September 12, 2017

Dr. Jennifer D. Roberts returns after a one-month academic appointment in New Zealand conducting and presenting research as part of the 2017 Global Partnerships Faculty Travel Grant entitled “Active Living in the United States and New Zealand”.

Dr. Roberts, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, worked with researchers and academics from Canada (University of Alberta) and Spain (University of Granada; University of Zaragoza) at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand on a range of active living projects, such as a study on the behaviors and perceptions of youth active transportation.

“This experience was so rewarding professionally and personally,” Dr. Roberts said. “The active living research field is an expanding field with a broad international presence. Yet, many of the research dimensions within the field, such as active play and active transportation, have not reached a level of maturity in the United States. With this award, I was able to engage with international researchers and develop new and genuine academic partnerships”. 

With a background in environmental health sciences and physical activity epidemiology, Roberts’ research focuses on the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in addition to its impact on obesity and other public health outcomes. While in New Zealand, she worked specifically with her PHOEBE (Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment) Laboratory collaborator, Dr. Sandra Mandic, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, and an academic leader in the field.   

While in-country, Roberts presented her ongoing work, "Active Living Laboratory Research Seminar Series," at the University of Otago.  She was also invited as a speaker and presented at the international symposium entitled "Active Living and Environment: Towards a Healthier and More Sustainable Future."

"While I thoroughly enjoyed working with all the international scholars during this past month, I have to admit that I equally enjoyed spending my ‘active living’ leisure time with them,” Dr. Roberts said. “We spent each weekend together visiting beaches, hiking, camping and running on trails throughout the South Island of New Zealand. And I can’t forget, I enjoyed watching my very first rugby game with my new family and friends. Go All Blacks!”

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Jennifer D. Roberts