Exercise Science

Kenzie Hargrove

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McKenzie is a first-year Ph.D student in the Exercise Science program. McKenzie was born and raised in Texas but moved to Jackson, MS to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at Mississippi College. She remained at MC to receive her Master’s degree in Applied Exercise Physiology, during which she taught undergraduate exercise physiology labs.

Maria Haider

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Maria is a first year Master’s Student in Exercise Science program. Originally from Pakistan, she did her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Riphah International University, Lahore.

Her research was centered around the correlation between the level of mobility and the manifestation of psychological problems in children with Cerebral Palsy. During her Master’s she plans on focusing on the behavioral aspects of physical activity in population with Down Syndrome.

Lauren Smith

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Lauren Smith is a Ph.D. student in the Exercise Science program. Originally from Tupelo, MS, Lauren earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mississippi State University. She later earned a Master’s in Biomedical Science from William Carey University. Her current research interests include using nutrition to improve the gut microbiome and overall health and fitness.

Leo Po-Lin Chen

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Leo Po-Lin Chen is a second year Ph.D student majoring in Exercise Science. He is originally from Taiwan and earned both his Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at National Kaohsiung Normal University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He joined the Cognitive Motor Control Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology. Leo’s research interests include Adapted Physical Activity/ Education (APA/ APE), exercise interventions, motor skills and executive function.

Aaron Griffith

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Aaron is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Exercise Science program. Originally born in Virginia, he moved to Delaware when he was young. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Movement Science and a Master’s degree in Neuroscience, both from Delaware State University. 

Hunter Derby

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Hunter Derby is from Columbus, MS.  As a Mississippi State Alumni, Hunter is a third-generation bulldog, having earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Mississippi State.

Currently, he is completing his Ph.D. in Exercise Science under Dr. Harish Chander and Dr. Adam Knight, specializing his research in spine biomechanics in the ergonomics.  With earning multiple black belts and teaching traditional karate, Hunter developed his research interests in biomechanics and injury prevention and how they improve performance. 

Kristy Gourley

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Kristy Gourley is a lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology. She holds a master’s degree from Mississippi State University in exercise physiology. She is originally from Mathiston, MS and completed her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Millsaps College while playing women’s lacrosse. Kristy is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She also assists in on-going research in the Neuromechanics Laboratory at Mississippi State University and has taught activity classes.