The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) has spent the last few weeks sharing the profiles of this year’s new faculty members, who took the time to answer a series of questions designed to help students and colleagues get to know them better. In this series of new faculty profiles, members of different departments share their background, research interests, hobbies, and more.

This week’s series profile features Dr. Samantha McDonald, an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation.

What originally got you interested in kinesiology and recreation?

As an undergraduate, elite athletes fascinated me. However, following graduation I worked at an acute care unit and became interested in exercise and disease, especially among children. I pursued a master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science focusing on aerobic fitness in middle school youth. I continued this interest in the early part of my Ph.D. program, however, in the midst of collaborating on a theory of childhood obesity, the potential of mothers to predispose their babies to obesity via their exercise and nutritional behaviors was intriguing, which led me to my current line of research.

What drew you to pursue a career at ISU?

The sense of a “small environment” coupled with the excellent resources available was the perfect atmosphere for me to teach and conduct research! Also, the KNR faculty provide great support for one another’s goals, creating a collaborative environment.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching?

Seeing the students get excited when the “light bulb” is illuminated.

What are your research interest areas? Any items on the agenda you’d like to share?

My research focuses on the effects of exercise during pregnancy on the health of the mother and neonate. I plan to examine the influence of cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength in mid and late pregnancy on maternal and neonatal health outcomes (e.g., body fat, metabolism) and to quantify the energy expenditure of pregnant women during different types of exercise.

What is one thing you want colleagues and students to know about you?

I absolutely love to laugh and am ridiculously sarcastic.

If you weren’t a professor, what other kind of job would you be pursuing?

A powerlifter.

How does it feel to become a Redbird?

Surreal! You always question whether you will ever get that dream job…and I did!

Do you have any goals for the upcoming year?

Continue to improve my teaching, publish two to three papers, and run a 5K!

Interested in hearing more about opportunities within the School of Kinesiology and Recreation? Check out their website to learn more.