AIESEP’s Early Career Scholars 2024!

Congratulations to AIESEP’s 2024 Early Career Scholar Award recipients! 

All five award recipients will be presenting their research on Thursday May 16th, 2024, at 2:30pm in Jyväskylä, Finland at AIESEP 2024. All conference delegates are invited to attend. 

Harry Liu

Dr. Harry Liu is an assistant professor in the Department of Education Health & Behavior Studies at the University of North Dakota (USA). He holds degrees from Shanghai University of Sport and a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Auburn University (supervised by Dr. Peter Hastie), with post-doctoral training from the University of South Carolina (advised by Dr. Ali Brian).

Harry teaches various courses at UND, including methods for teaching PE, curriculum development, and adapted physical activity. His research focuses on models-based practice in Physical Education, particularly using the Sport Education Model and Play Practice for motor skill development in children and teenagers.

He also works on interventions to prevent motor development delays and sedentary behaviors. Additionally, he is involved in programs for children with special needs and supports teachers’ professional development. Harry actively participates in national and international associations, representing UND and North Dakota in his field.

AIESEP presentation title: Promoting Motivation and Skill Development in Chinese Physical Education Teacher Education: A Hybrid Model Approach

Dan Jones

Dr. Dan Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Research Methods at Teesside University in the UK. Dan completed his PhD in 2021 under the supervision of Dr Liane Azevedo, it focussed on the association between physical activity, motor skills and school readiness in early years children. Dan’s main research interest revolve around early years health outcomes and trajectories, specifically, the benefits of physical activity for childhood health and development. 


Dan has also conducted research in older children and is currently involved in a study (with AIESEP Early Years Special Interest Group Secretary Dr Kristy Howells) exploring what Physical Education training is offered in UK Primary Education teaching programmes; Dan will present the finding of this collaborative work in Finland. Dan will also be contributing to the symposium entitled: School Readiness, Motor Skills, Physical Activity and Physical for Life – the Past and the Future.


Dan first attended AIESEP in 2019, in Long Island, where he presented preliminary findings of his PhD. Since then, Dan has attended AIESEP virtually in 2021 and 2022 and in person for the Specialist Seminar on Measuring Motor Competence in Educational Settings in 2022.


Dan has also been a keen participant and contributor to the Early Years Special Interest Group and presented at the AIESEP connect meeting on meaningful early years in 2023. Dan also published his PhD findings in the JECER Special Issue on Physical Education in Early Childhood Education edited by the EY SIG leads.


AIESEP presentation title: Teacher Education – the Core and Future of School Physical Education

Donna Niemistö

Dr. Donna Niemistö is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä (JYU, Finland). She defended her PhD in 2021 at the JYU. Her PhD included four publications in esteemed scientific journals in the field of sport sciences.

Donna is currently working on longitudinal data on how children develop their motor competence and perceived competence from 3-5 years to 13 years. Her latest works showed that children with low perceptions of motor competence at the age of 5-7 years are at risk of low perceptions and motor competence later. Therefore, in the future, she plans an intervention study to improve children’s motor and perceived motor competence at the ages of 5-6 years.

Donna has been working in research teams that develop tools to help support early childhood education and care staff and PE teachers. Her work is filling a gap in the current knowledge and understanding while developing practical, positive ways to enhance teaching and learning to enhance children’s experiences ultimately.

Donna has been part of AIESEP Early Years SIG since it was developed and started in 2016. Since then, she has presented both herself and collaboratively named on papers at all AIESEP conferences. Currently, she is a part of the scientific and organising committee of AIESEP 2024, which is held in Jyväskylä.


AIESEP presentation title: Perceived motor competence in early childhood predicts perceived and actual motor competence in middle childhood

Ping Fan

Dr. Xiaoping “Ping” Fan is an assistant professor in the Physical Education Department at State University of New York at Cortland (SUNY Cortland). She earned her doctoral degree in sport pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado in 2021, her master’s degree in physical education pedagogy from California State University, Chico in 2017, and her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Central China Normal University in 2013.

She is dedicated to advancing teacher socialization and promoting quality physical education, her research interests include teacher education, teacher professional development, and advocacy for quality physical education. In her spare time, she enjoys Yoga, Zumba, and traveling.


AIESEP presentation title: Stakeholder Recommendations for Physical Education Policy: A Multifaceted Approach

Jamie Brunsdon

Dr. Jamie Jacob Brunsdon is an Assistant Professor of Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Memphis. He holds degrees from Manchester Metropolitan University (B.A. Hons), the University of Southampton (PGCE. – supervised by Professor Kinchin), and the University of Alabama (Ph.D. – supervised by Professor Curtner-Smith). Jamie teaches various courses at the UoM, including elementary and secondary methods, assessment and evaluation in PE, foundational content and pedagogy courses, and models-based PE.

His research interests include studying teacher and faculty socialization, the philosophy of the profession of physical education, and applied virtue ethics. You can learn more about his work through the University website (, on ResearchGate (, and via X (@DrBrunsdon).

AIESEP presentation title: Human Flourishing as the Aim of Physical Education?


Picture of Cassandra Iannucci

Cassandra Iannucci

About Us

AIESEP was founded in Lisbon in 1962, with the intent of bringing together scholars in the field of physical education and sport to share knowledge and engage in quality research.

Recent Posts

Sign up for our Newsletter

Stay up to date with all the latest news & events from AIESEP