Texas A&M University-Kingsville Student Named Top Kinesiology Undergraduate in the Nation
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Student Named Top Kinesiology Undergraduate in the Nation

Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2016

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         For the second consecutive year, a Texas A&M University-Kingsville student is the top kinesiology student in the state and nation.

         Joel Perez, a senior exercise science/pre-PT major from Brownsville, is the recipient of the 2016 American Kinesiology Association (AKA) National Scholar Award. Perez recently received the 2016 Texas Association of College Sports Medicine Undergraduate Scholar Award from the Texas Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine as the top exercise science undergraduate in the State of Texas.

          Last year, exercise science/pre-PT major Samantha Cantu earned both prestigious awards as well. Cantu is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

          The AKA recognizes the top graduating kinesiology student in the nation at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels each year (one per category). The award recognizes exceptional academic performance, outstanding scholarly interest in a kinesiology-related field, and demonstrated leadership and service in the profession.  The other finalists for this national award were undergraduates from California State University-Bernardino, Purdue University, Kansas State University, and University of Maryland, all of whom received Honorable Mention.

          Perez, who is also the 2015-2016 Exercise Science Major of the Year from the A&M-Kingsville Department of Health & Kinesiology, will be entering the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in the fall.

          “This award signifies years of hard work and dedication,” Perez said. “It’s not always about being the smartest person to receive these prestigious awards, because I know I’m not the smartest undergrad in the nation. However, I sacrificed so much and put in countless hours in all aspects of my education to become a better overall student. My determination and work ethic paid off in the end, and I know it can for anyone else willing to work for it. I am honored to be able to bring such great recognition to the Department of Health & Kinesiology and to this university.”

          Perez credits faculty guidance and mentorship with helping him along the road to success.

          “We have a great group of professors and each have a significant part in the kinesiology department,” Perez said. “This award greatly reflects the quality of education in the department, and I cannot thank the professors enough for their shared knowledge. They are passionate about what they do, and it shows. The kinesiology department has made its mark, and I look forward to seeing them continue to develop students to be recognized at such levels in the future.”

          Kinesiology graduate student R.J. Goubeaux received an Honorable Mention for the 2016 AKA National Master’s Scholar Award, recognizing the top graduating kinesiology master’s student in the nation. Goubeaux, who received a bachelor’s from George Mason University, received the Honorable Mention for the Master’s-level award for advancing to the final round of judging against nominees from Purdue and Louisiana State University.

About the American Kinesiology Association

            The American Kinesiology Association (AKA) is comprised of departments of kinesiology, or academic units that house kinesiology-related programs (e.g., physical education, exercise science, sport management, etc.), at over 150 colleges and universities across the nation.  The Department of Health & Kinesiology at A&M-Kingsville is one of 14 AKA member departments in the state of Texas.

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