Abby Fines, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Kinesiology Department at the University of Virginia, where she also received her doctorate. Her departmental program area is Kinesiology for Individuals with Disabilities, which targets teaching and research efforts toward raising awareness, appreciation, and action around disability in education and healthcare contexts. She is also the Director of Kinesiology’s Lifetime Physical Activity (KLPA) program, which offers academic courses in a variety of physical activity disciplines with the goal of providing undergraduate students essential knowledge and skills in their pursuit of a lifelong wellness journey.
AAASP recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Fines a few questions– read on to learn more!
Please share how you got involved with AAASP?
Dr. Fines: The University of Virginia and Georgia State University are two of nine partner institutions that make up the Multi-Institution Mentorship Consortium (MAMC). Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the MAMC aims to prepare leadership personnel in the field of Adapted Physical Activity to serve as higher education faculty. I (UVA) have had the privilege of working with Dr. Deborah Shapiro (GSU) through this consortium. Because we share professional and research interests, Dr. Shapiro thought I might be a good fit to take her place as she rotates off the AAASP Board. I know I have big shoes to fill, but it is an honor.
Do you have a story to share about your first impressions of AAASP?
Dr. Fines: My first impressions of AAASP were actually through my research. My doctoral dissertation focused on how to create opportunities for athletes with disabilities at the college level. My approach considered sport management across various settings and levels of play, including sport for high school students with physical disabilities. I assessed the potential of AAASP in creating greater momentum and a greater pool of collegiate disabled athletes. I believe there is a lot to learn from the models of sport put forth by AAASP.
What do you hope to “bring to the organization?”
Dr. Fines: AAASP is doing something unique within the Paralympic Movement. It is focused on sport at the high school level and, by doing so, is actually responding to the 2013 Dear Colleague Letter. Sport provided me a sense of community and belonging in high school, and the testimonies of AAASP athletes attest to the same thing. As an out-of-state Board member, I hope to be someone who can help AAASP critically examine and strategize how to expand its reach across school districts and states.
Explore our AAASP Team Page to learn more about Dr. Fines and get to know the rest of our dedicated AAASP team.