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Doctoral Students

Em AdamsEm Adams

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management 
PhD Recreational Therapy

Chair: Dr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Em's research has primarily focused on leisure constraints and constraint negotiation. She is currently studying the applications of positive psychology to improve leisure constraint negotiation, and promote high quality of life for older adults. Em's dissertation will explore how yoga interventions for older adults effect the frequency and intensity of positive emotions for older adults, and how positive emotions relate to negotiating perceived leisure constraints.

Felicia BowensFelicia Bowens

Parks Recreation and Tourism Management
PhD – Online Recreational Therapy Program

Committee Chair: Dr. Brent Hawkins
Committee Members: Dr. Marieke Chancellor, Dr. Brandi Crowe, Dr. Cheryl Dye

“Moving Beyond Medicine - HeartMath for symptom management of Lupus: Implications for Recreational Therapy”

Lupus can have a major impact on quality of life.  For many older adults, in addition to decreased mobility, the effects can dramatically limit independence.  This loss of independence can be due to incontinence, instability with walking, anxiety, stress, or depression. Most often, the remedy to alleviate secondary symptoms of Lupus is medication.  HeartMath offers an alternative to the traditional management of symptoms.  The purpose of my research will be to investigate the impact of HeartMath on the management of symptoms of Lupus and explore the impact of this intervention on the ability to decrease or manage symptoms.

Janet DonnellyJanet Donnelly

PhD - Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Committee Chair – Dr. Mary Anne Taylor
Committee Members – Dr. Jennifer Bisson, Dr. Cheryl Dye, Dr. Patrick Rosopa

“Examination of Objective and Subjective Financial Factors in Predicting Financial and Retirement Satisfaction in Male Retirees”

My research interests stem from seeking a better understanding what impacts post-retirement adjustment.  My dissertation seeks to examine the role of various financial considerations in retirement and financial satisfaction among retired men with a partner or spouse, as financial well-being is an important factor in retiree adjustment. My research also hopes to shed more light on the impact of the Great Recession on adjustment, given the relevance of this event to financial well-being.

Janet Donnelly is a doctoral candidate at Clemson University.  Her dissertation involves examining objective and subjective financial factors in order to predict financial and retirement satisfaction in retirees. Additionally, she worked as a research assistant on the HEHD Interdisciplinary Research Innovations grant, which examined how cognitive and sensory engagement of Alzheimer’s caregivers and care receivers impacts and predicts stress levels.

Snehal LopesSnehal Lopes

Public Health Sciences
PhD Applied Health Research and Evaluation

Committee chairs: Dr. Lu Shi and Dr. Cheryl J. Dye

Snehal has authored a research paper focused on analyzing the needs of caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients and the kind of social support mechanisms that caregivers have access to through online communities. The research also helped gain an understanding of how caregivers interact with other people in like situations using technology, and the benefits and problems they experience whilst communicating and seeking help online.

Pai LiuPai Liu

Planning, Design, and the Built Environment
PhD Restoration, Sustainability, and Land Ecology

Committee Chair: Dr. Matthew Powers
Committee Member: Dr. Cheryl Dye, Dr. Ellen Vincent, Dr. Mary Padua

“Culturally Sensitive Senior Center and Chinese Well-being

Investigating senior centers designed for Chinese elders in the United States”

Pai’s research interest is to improve the elder care services for ethnic groups living in the United States through the design of the built environment. Elders of minority groups have cultural demands differentiating from the majorities, especially when they gradually aging. Pai’s dissertation will explore the Chinese elderly immigrants’ preference of the outdoor environment in a culturally sensitive care facility setting.    

Caitlin TorrenceCaitlin Torrence

Public Health Sciences
PhD Applied Health Research and Evaluation

Committee chair: Dr. Cheryl J. Dye

Caitlin's primary area of interest is Alzheimer's and dementia research. The negative effects of the disease extend beyond the patient to those who provide care, often family members. Therefore, she is focused on researching and providing evidenced based resources to caregivers and promoting cognitively stimulating activities for those who have dementia.

Alysha A. Walter, MS, CTRS, LVCYTAlysha A. Walter, MS, CTRS, LVCYT

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
PhD Recreational Therapy

Chair -Dr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck
Committee members - Dr. Jasmine Townsend, Dr. Sandra Linder, and Dr. Arlene Schmid

“Select Psychological and Physical Impacts of Therapeutic Yoga for Informal Caregivers: A Feasibility Study”

My research interest and passion is to improve the lives of older adults through complementary health approaches. Therapeutic yoga is the specific complementary health approach that my dissertation will be on for informal caregivers and their loved one with Alzheimer's disease.