Meghann Lloyd understands the value a great mentor can have during the pursuit of higher education. She learned valuable lessons under the tutelage of Movement Science Professor Dale Ulrich while she earned her PhD in Movement Science.
Now, Meghann is passing those same lessons along to her graduate research students at Ontario Tech University in Ontario, Canada, where she serves as an associate professor and director of Kinesiology.
Meghann’s efforts were recognized this past year when she was given the 2019 Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision at Ontario Tech University, where she has taught since 2010. She was nominated by her colleagues Dr. Shilpa Dogra and Dr. Robert Balogh, with many written letters of support from her students.
“They surprised me,” Meghann said when asked about receiving the award. “I didn’t know I was getting it. It was quite a bit of an honor.”
She won the award for supervising her graduate students in the field of adapted physical activity. Her students conduct studies and interventions involving children, children with disabilities, or parents of children with disabilities. Meghann normally leaves it up to the student to choose their own research path.
Giving students the freedom to choose was just one of many lessons she took from her time with Dr. Ulrich.
“Under Dale’s guidance, I was able to learn all sorts of different things – working with the kids, working with the families, the opportunities to go to conferences and present our work at conferences, to learn from some of the best, and to be constantly reminded that we’re doing really important work,” Meghann said. “At the end of the day, the families of the kids with disabilities benefit from the work that we do. That’s a legacy that came from Dale’s supervision of me and will trickle down into my supervision of my graduate students.”
She explained that Dr. Ulrich wasn’t a micromanager, but he stayed on top of what she was doing to ensure deadlines were met.
Additionally, Meghann makes sure students get credit for their work and get opportunities to present at conferences. “Those kinds of things, when working with your graduate students, are absolutely critical to people staying in science, to people wanting to continue to pursue these research questions, and to just being really well trained for whatever career they choose,” She said.
Meghann said the biggest lesson she learned from Dr. Ulrich was even though you’re running a study and striving to collect data, always remember you’re working with real people.
“You’re working with real families, real parents of children who have hopes and dreams, and possibly a lot of concerns because they have a child with a disability,” she said. “It is our responsibility to not take that lightly and to really communicate well with the families, and to do our best to provide them with a positive experience.”
Meghann discovered her passion for motor development and movement during her undergraduate years at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. She was paired with children with disabilities through the university’s SMILE (Sensory, Motor, Instructional, Learning, Experience) program. It became a real “eye-opener” for her to see the role physical activity, motor development, and active play had in the development of a child with disabilities.
Dale really is one of the best supervisors in adaptive physical activity for sure, but I would also say in Kinesiology and North America. I feel lucky I got to work with him, and I got to learn from him. He opened doors that wouldn’t have opened for me.
Meghann completed her master’s at McGill University in Montreal before coming to U-M to pursue her PhD in Kinesiology with an emphasis on adapted physical activity. Meghann said coming to U-M exposed her to additional opportunities she wouldn’t have the chance to do, like taking a lab rotation with world-renowned autism researcher Dr. Catherine Lord.
Meghann gained the necessary skills and knowledge in her grant writing classes to land a few sizable grants from the Canadian government when she was a young professional, which helped her stand out from her fellow researchers.
Now, her research focuses on motor skill interventions and instructions for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She received a grant through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for her current study.
“Our interventions are literally motor skills. We’re teaching them how to throw, how to catch, hop, skip, jump, dribble, and strike. Basic fundamental movement skills,” Meghann said. “It’s a twelve-week intervention, twice a week for three- to five-year-olds with Autism Spectrum Disorder. And we do about 45 minutes of instruction for every lesson, and then we finish every lesson with about 15 minutes of free play.”
She has also worked with para-athletes.
Meghann’s biggest piece of advice would be to take advantage of every opportunity and remember that “the lessons that you learn at Michigan are going to stay with you, and they have a residual, or an aftereffect.”
“I just got an award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision, but I was supervised by one of the best,” she continued. Dale really is one of the best supervisors in adaptive physical activity for sure, but I would also say in Kinesiology and North America. I feel lucky I got to work with him, and I got to learn from him. He opened doors that wouldn’t have opened for me. Part of that was being a part of the University of Michigan, but a lot of it was he was an amazing supervisor for me, and I just take lessons I learned from him and apply it to my own students.”