MC students present research at state conference

December 10, 2002

Several Maryville College students attended the 33rd-annual Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) conference Nov. 7-9 at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn.

Dr. Danny Pierce, assistant professor of physical education, health and recreation at Maryville College, has been taking students to the TAHPERD conference for a number of years, but this year the group realized a first: speaking duties in the conference’s program. Three MC students – Daryl Randles, Noelle Rocco and Ashley Patterson – spoke at the conference, along with Associate Professor of Physical Education and Recreation Dr. John Perry.

The TAHPERD conference is geared toward public school teachers. Public school teachers often speak to undergraduates at this conference about various topics, but this year, students were selected to present research and make presentations to the teachers.

Randles, a 1998 graduate of Sevier County High School and son of Dennis and Linda Randles of Kodak, presented his senior thesis findings at the conference. A physical education major, Randles’ thesis deals with fitness testing, and the TAHPERD presentation reflected on teachers’ emphasis in the classroom and how it impacts FITNESSGRAM scores.

According to Pierce, Randles’ presentation made such an impact at the conference that he was asked to present his same presentation at Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn.

Rocco’s presentation included a hands-on participation activity dealing with non-contact rugby in public schools for girls and boys. According to Rocco’s research, rugby is becoming more and more popular within public schools, so the presentation was extremely relevant to the audience. A 1993 graduate of Ansonia High School in Ansonia, Conn., Rocco is majoring in physical education/health for K-12 teacher licensure. She is the daughter of Frederick and Doreen Rocco of Ansonia.

Patterson, the final MC student to present research at the conference, is a 2000 graduate of Clinton High School and the daughter of Donald and Sandra Patterson of Clinton. She is majoring in physical education/health for K-12 teacher licensure at the College. Patterson’s presentation focused on sex education and economics; specifically, the true cost of having a child. Patterson’s PowerPoint presentation included current information on Tennessee adolescent birth rates.

Service learning for college students was the topic of Dr. Perry’s presentation. He also led discussion on partnering special-needs elementary school children with college students.

Pierce said he was very proud to have MC students speaking at this professional conference and plans to involve them in future conferences.

“It speaks very highly of our students to have them selected to speak,” he said.

Under Pierce’s leadership, MC students are making a name for themselves nationally in the areas of health and physical education. He takes MC students to regional and state conferences almost every year. Students have traveled as far as Baltimore, Md., for a conference. Last year, Maryville College and its physical education department hosted the annual Regional Adventure Education Conference.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.