Trust for America’s Health’s 2011 report ranked North Carolina as the 14th most obese state in the nation. In the report, close to two-thirds of adults in the state are either overweight or obese and 19 percent of youth are classified as obese.
Dr. Catherine Ennis is trying to help reverse that trend.
“My particular goal is for students to be able to make these decisions after school, when they’re on their own, when no teacher is standing there,” she said. “Our goal is for students to say ‘I want to be physically active because it’s fun, it makes me feel good and it’s important in my life.’”
Athletics and being physically active was a big part of her own life. She was a field hockey and lacrosse standout as an undergraduate at Lynchburg College. While completing her master’s degree here at UNCG, she was an assistant field hockey coach. On graduating, she told CW, she accepted the position as head field hockey coach at Duke.
Now a professor of teacher education and curriculum and instruction in UNCG’s Department of Kinesiology, Ennis’ research focuses on curriculum theory and development in physical education with specific applications to urban school settings. She is co-author of the books The Curriculum Process in Physical Education (1995) and Student Learning in Physical Education: Applying Research to Enhance Instruction (2003, 2nd ed.).
“I am a physical education/physical activity curriculum specialist and have been interested in integrated curriculum -combining physical education with other subject areas, like science – for many years,” she explained. “I first received a Science Education Partnership Award while a professor at the University of Maryland.” It was for “Science, PE, & Me! for 3rd-5th grade students, 2003-08.
How did she learn about particular NIH awards? “I learned about these awards at UMaryland through an email sent out from the UM grants office alerting faculty of NIH RFPs. It is a great service and really helps faculty identify funding opportunities with a tight match with their interest and expertise. Since then I have served on several NIH proposal review panels,” including one meeting later this fall.