Alumni Spotlight: Allie Schmaltz

How did UNT’s College of Education prepare you for your career? I felt extremely prepared by the University of North Texas. The education staff at UNT did their best to mimic, discuss and simulate real classroom situations, something that is typically a very trying test. Going into my career as a teacher I had numerous resources at my disposal thanks to the wonderful faculty at UNT.


What was the most valuable thing you learned at UNT? To value each student and their background. I learned this ideology from Dr. Young while taking her “Teaching in Diverse Populations” course. She ingrained in me how important it is to relate to all students, not just the ones you identify with.


Why did you choose the UNT College of Education? I knew how renowned their education department was. I have known since I was in the fourth grade that I wanted to teach. Since that year, every decision needed to lead me to the best possible path of becoming a great teacher. Attending UNT was the obvious choice.


What led you to a career in education? I’m not sure if it was my innate need to be in charge or my love of people that first sparked my interest in teaching, but ever since I can remember I wanted to be an educator. I would play “school” with my brother and sister complete with lessons, assignments, tests and grades. The grades tended to reflect my current opinion of my siblings rather than their actual learning.


How did you feel when you won Teacher of the Year? I was in shock! I did not think a second year teacher deserved such a prestigious honor. It wasn’t until after speaking with my students that I truly understood why I was given the award; I care about them. Sometimes, in education, we forget that we are teaching human beings. Caring about them as such goes a long way.


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UNT KHPR faculty show global, national reach

Faculty in the UNT College of Education’s Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation have spent this week representing the department and demonstrating its expertise on a global and national scale.

John Nauright, new professor and department chair, will present the keynote speech at the European College of Sports Science Annual Congress in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday, July 9. The speech will be streamed live online via the ECSS web channel. The theme of the Congress is "Crossing Borders Through Sports Science," and Nauright’s speech will examine "Crossing Borders in Global Sport." The Congress consists of more than 2,800 delegates from around the world and is the leading sports science organization in Europe.

Stateside, KHPR faculty spoke at the National Strength and Conditioning Conference in New Orleans this week. Brian McFarlin, associate professor, spoke about the biological process of inflammation following muscle injury and identifying areas of this process that may be good targets for nutritional intervention. Jakob Vingren, also an associate professor, spoke about the effects of alcohol on exercise performance. The conference aims to bridge the gap between innovative science and applications in exercise and athletic performance. 


Photo: The European College of Sports Science Annual Congress in Vienna opened this week with a performance of Mozart concertos.

Education doctoral student wins national dissertation fellowship

University of North Texas doctoral student Nydia Sánchez has won the prestigious National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year. Sánchez was one of 35 winners out of a pool of nearly 400 applicants and is the first UNT student to win the award.

Barrett Taylor, Sánchez's faculty mentor, is an assistant professor of counseling and higher education. He said receiving the fellowship marks Sánchez as one of the top students in the country.

"This is a highly competitive national award," Taylor said. "To secure it, Nydia competed far beyond UNT. She stood toe-to-toe with students in education, the social sciences, policy analysis and other interdisciplinary fields that study education, and she emerged as one of the best in the country."

Sánchez's dissertation is on Latino border town students from Texas who are part of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. The working title of her dissertation is "Educational Uplift Along the U.S. – Mexico Border: How Students, Families, and Educators Cultivate a College-Going Culture in Contested Terrain."

Sánchez herself is a Gates Millennium Scholar from a border town – Brownsville, Texas. She said her personal experiences inspired her research.

"I never knew my experience growing up on the border was different until I went away for college," she said. "It was not until I was in graduate school that I reflected on its significance in my educational trajectory."

Sánchez first became interested in the field of higher education after helping her siblings get into college. As an undergraduate student, she invited her sisters to live with her during the summer semesters – a tradition that continued with her brothers. During those months, she took them on road trips to visit different universities.

"I like to tell people that my fate in higher education was written in the stars the day my little brother was born" she said. "Studying higher education formally was an outgrowth of a very real, practical need to help my siblings and other low-income, first-generation college students like me get to college."

Sánchez received her Bachelor of Science in economics from Texas A&M University – College Station. She continued her studies at UNT, receiving a Master of Science in higher education, and she is now working on her Ph.D. in the same field.

When asked what she wants to do after she receives her Ph.D, Sánchez said she wants to continue to conduct research and write about issues of access and equity in higher education.

"This fellowship is a great honor and privilege," she said. "It means a lot to me because I have been given the gift of time to sit down and use my words to paint a picture of these students, their families and their community."

UNT's Priest Center selected for elite forum

The UNT Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education was one of 12 community college leadership programs selected by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to participate in its Dialogue on Doctoral Programs held June 16-17 in Washington, D.C.

