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Kellie Walters, PhD

Accepting Applicants: 
Ongoing Projects: 

Implementation and Evaluation of Smart Fit Girls (SFG):

The primary purpose of this research is to study the efficacy of Smart Fit Girls (SFG; a non-profit organization aimed at improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of adolescent girls) in girls of color. During SFG, girls will participate in activities specifically geared to improve body image and self-esteem as well as learn how to resistance train. A secondary purpose of this research is to work alongside program participants to create a more cultural responsive SFG program. During SFG, participants will explore barriers to positive self-esteem and PA which will be used to restructure existing SFG lessons, tailoring them to their needs. Finally, methods related to the delivery and institutionalization of the program will be explored, including how to best sustain the program within the community. The PI hypothesizes that 1) participating in SFG will result in improved body image, self-esteem, and PA enjoyment as compared to girls who do not participate in SFG and that 2) the processes of integrating SFG participants in the process of reviewing and adapting the SFG curriculum will lead to increased leadership and empowerment traits of program participants.


By participating in the SFG research project, BUILD scholars will develop not only as researchers, but as community ambassadors. Due to the interdisciplinary, community focused nature of this project, BUILD scholars will enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the following ways:


Quantitative data collection. Students will learn how to:

• Set up the research questionnaire(s) in Qualtrics

• Read the IRB consent script before administering the questionnaire and answer any questions the participants have during data collection

• Download and analyze the data in SPSS

• Perform pre and post fitness tests


Qualitative data collection. Student will learn how to:

• Create focus group questions

• Moderate and take notes during a focus group

• Analyze and interpret focus group data


Leadership. Students will learn how to:

• Effectively coach adolescent girls using the SFG curriculum (e.g., teaching the girls about the basics of anatomy and nutrition)

• Facilitate meaningful conversations amongst the SFG participants

• Prepare for (e.g., making sure lesson materials are available) and lead each SFG session

• Organize documents and materials to report back to research project PI


Communication. Students will learn how to:

• Successfully work with the community (e.g., school staff, community recreation centers, girls and their parents living in L.A. or Orange County) to promote and implement SFG

• Work alongside fellow BUILD scholars to promote the successful implementation and evaluation of SFG

• Lead portions of bi-weekly research meetings, reporting specifically on status of SFG implementation and evaluation


Research training. Students will complete the following trainings:

• Institutional Review Board (IRB) training

• SFG coaches training

• CPR/First Aid/AED training



Preferred Prerequisites:  

Completed two or more of the following courses with a C or better 

• Anatomy (or kinesiology)  

• Exercise testing/prescriptions  

• Physiology 

• Human development

• Basic nutrition 


    Experience working with various social media platforms (e.g., Facebook and Instagram)    

Certified in group fitness or personal training by an accredited organization (e.g., ACE, ACSM, AFAA)