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Health and Exercise Science Newsletter
Spring 2022 Recap

The Health and Exercise Science newsletter publishes twice per year, in January and June.

From the Department Head Barry Braun

Barry Braun outdoorsDear Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to summer! After a lengthy message in December about the tightly bound connection between our goals of more inclusivity and continuous improvement, I will keep this one brief.

Despite spring semester’s beginning with the rise of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant that tried the patience and persistence of students, staff, faculty, and parents, we ended on an incredibly high note. More than 800 undergraduate students in the College of Health and Human Sciences, including more than 170 health and exercise science students, graduated in a full-on, in-person, packed-house commencement ceremony in Moby Arena on May 15.

Leading up to commencement, we held our sixth HES Fest event after spring classes officially ended May 6. It was our best one yet, whether it was the timing or the great weather or the pent-up demand for face-to-face fun, we had 250ish of our undergraduate students turn out for games, prizes, an epic tug-of-war competition, a combo physical/mental event team triathlon, pizza, popsicles, photo booth, and CAM the Ram.

On Sunday, May 15, we reinstated our face-to-face brunch celebration for graduating seniors and their families, and the turnout was beyond our hopes – and almost beyond our capacity as faculty and staff raced to move every table and chair we own out of the teaching facility and onto the Gene and Carol Vaughan Courtyard, followed by an emergency run for more food to supplement the bounty being served by the Colorado State University catering team. But those were good problems to have; the return of ear-to-ear smiles, hugs, and beaming pride were an incredibly welcome sight and a perfect lead-in to the ceremony itself.

Sandwiched between all those events, we celebrated the graduate students who finished their degrees this spring with a post-commencement lunch for them and their families.

The return of these events that celebrate student success and promote engagement and inclusivity lifted our spirits and nourished our souls. According to author jd malouf, “One should never, but never, pass by an opportunity to celebrate.” We wholeheartedly agree!

One jarring counterpoint amid our festivities includes the celebration of an extraordinary life. I need to draw attention to a recent loss: the passing of Kelly Walker. Kelly was a two-time HES alumna, an academic adviser, a relentless advocate and fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and one of the most inspiring, passionate, giving, and unforgettable human beings I have known. The world was a better place for the nearly six decades she was with us, and we will continue honoring her legacy in our department through the scholarship that bears her name.

Carl Jung captured the essence of the co-mingling of joy and grief when he wrote: “The word happiness would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” Please keep that spirit in mind as you peruse the stories in this newsletter. Kelly would want me to end, as always, with…

Go Rams!

Barry Braun, Department Head 


Outstanding Graduate Charlie Williams persevered through addiction to obtain his degree.

College can sometimes be a path to discovery, but for many, that path isn’t straight or smooth. Department of Health and Exercise Science Outstanding graduate Charlie Williams knows that to be true.

Outstanding Graduate Grant Wade found a passion for helping others and building community across campus.

For Grant Wade, outstanding graduate of the Department of Health and Exercise Science, part of getting through the pandemic while balancing college was not only finding a community for himself but helping build that community up for others across campus.

Two CSU Health and Exercise Science master’s students named 2022 VPR Fellows

First-year master’s students Jordan Acosta (B.S., ’21, left) and Andy Hagen (right) have been named Fellows by CSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research for their presentations in the VPR-sponsored 3 Minute Challenge about their research on the experiences of people with multiple sclerosis.


MS champion and scholarship donor honored by College of Health and Human Sciences Legacies Project

Kelly Walker (B.S., ’88; M.S., ’91, ’02) left an indelible mark on our department and in our lives. From her days as an enthusiastic student to an empathetic instructor, Kelly’s unwavering positivity, infectious sense of humor, support of CSU students, and dedication to the fight against multiple sclerosis impacted the lives of all who met her. She passed away May 3 at home with family at her side. A celebration of life will be held July 23 at 2 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Ballroom.

Anne Crecelius (M.S., ’09; Ph.D., ’13) named CHHS Emerging Leader Alumna

Anne Crecelius roots her success in the HES family tree. She is intentional about applying lessons she learned as a graduate student in Colorado State University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science to all areas of her life. She has used her research skills to become an outstanding teacher, and she creates meaningful connections with colleagues and students, fostering balance and adventure


New study looks at how the body’s delivery system could lead to targeted therapeutics in the Extracellular Regulation of Metabolism Lab.

Dan Lark, Ph.D., principal investigator for the Extracellular Regulation of Metabolism Laboratory, is working with Zackary Valenti to study the key ways that cells communicate with each other.

CSU interdisciplinary researcher and Assistant Professor Neha Lodha awarded grant to study how to prolong safe driving for people with Alzheimer’s.

Neha Lodha believes that by identifying and measuring behavioral biomarkers, it may be possible to prolong the time when individuals with cognitive impairment can continue driving safely.

CSU researchers find some CBD benefits, but say ‘marketing has outpaced the science.’ Labs collaborate to explore the effects of the non-THC cannabinoid.

CBD is easily accessible, but the fact consumers don’t fully know if CBD product claims are real has spurred CSU researchers in HES and food science and human nutrition to investigate.

Outreach and Engagement

Karyn Hamilton will join world-renowned scientists, innovators, and senior defense leaders to lead discussions at the upcoming Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency conference at CSU.

Colorado State University and DARPA will host a two-day conference in Fort Collins on Aug. 30-31, the first such event in a series at six universities around the country.

Youth Sport Camps are back for a summer filled with healthy activity and fun in 2022!

Sneakers? Check. Water bottle? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Ready for a summer of healthy fun? Check! Summer Youth Sport Camps are back for a season of activity exploration and skill development in 2022.

Alumni and friends make our Rams Family strong! Whether you join us for a morning at the Homecoming 5K, or for a lifetime as a donor, your time, talent, treasure, and testimony shape our shared future.

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