Katie Wood


After attending Holmes Community College in Goodman on a tennis scholarship, Katherine E. Wood of Starkville returned to Oktibbeha County in the fall of 2015 to continue her higher education at Mississippi State.

Katie, as she is known to most, enrolled as a junior in the kinesiology department’s clinical exercise physiology program. Feeling a need to refine her university training in preparation for graduation and beyond, the former member of HCC’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society sought guidance from JohnEric Smith and Megan Holmes, both assistant professors in the College of Education department.

Holmes suggested Wood consider an undergraduate research project focused on the impact of tennis on health. With Holmes now her formal adviser, Wood began investigating issues related to adolescent stress, coping resources and health of at-risk students who were attending a studio-based summer camp.

In early 2016, Wood’s research was accepted for presentation at the Southeastern Chapter, American College of Sports Medicine. Later that year, she repeated the presentation at both the Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium of MSU’s Shackouls Honors College and the College of Education’s Research Forum. She received a College of Education undergraduate research award.

Now about to begin graduate studies under Holmes’ direction, Wood will continue examining the impact of tennis participation on health. Looking back, she says having a family involved with athletics and coaching was a great help. She also credits experiences at HCC for helping her learn how to better organize a busy schedule while managing personal priorities.

Clearly, her simple request for guidance proved critical for opening doors to the successful, multi-step academic strategy Wood is pursuing. The many positive experiences with her adviser also have led Wood to regularly encourage other MSU students to make connections and seek advice from their teachers and major professors.

“They can really help guide you based on your own strengths,” she said.

As she anticipates pursuit of a doctorate at the 139-year-old land-grant institution, Wood is emphatic: “I wouldn’t trade a thing, I’ve absolutely loved my time here.”

Click here to view more "Research Spotlights" in the College of Education.