanagan, using multi-methods to examine program tailoring and implementation.

Find out more about Dr. Bean in the UBC Postdoctoral spotlight. 

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) support and promote high-quality research in a wide variety of disciplines and areas. Together, they make up the Tri-Council funding agencies, the primary mechanism through which the Government of Canada supports research and training at post-secondary institutions.

In 2020, seven School of Health and Exercise students were awarded funding to pursue their research at UBC Okanagan.

MSc students
Naomi Maldonado-Rodriguez

CIHR Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement
Gabriel Dix

PhD students
Connor Howe
Justine Magnuson
Helena Neudorf
Tyler Vermeulen

Tineke Dineen
Sarah Lawrason

The School of Health and Exercise Sciences recognizes the importance of this support and appreciates the investment for high-caliber students to further their research.