Karina Branje

MSc Kinesiology candidate

Why Dal?

After completing my undergraduate degree at Dalhousie, I knew continuing with my graduate degree here would be the right fit. My four years in Kinesiology were rigorous, memorable and eye opening. If it weren’t for my now supervisor, Dr. Michelle Stone, and fellow professors, I would have never known research was the right path for me.

I realized a graduate degree in Kinesiology doesn’t necessarily lock you into the world of academia. If that’s not what you aim for, it allows you to strengthen connections and create new ones, while further building your resume and expanding your experiences. But who knows – maybe still fall in love with research!

My time at Dal has led me to become a Healthy Populations Institute Student Scholar helping me to create relationships and friendships with other student researchers within the health field. This program has given me a strong support system with people who have, are and will be going through similar steps within their research.

Research interests

I was fortunate enough to start working on the Physical Literacy in the Early Years (PLEY) project (Drs. Sara Kirk and Michelle Stone) a year and a half ago. In my undergrad I researched how physically active Nova Scotian preschoolers are, as well as the elements that impact their physical activity behaviours while they are in childcare. For my master’s thesis I am using a mixed-methods approach to explore the relationship between outdoor play with loose parts and Nova Scotian preschoolers' physical literacy levels.

I am passionate about helping our community reach its physical activity recommendations and finding new ways to increase participation. Promoting physical activity in the early years seems natural and intuitive as this is a time when people often develop their physical activity behaviours.

Outside of school

One of the many things my Kinesiology undergrad degree taught me was time management skills, allowing me to work outside of school. I am currently a teaching assistant for HAHP 2000 (Human Growth and Development), a physiotherapist assistant, and working as a research assistant for Dr. Stone on the PLEY project. I also love taking advantage of the Nova Scotian outdoors with friends and going out to the delicious and welcoming restaurants that line most Halifax streets.

Awards and Conferences

  • Dalhousie Graduate Scholarship, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University. September 2018.
  • Crossroads Interdisciplinary Health Research Conference, Halifax, NS, 2018.
  • Healthy Living Healthy Life Conference, Halifax, NS, 2018.