Supporting Learning and Networking
Professional conferences provide outstanding opportunities for students to network with future colleagues and learn about leading-edge developments from scholars who are giants in their field. The cost of attending conferences, however, can be prohibitive.
Thanks to alumna Delores Curtis, kinesiology students in the physical education teacher certification program are able to attend the annual meeting of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), the premiere conference in their field. Through the Delores M. Curtis Undergraduate Professional Development Fund, which is sustained by annual gifts, Illinois students are provided with the networking and lifelong learning opportunities offered by professional conferences.
Born in Valparaiso, Indiana, in 1929, Delores Curtis had no regular physical education classes until high school. She went on to get a bachelor’s degree in health, physical education, and recreation from Indiana State Teachers College, a master’s degree in women’s physical education from the University of Illinois, and an Ed.D. in teacher education in physical education, also from Illinois. Delores taught in public schools in Indiana and Illinois before transitioning into teacher education, enjoying a more than 30-year career at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
Delores was active in the Hawaii Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and served as president of the Southwest District AAHPERD. “Throughout my teaching career, I found my professional organizations at state, district, and national levels to be an invigorating source of knowledge and friendships,” she said.
Eric McClarey, senior in Kinesiology, called attending the 2014 AAHPERD Conference in St. Louis with Delores Curtis’ support an “absolute privilege.”
“As I plan to be a future physical education teacher and basketball coach, the National Strength and Conditioning Association session about building weightlifting programs for individuals was something I will use for years to come,” he said. “The conference was educational and fun. I’m grateful for the opportunity to go.”