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Department of Kinesiology


Dr. Gina Besenyi, Director of the PARCS Lab, is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Human Ecology. Gina has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, a Master of Public Health concentrated in Physical Activity and Nutrition from Kansas State University and a PhD in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. 

Gina's research explores how built environments contribute to active living behaviors and population-level health outcomes across geographic and cultural contexts and how disparities within these relationships might be understood and rectified, including through citizen engagement in creating healthier communities. Within this broader field of environmental health promotion, she has a specific interest in the role of parks, green space and recreational facilities, and how availability, accessibility and quality of such community resources influence physical activity, especially among youth populations. She is an up-and-coming expert in how innovative technology such as geographic information systems (GIS) and mobile applications can be utilized within this public health research agenda to promote community participation and healthy environments. Gina has collaborated and consulted with researchers, organizations, and communities across the U.S. and internationally on numerous health projects. In her free time, Gina enjoys a variety of outdoor activities and loves to spend time with her family.  


Daniel Winslow is a concurrent Bachelor’s/Masters of Science student. Originally from Germany, Daniel has an interest in the promotion of physical activity through active transportation in urban settings; in technology and health; and in the interaction of social and built spaces. He is currently working on collaborative research projects with Augusta University, studying the validity of consumer grade physical activity monitors in research settings, and exploring cybersecurity beliefs and opinions of users of activity monitors. In addition to that, Daniel is working on a survey to understand public opinion towards a public physical activity event in Manhattan, KS. Daniel enjoys cycling, swimming and running.


Alex Ptacek is a senior in Kinesiology, Pre-PT. She is working on a research project investigating how peak expiratory flow values in asthmatic children relate to the amount of PA they engage in daily. She believes that the research experience she gathers in the lab will help her better understand the barriers to exercise experienced by children with respiratory difficulties. 


Emi Hayashi is a sophomore at Kansas State University. She plans to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in May of 2020. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend a physician’s assistant program. Her research interests emphasize physical activity and exercise as medicine. She is beginning a project that focuses on the development of a park prescription program in Manhattan, KS. Emi enjoys playing sports with friends, running, and exploring nature.


Aidan Murray is a junior in Kinesiology, minoring in pre-medicine. Aidan is interested in how the built environment affects a population’s physical, social and mental health. Specifically, Aidan is interested in the Park Prescription Program, which focuses on getting healthcare providers and community partners to encourage individuals to utilize parks, trails and open spaces in order to improve community health.  Shadowing physicians and being a Certified Nurse Aide has sparked his interest in this sector of the public health field. Aidan loves to compete in sports, especially football and basketball. 


Alex Aye is pursuing a major in Kinesiology, and a minor in Business. She is interested in working with and within communities to promote health and recreation through physical activity.



Nate Clennan is a Junior in Kinesiology with an emphasis in pre-medicine, hoping to become a doctor of internal medicine. He is interested in researching the effects of green space and contact with nature on patients receiving chemotherapy.  In his free time, he loves to go to the Rec, and play basketball with roommates, and has had a love for playing the guitar since the fourth grade.