Dr. Taniya Nagpal

Spend a few minutes getting to know our newest faculty member, Dr. Taniya Nagpal through this Q & A.

Tarwinder Rai - 12 August 2022

taniyanagpal2022.jpegThe Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreations’ newest faculty member, Taniya Nagpal, is making the move to Edmonton from Toronto. She’s looking forward to going skiing, hiking and learning to golf. But most of all — she’s excited to not be stuck in traffic all the time. 

What attracted her to the new position was the opportunity to work and learn from KSR’s faculty — most specifically all the leaders in women’s and children’s health that KSR is known for.

“The faculty includes researchers with expertise in areas that I want to develop in,” says Nagpal of her decision to trek across the country. “I saw opportunities for interdisciplinary research which really excites me. I saw opportunities for collaboration, growth, mentorship and endless learning.”  

Nagpal’s passion lies in exploring the psychosocial factors that influence health-related behaviours and she’s looking forward to using her research to create new intervention strategies to increase accessibility to physical activities. 

Take a few moments to get to know Dr. Nagpal! 

What will you be teaching?
This fall I will be teaching HE ED 110 – Introduction to Health and Personal Well-Being.

What is the focus of your research?
My research program will explore psychosocial factors that influence adherence to health behaviours such as physical activity in the reproductive years — preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum. In particular, we will explore health-related stigma, such as weight stigma, experienced in the reproductive years and implications on health behaviours and outcomes. Using an intersectional lens, I plan to understand stigma from lived experience and apply a person-informed approach to guide research and advocacy directives. Future work will include designing and testing community-based physical activity interventions with a focus on implementing inclusive strategies to hopefully increase access and adherence. 

What do you love about the profession?
What I love about the profession is the teamwork and the continuous learning. I love working with collaborators and being a part of a research team working towards the same goal. There is always a lot to learn from researchers and from students. I want to be a lifelong student (with a backpack!), and this profession allows for that. 

What inspires you about the profession?
So many things! But if I had to choose, it’s that there’s never an end to the questions that can be asked, what can be learned and the possibilities of all that can be done. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Building positive connections with students, participants, collaborators and mentors.

What are you looking forward to the most in your new position?
I am looking forward to being in a position to build new connections with researchers, community members and students. As well, to really have the support and the challenge to develop a program of research, asking complex and intersecting questions related to women’s health.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
That this was the most difficult question for me to answer on your entire list!

I’m not really sure, but here are some random facts about me. I was born in India and I danced on my university Bollywood team, and continued with a Bollywood dance group for several years after that. I was the rusher on my high school flag football team. I’m a big Harry Potter and Disney fan. I once considered pursuing a career in radio or reporting, and I am a part of the tiny percentage of people who have never watched a single Game of Thrones episode. 

What’s something your co-workers do not know about you?
I am so nervous and very excited to be joining their team! But they probably already know this. 

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?
I would love to have dinner with my Nanu (grandfather). My Nanu passed away last year. He attended my graduations, my speech competitions, and my thesis defense. In fact, he read my entire doctoral thesis, and every time I published a paper, he was the first person I emailed it to. Not only did he read it, he would send me feedback on what I should do next! You must be thinking he must have done research in a related field…nope…he was an architect. He was just always genuinely interested in everything. 

What is your favourite hobby or pastime?
Yoga, dance, hiking, and number 1 — spending time with my family including the dogs. I grew up with my dog Buddy for 15 beautiful years, and we have always had a family dog since then. We welcomed Domi into our family recently. 

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?
I really don’t like to be able to hear the dryer. After I turn it on, I run away and I will try my best to drown out the noise in the apartment with music, or the TV on really loud.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
I would tell her a couple of quick and simple things: 

  1. Don’t assume you have to do something because it seems like everyone else is. Follow your own passions and you’ll be fine.
  2. It’s okay to make mistakes; in fact, that’s what will make you grow! Be kind to yourself.
  3. Go to class, it’s so much easier than just trying to read the textbook. 
  4. The boy you keep saying no to going on a date with, will eventually be your husband. 
  5. Give it your best shot, don’t worry about the outcome. 

Anything you'd like to add?
I am really looking forward to getting to know the campus community! Thank you for the warm welcome.