Leadership Team

Executive Director

Photo of Dr. Whitley Stone

Whitley Stone, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Western Kentucky University. Whitley serves the kinesiology community as a member of the executive board for the International Journal of Exercise Science and Topics in Exercise Science and Kinesiology journals. Whitley enjoys teaching undergraduate courses in exercise science, particularly introduction to kinesiology and physiology of exercise. Her research area is currently focused on physical activity patterns in populations with impaired gait (e.g., spinal cord injury, Down syndrome) as well as innovative teaching modalities for adult learners. Currently, she is finalizing work on the second edition of Practical Content for Beginning Kinesiologists, a text she coauthors with Dr. Matthew Garver.


Board of Directors

Photo of Dr. Scott Lyons

Scott Lyons, PhD, FASCSM is a Professor of Exercise Physiology in the School of Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport (KRS) at Western Kentucky University (WKU). Dr. Lyons has served previously at WKU as Dean of the Graduate School, Director of the School of KRS, Associate Dean for Research of the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), and Coordinator for both the undergraduate program in Exercise Science and the graduate program in Kinesiology. Dr. Lyons also serves as Editor for the International Journal of Exercise Science (IJES), and in 2016 he published, along with two other colleagues, a new Fitness & Wellness textbook. Dr. Lyons was recognized in 2016 as a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Lyons joined the faculty at WKU in August 2004. During his time at WKU, Dr. Lyons has coordinated and led a study abroad group to Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities in China during the 2008 Summer Olympics, he has spoken internationally in China, Malaysia, and the Philippines, he has been recognized by CHHS for faculty excellence in both research and advising, and he is a member of the WKU Libraries’ Hall of Fame for his work with IJES.

Photo of Dr. James Navalta

James Navalta, PhD, FASCSM an Associate Professor, James joined the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences teaches anatomical kinesiology and applied exercise physiology within the undergraduate program, and evaluation of physical work capacity and advanced exercise physiology within the graduate program. Navalta’s research focuses on the immune response to exercise (lymphocyte apoptotic and migratory responses), physiological responses to outdoor exercise (hiking and trail running), and the validity of wearable technology. Navalta earned his bachelor’s in physical education and biology from Brigham Young University – Hawaii, his master’s in kinesiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and his Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Purdue University. He is the co-founder and an Executive Editor of the International Journal of Exercise Science. He is also on the editorial boards of Corpoconsciência Journal, and the Journal of Modern Physiological Research.

Photo of Dr. Samantha Johnson

Samantha Johnson, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Exercise Science program at Middle Tennessee State University. Samantha earned a PhD in Human Performance from Middle Tennessee State University, an MS in Exercise Science at the University of North Alabama, and a BS in Exercise Science from Northern Kentucky University. Her research focuses on promoting longevity in older adults, aiming to improve our understanding of the changes in function over time and identifying interventions to facilitate improvement or mitigate losses. In addition, Samantha has an interest in pedagogical research, where she studies best practices in teaching and learning within higher education. She currently serves as a Senior Associate Editor for the International Journal of Exercise Science and as a founding Executive Editor for Educational Practices in Kinesiology.

Photo of Dr. Matthew Garver

Matthew Garver, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Exercise Science at University of Central Missouri. He serves as program coordinator of the kinesiology program. He earned degrees from Lee University, Central Washington University, and his PhD in Exercise Science from The Ohio State University. Prior to UCM, he taught at Abilene Christian University. He is a dedicated faculty member, and he earned College Faculty of the Year at ACU and was named UCM Governor’s Excellence in Education Award winner in 2018. Matt is active in the regional and national American College of Sports Medicine, reviews for several journals, and serves ICSK as the chair of the Convince Me in 3 Committee for Student Research Week. He and Dr. Stone are completing the 2nd edition of "Practical Content for Beginning Kinesiologists" in spring of 2021.

Photo of Dr. Layci Harrison

Layci Harrison, PhD, ATC is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Master of Athletic Training Program at the University of Houston. Layci earned a PhD in Health and Human Performance from Middle Tennessee State University, an MS in Exercise Science from Cumberland University, a BS in Athletic Training from Lock Haven University, and has been a certified athletic trainer since 2013. Layci’s research is focused on injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, and movement screenings. As an active member of both the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, Layci serves on various regional and national committees. She is a reviewer from multiple journals, including the International Journal of Exercise Science. Layci serves ICSK as the Director of the Speaker Series for Student Research Week.

Photo of Dr. Kayla Baker

Kayla Baker, PhD, CSCS is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Western Kentucky University. Kayla earned her PhD in Exercise Physiology from the University of Central Florida. Her research interests revolve around using adventure sports (e.g., mountain biking, hiking) to improve levels of physical activity, confidence, and exercise enjoyment in the youth and adult populations. Kayla’s primary joy is working with students, whether it be in the classroom or working together in research. Kayla currently serves as ICSK’s Run Outside the Lines Director for Student Research Week.


Committee Members

Jill Maples, PhD
  • Convince Me in 3- Committee Member
  • University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
  • Veronika Pribyslavska, PhD
    • Convince Me in 3- Committee Member
    • Arkansas State University
    • Rachel Tinius, PhD
      • Speaker Series- Committee Member
      • Western Kentucky University
      • Robert Lockie, PhD
        • Speaker Series- Committee Member
        • California State University, Fullerton