Research Fellow Program

Fellow status is reserved for members who have made significant and sustained contributions to scholarship (research, creative, or scholarly activity) and related service in the areas of interest to SHAPE America. The purpose of Fellow status is to promote scholarship as an integral component of SHAPE America as well as to:

  • Recognize accomplishments in scholarship by SHAPE America members
  • Recognize and promote participation in the research activities of SHAPE America

Research Fellow Criteria and Nomination Materials



Applications due October 15.

Note: There are no limits on vita length.

Research Fellow Spotlight

Research Fellow Spotlight Jane Clark headshot

The SHAPE America Research Council is happy to shine a spotlight on Jane E. Clark, Ph.D., who was named a Research Fellow in 1985. Her discipline area is Motor Development, and her research focuses on the development of motor skills in infants and young children, with a special focus on those with movement difficulties.

Although Dr. Clark is retired, she is involved in mentoring future leaders, leading a journal club, and contributing professionally to the literature. Recently, she did a virtual research translational event for SHAPE America’s Research Council.

We hope you enjoy reading the Q&A below to learn more about her background and work.*

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background, including what drew you into the fields of health and/or physical activity?

My favorite subject in high school was physical education. As an undergraduate student, I was challenged to do more by a professor, so I did a senior thesis on how we learn motor skills. If you try to teach a young child a skill and they can’t do it, you’re immediately struck with why not. (For example, trying to teach a 7-year-old to hit a badminton birdie). So, I became really interested in how we learn motor skills.

After graduation, I worked as an instructor at Purdue University, and they had a program for preschoolers. I taught preschoolers how to swim and it was the best part of my day. Because of my wonderful experience at Purdue and the people that were there, I was pretty sure that I was going to do my Ph.D. in motor development. I went to the University of Wisconsin and got my degree there.

What is your primary line or lines of research?

I’ve studied the development of movement coordination and control. In motor behavior there are three domains: manipulation, locomotion and posture, generally. I’ve done research in all three. My first line of work was the development of walking. If you study walking, then you have to understand posture, so that was my next line of work.

Then, I became interested in studying children who have developmental coordination disorder. That is when I went into motor learning, so I went into adaptation and tasks such as reaching.

How you have worked alongside other professionals to promote health and physical activity?

One of the things I’m proudest of is Active Start, which is a document that NASPE (now SHAPE America) first published in 2002. It has since been modified by Jackie Goodway, Nancy Getchell and others.

When you teach, you touch a future. In all of my years of teaching, I’d say I am proudest of my students. The students in my classes, undergraduate students working in my lab, and those I’ve trained for their master’s and doctoral work.

Can you give an example of how you’ve worked with local and community members to promote health and physical activity?

When you’re first starting in your field, you have a lot more connections with the community. When I was at the University of Pittsburgh, I worked on a project where I went into the preschools in Pittsburgh that were Title I schools.

I helped the preschool teacher figure out what to do in the preschool that would help the children in their physical activity and in their motor skills. By going to the centers, I could see the problems that confronted teachers. I went all over the city of Pittsburgh, and we eventually developed this idea of movement centers.

What advice do you have for graduate students and junior faculty members who hope to achieve status as a SHAPE America Research Fellow someday?

Always be a learner. Be a lifetime learner. If you’re a lifetime learner, you’ll always be curious, you'll always have questions, and you'll always be interested in either pairing with someone who’s doing research to answer those questions or you’ll be interested in developing a different way to do it and then testing it out with other people and coming to the conference and presenting your ideas.

So, think of yourself as a lifetime learner and then always think of yourself as trying to challenge the ideas around you. For those who go off into academics, stay connected to the real world. Don’t forget your roots.

How have you supported SHAPE America, either through service, research, or other ways?

I was recently involved in a virtual session to restart a special interest group. By mentoring people, I have a couple of people that I still work with on paper and I’m still writing and still contributing professionally to the literature. Also, contributing to the development of future leaders.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted (or changed) your research agenda and research productivity?

It’s actually connected me more with people because of Zoom. I’m on Zoom calls about three to four times a week, talking with others about research and organizational things. It’s caused me to be more professionally productive.

For example, we had a meeting in Greece, which was accessible on Zoom. Before the pandemic, grad students would not have been able to afford flying to Greece from Brazil or from Australia. I now have good Greek friends from meeting with them on Zoom. I would have loved to have gone to Greece, but it’s particularly important for people from developing countries to attend for a low price rather than flying there.

Lastly, what are some hobbies you participate in during your free time?

I enjoy reading, listening to audiobooks, and playing bridge, especially during the pandemic.

For more information about Dr. Clark, view her university profile. She can be reached via email at jeclark@umd.edu.


Research at SHAPE America

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Research Fellow Directory

The searchable Research Fellow Directory can be used to locate researchers by primary discipline, to identify speakers or experts for projects, or to help researchers connect with other researchers on topics of common interest.

The directory is also used to help identify potential committee members for various Research Council projects.

If you are a Research Fellow of SHAPE America and have not recently updated your information in the Research Fellow Directory, please review your information and send updates to: research@shapeamerica.org.