At this meeting, participants had the opportunity to discuss with AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus research and issues that affect the direction and mission of community college leadership programs. Bumphus emphasized the large number of leadership transitions that occur annually at community colleges, and the importance of the AACC Leadership Competencies for those who aspire to successfully lead 21st century community colleges. Participants were able to provide input on the curricular fit of the competencies, and share trends in higher education leadership programs.

The Priest Center was represented by its director, Beverly L. Bower, pictured above with UNT Higher Education Program doctoral graduate Martha Ellis ('96), dean of faculty and professor at National American University, who also attended the meeting.

2016 Education Leadership Conference

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 2:00pm to 10:00pm

Crucial Conversations on Equity and Excellence

A conference for educators in positions of leadership at the K-12 and university levels (superintendents, district and school leaders, teacher leaders, university leadership, deans, chairs, program coordinators)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 8am - 4pm
Gateway Center
University of North Texas

Denton, TX

Detailed conference information and registration is available on the conference website.

8th Annual Adventures in Autism Intervention and Research Conference

Saturday, July 30, 2016 - 1:30pm to 9:30pm

Annual conference for educators, professionals, researchers and parents, hosted by the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center

  • Discover the latest in autism research, intervention and therapies from knowledgeable experts

  • Network with hundreds of parents and professionals from the autism community.

Renowned Keynote Speakers and 20+ Presentations

Morning Keynote Address by Dr. Connie Kasari (UCLA):  “Update on Interventions – Active Ingredients and Deployment in the Community.”  Dr. Kasari will also conduct a breakout session on “School-based Interventions and Social Development in ASD.”

Paul Collins, a featured writer on National Public Radio, and author of Not Even Wrong: A Father’s Journey into the Lost History of Autism, will discuss “The Next Adventure,” an update about his son’s education and therapy, and the challenges of serving young adults with ASD.  Paul’s breakout session will address his perspectives about the differences between best practices and actual practices.

Additional Breakout Session Topics include:

  • Reducing aggressive behavior in children with autism
  • Developing executive functions
  • Antecedent strategies for parents, teachers, and practitioners
  • The role of community and social supports for college students with ASD
  • Academic accommodations: evidence-based strategies
  • “Make it, or Break it!” The case for technology in autism
  • Social-communication skills and ideas for teaching
  • A function-based approach to comprehensive behavioral programming
  • Autism in the 21st Century – technologies for professionals and parents
  • Autism and pseudo-science

Detailed information is available on the conference website.

DFST Summer Practicum Career Fair

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 10:30pm to Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 12:00am

Chestnut Hall 120

flyerCome join us to learn more about internships and working with community and social service organizations focused on bettering the lives of children and families.

All majors are welcome!

Explore over 20 agencies in the DFW area!

  • Camp Copass
  • The Gladney Center for Adoption
  • Vogel Alcove
  • UNT Dallas
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Dallas Association of Parent Education
  • Texas Elite All Stars
  • Community Storehouse
  • Texas Discover Gardens
  • The Reading Ranch
  • Spring Spirit Baseball
  • Spirit Horse
  • Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home
  • Child Care Associates
  • Cancer Support Community
  • Prestonwood Baptist Church
  • Club SciKidz
  • Children’s Advocacy Center
  • University Behavioral Health
  • Communities in Schools
  • UNT Football
  • UNT Center for Play Therapy

UNT hosts dual-language science teacher summer institute

This month, three North Texas science teachers are becoming students again. They are taking part in a summer science institute at the University of North Texas that will help them develop lesson plans in both English and Spanish. 

"There is a great need for more scientists, especially in the Hispanic population," said Rossana Boyd, principal lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration's Bilingual/ESL Teacher Education Programs. "This institute plants the seeds with teachers who can pass on their new curriculum to their peers and students. In the end we hope to inspire English language learners to become scientists."

The teachers, Sabrina Estrada and Jonathan Hernandez from Denton ISD and Maria Estella Hernandez from Irving ISD, are spending three weeks learning from senior UNT scientists. They attend classes with research scientists, conduct experiments and develop instructional objectives to create lesson plans that will help pass on their new knowledge to English language learners.

"We are getting great feedback from the teachers," said Richard Dixon, distinguished research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. "It's also good for our team. We have researchers who are great in the lab and now they are learning to communicate their complicated research directly to the people who matter most, those who teach our children."

The teachers will also be provided with laboratory materials to share with their students. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation and runs through June 30.


Above, teachers learn as part of the summer institute.

John Nauright

Department Chair, Professor, Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation
Profile Picture
Contact Info
Physical Education Building 209-D

Dr. Nauright comes to UNT from the University of Brighton in England, where he is assistant head of school and director of the Institute of Research and Graduate Studies for the School of Sport and Service Management. He also holds visiting or honorary professorships at universities worldwide, including Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia), the University of Ghana, the University of the West Indies (Barbados), and Aarhus University (Denmark).

