Meet Our Faculty

Dr. Liz Ackley, Brian H. Thornhill Associate Professor 


    • Ph.D. Health & Human Performance - Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
    • M.S. Health & Human Performance - Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
    • B.S. Exercise Science - SUNY Cortland College, Cortland, NY

    Research & Teaching Interests:
    Health equity; Health surveillence; Special populations; Chronic disease; Physical activity epidemiology; Exercise testing and prescription; Human performance and exercise physiology; Community-based participatory research; Research methods and measurement issues

    Community service; trail running; mountain biking; urban farming

    Recent Publications:

    • Walkington, H., Stewart, K., Hall, E., Ackley, E., & Shannahan, J. (2020). Salient practices of award-winning undergraduate research mentors: Balancing freedom and control to achieve excellence. Studeies in Higher Education.
    • Walkington, H., Hall, E., Shanahan, J. O., Ackley, E., Stewart, K. (2018). Striving for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring: The Challenges and Approaches to Ten Salient Practices. (In Vandermaas-Peeler, M., Moore, J., & Miller, P. C., (Eds.), Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press
    • Hall, E., Walkington, H., Ackley, E., Shanahan, J. O., & Stewart, K. (2018). Mentoring perspectives on the place of undergraduate research mentoring in academic identity and career development: An analysis of award winning mentors”. International Journal of Academic Development, 23(1), 15-27.
    • Shanahan, J. O., Walkington, H., Ackley, E., Hall, E., & Stewart, K. (2017). Award-winning mentors see democratization as the future of undergraduate research. CUR Quarterly: Undergraduate Research and Higher Education of the Future, 37(4), 4-11.
    • Shanahan, J. O., Ackley, E., Hall, E., & Stewart, K., Walkington, H. (2015). Ten salient practices of undergraduate research mentors: A review of the literature. Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning.

    Recent External Funding:
    2021 - “Addressing Our Missing Link: Bringing “Human Performance” to the Department of HHP” – Bane Foundation [$7,500]
    2020 - “Augmenting Health & Exercise Science Education at Roanoke College” – Bane Foundation, Co-Author [$13,937]
    2019 - “Financing Sustainable Local Food Systems: Healthy Food Financing Initiative” – Reinvestment Fund, [TA Grant - Awarded]
    2019 - “The Roanoke Valley Community Healthy Living Index: A Catalyst for Promoting Health Equity” – VFIC [$2,100]
    2018 - “Examining Best Practices in Food Retail: the ReFresh Model” – Reinvestment Fund [$22,500]
    2018 - “Building Healthy, Equitable Communities for Children and Families” – ChangeLab Solutions & RWJF [TA Grant - Awarded]
    2017 - “Community Investment Grant: The Roanoke Valley Community Healthy Living Index” – Freedom First Credit Union [$5,000]
    2017 - “Northwest Food Access Planning Grant” – City of Roanoke HUD Grant [$55,064]
    2016 - “Invest Health: Strategies for a Healthier Roanoke Valley” – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation & Reinvestment Fund, [$60,000]

    Professor Cynthia Edmunds, Lecturer


    M.S., Education, Rehabilitative Exercise and Adult Fitness; Virginia Tech
    B.S., Physical Education, Exercise Science; Virginia Tech

    Professional Certifications:
    American Council on Exercise (ACE):       
    Personal Fitness Trainer, Gold Certification
    Group Fitness Instructor, Gold Certification
    Weight Management Specialist

    Teaching Interests:
    Fitness and Wellness for Life, Exercise Testing and Prescription, Exercise Physiology Lab, Personal Health and Wellness

    Spending time with my family and friends; International and domestic travel adventures; outdoor activities – hiking, biking, kayaking at the beach or the mountains.

    Dr. Matthew Rearick, Associate Professor, Chairperson

    Dr. Rearick joined the department in 2005. He received a B.S. in Biology (Minor in Psychology) from Shippensburg University and Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Rearick completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship (funded through the National Institutes of Health) in the Department of Kinesiology at Arizona State University

    Teaching Interests:
    Dr. Rearick’s teaching interests are varied and include topics in both movement and exercise science (he’s taught 23 different courses in his 27 years in the classroom).  He currently focuses on Introduction to Health & Exercise Science, Motor Control & Learning and Neuromechanics. 

    Research & Scholarly Activities:
    Dr. Rearick enjoys helping students from across the College (e.g., Health & Exercise Science, Biology, Physics, Biochemistry, Mathematics and Neuroscience) conduct research projects centered around their budding interests in exercise and movement science.  He’s assisted over 60 since 2006.  Sometimes projects revolve around the physiology, psychology and mechanics of locomotion and hiking pole use.  A number of others focused on exercise training in athletes. Many were Honors projects; several were Summer Scholar.  He’s also interested in educational leadership and how best to nurture developing faculty at small liberal arts institutions.  

    For nearly two decades, Dr. Rearick has served as a grant consultant and outside evaluator for federal, state and foundation-based grants in education and health. 

    Being out-of-doors hiking, exploring, working in the yard or playing with my family and dog, Milo
    Playing music

    Dr. Taylor Rowley, Assistant Professor

    Ph.D. Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    M.S. Kinesiology, James Madison University
    B.S. Health and Human Performance, Roanoke College

    Research Interest:
    Community-based, physical activity and exercise promotion in special and clinical populations, with an emphasis on the older adult population.

    Teaching Interest:
    Clinical exercise physiology, special populations, exercise physiology, exercise testing and prescription

    Spending time with my family outside: running, biking, hiking, watersports; reading; cooking new recipes

    Recent Publications: 

    Christine E. Pacewicz, Taylor W. Rowley, Jennifer L. Savage (2022). The Role of Physical Activity on the Link Between Stress, Burnout, and Well-Being in Athletic Trainers. J Athl Train. DOI: 10.4085/1062-6050-0160.22 

    Rowley, T.W., Cho, C.C., Swartz, A.M., Strath, S.J. (2022). Validation of a Series of Walking Tests to Predict Maximal Oxygen Consumption. PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0264110 

    Strath, S.J., Rowley, T.W., Cho, C.C., Hyngstrom, A., Swartz, A.M., Keenan, K., Martinez, J., & Staudenmayer, J. (2021). Validity of a Hip-Mounted Accelerometer to Estimate Structured Activity Energy Cost in Adults With and Without Disease and Functional Limitation. Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behavior. 10.3934/publichealth.2016.2.298

    Rowley, T.W., Cho, C., Swartz, A.M., Staudenmayer, J., Hyngstrom, A., Keenan, K.G., Welch, W.A., & Strath, S.J. (2019). Energy Cost of Slow and Normal Gait Speeds in Low and Normally Functioning Adults. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. DOI: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001228  

    Strath, S. J., & Rowley, T.W. (2018). Wearables for Promoting Physical Activity. Clinical Chemistry, 64 (1) 64-71. DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2017.273532 

    Rowley, T.W., Lenz, E.K., Swartz, A.M., Miller, N.E., Maeda, H., & Strath, S.J. (2017). Efficacy of an Individually Tailored, Internet-Mediated Physical Activity Intervention in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Applied Gerontology. DOI: 10.1177/0733464817735396 

    Rowley, T.W., Espinoza, J.L., Akers, J.D., Wenos, D.L., & Edwards, E.S. (2017). Run Sprint Interval Training on Healthy Sedentary, Overweight/Obese Women: A Pilot Study. FACETS 2: 53-67. DOI: 10.1139/facets-2016-0004 

    Professor Cory Scott, Visiting Instructor


    • Ph.D. Rehabilitation and Movement Science , Virginia Commonwealth University (ABD!)
    • M.S. Exercise Physiology, Midwestern State University
    • B.S. Neuroscience.  B.S. Kinesiology and Health Science, College of William and Mary

    Research Interest:
    Metabolism and energy expenditure, with a focus on metabolic phenotypes and thermogenic proteins associated with obesity.  Wrist-worn accelerometry.

    Teaching Interest:
    Nutrition, exercise physiology, strength and conditioning, special populations.

    Cycling, coffee, family, friends, and a chocolate labrador.

    Professor Shawn Urbanek, Teaching Associate

    Shawn is a native of northeast Ohio, and attended Marietta College (OH) where he received his Bachelors of Science in Athletic Training.  While at Marietta, he was a four year member and team captain of the Men’s Soccer team.  Upon graduation from Marietta College, Shawn received a graduate assistantship from Virginia Tech Athletics to be an Athletic Trainer.  While earning his Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Athletic Training, Shawn worked with the Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Tennis, and Softball programs. 

    Scholarly Activities
    Graduating from Virginia Tech in 2009, the University of Findlay (OH) was the first stop in his professional life.  As an Assistant Athletic Trainer for the NCAA DII Men’s Soccer, Cross Country, and Track and Field programs there, he was also an adjunct faculty member teaching in the CAATE accredited entry-level Athletic Training Masters degree.   In the fall of 2011 Urbanek relocated to take a Teaching Associate and Assistant Athletic Trainer position at Roanoke College.  Teaching in the CAATE accredited Bachelors of Athletic Training Program as the Clinical Coordinator, as well as covering Women’s Field Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and Men’s Lacrosse programs as an Athletic Trainer.  In 2021, Shawn transitioned into a new role as the Associate Head Athletic Trainer, working with Women’s Field Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Swimming, and Men’s Lacrosse.  Also, in the fall of 2021, he became an intricate member of the Health and Exercise Science Major, due to the dissolving of the Athletic Training Major at the college. Currently, He is teaching various courses including clinical medicine courses, as well as emergency medicine courses. 

    Shawn resides in Salem, VA with his wife and three daughters.