KHPR faculty, graduate student bring mentorship program to North Texas girls

By Mary Murphy

University of North Texas Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation (KHPR) master's student Krystal Johnson recently teamed up with KHPR professors John Collins and Scott Martin to bring Girls in the Game, a mentorship program designed to help empower young girls, to the North Texas area.

Girls in the Game is an organization that strives to help young girls find their voice, discover their strengths and lead with confidence through fun and active sports and leadership programs. The organization started in the early 1990s and is based in Chicago.  

During each season, Girls in the Game has teen-led after-school workshops for middle schoolers, leader-to-leader interviews and a Girls' Summit. Workshops are led by a "Teen Squad," a team of local high school girls who mentor middle school girls while teaching them a pre-set curriculum about sports, leadership and self-wellness.

Girls in the Game offers several different pre-set curriculums to choose from, each involving three parts: a sport, a leadership skill and a topic concerning personal health or image. For this semester of Girls in the Game, Johnson and Collins chose a program that would teach girls about basketball, healthy relationships and self-identity. Girls in the Game provided them with a guiding playbook tailored to this curriculum.

"There are not many female-only programs developed to address the whole being of self," Johnson said. "This is exactly what Girls in the Game is about – addressing the whole being of females through sports, health, leadership and lifestyle. Knowing how important and impactful those traits are in the development of a young person made me want to be a part of the program."

Johnson, who is the UNT university coordinator for Girls in the Game, had to organize a Teen Squad before the season could begin. Johnson reached out to Dan Ford, principal of Denton High School, and Rhana Ramos, girls athletic coordinator for Denton High, to help find girls for the spring Teen Squad. Ramos hand-selected 16 female athletes who were willing to participate, all of whom were sophomores and juniors who played varsity sports at Denton High.

 Before they could begin teaching workshops, the Teen Squad had to attend a three-hour training course with Johnson. The squad members had to learn the playbook they were responsible for teaching to the middle school girls. Each member received a $500 college scholarship from Girls in the Game, which will be held in a bank account until they graduate from high school and are accepted into college.

Not only did Teen Squad members receive scholarship funds and get to mentor middle school girls, but they also participated in leader-to-leader interviews, where they learned more about possible future careers and opportunities, and visited the office of Fossil Group Inc., which funds Girls in the Game, in Richardson.

Johnson also coordinated a leader-to-leader interview featuring a college panel that included Sandy Nguyen, a UNT Recreation, Event and Sports Management graduate student and Pohl Recreation Center Aquatics graduate assistant; Christina James and Michelle Budet, teaching fellows in UNT's KHPR program; and Shahaf Bareni, a UNT Recreation, Event and Sports Management graduate student and a UNT track and field high jumper. The Teen Squad listened to their personal stories and asked questions about time management, challenges transitioning from high school to college, and more.

During the season, Johnson had multiple tasks to accomplish. She had to choose the curriculum, train the Teen Squad, visit and contact middle schools to spread the word about Girls in the Game, find workshop participants, plan leader-to-leader interviews, and compile data from previous workshops. On top of this, she was getting ready to graduate in May 2016.

"The last three weeks [of the semester] were probably the toughest three weeks of my life, trying to organize this and time commitments," Johnson said. "I just had to keep in mind what I was doing it for, the end goal – it was for the girls, the sport, their opportunities. That motivated me to keep my composure and get through it. I'm happy it turned out so well."

Around 100 middle school girls participated in the four after-school workshops held at Denton's McMath and Calhoun middle schools throughout this Girls in the Game season. The largest workshop consisted of 53 girls from McMath Middle School who stayed after school to learn about basketball, healthy relationships and self-identity.

After the season ended, all of the season's participants and their families came together on May 21 for the Girls' Summit. The Teen Squad had to work together and organize the entire Girls' Summit event – from selecting activities to organizing supplies and leading the program.

The Teen Squad also had to choose a different curriculum for the Summit since all of the attendees were middle school girls who had participated in previous workshops. They decided to teach girls at the Summit about volleyball skills, body image and goalsetting.

According to Johnson, several girls at the Summit approached her to ask if they could be involved with Girls in the Game's next season. An eighth-grader planning to attend Denton High School even asked her if they could be a part of the next Teen Squad.

Faculty members Martin and Collins see future research opportunities with the program, including tracking the number of girls involved, their behavior, amount of involvement and more to gauge the program's effectiveness and impact.

After Girls in the Game's first season in North Texas, Johnson is already seeing proof of the program's value.

"The teens have improved their public-speaking skills, leadership skills, and strategic and critical thinking skills that they can put to use outside of Girls in the Game," Johnson said. "For the younger girls, it's a great feeling to see them make new friends at the workshops and engage in activities that they have never played before."

Johnson plans to continue helping with Girls in the Game during its tentative fall 2016 season in North Texas. For more information about the program, visit