Graduate Programs

Physical Education and Recreation Graduate Student Society

"Enhancing social, athletic and academic opportunities for graduate students"

Mission Statement

The Physical Education and Recreation Graduate Student Society (PERGSS) is a graduate student organization designed to provide academic, social, and athletic opportunities for the graduate students in Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. PERGSS strives to promote, provide, and organize professional and academic support for its members. In addition, the organization acts as a mediator between the Faculty and graduate students.

Volunteer Activities

If you are looking for volunteers for a Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation or UAlberta-related event, send us an email at and we may be able to advertise for you!

Stay tuned for details about our biggest fundraiser/ volunteer activity of the year- the 43rd annual Golden Bear Open January 20-21, 2017!


Printing Services

If you require printing service at the printer in the third flood grad lounge (VVC- 3-219), please contact our secretary Janita at

PERGSS Executive Members


President: Tristan Hopper

Tristan Hopper is a second year PhD student. He earned his Master’s degree from Dalhousie University and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Waterloo. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Tara-Leigh McHugh and Dr. Yoshi Iwasaki, his current research interest involve youth labeled “at-risk”, youth engagement and meaning-making in leisure. In his spare time, Tristan enjoys running, hiking, cycling and walking his English Cocker Spaniel ‘Dory’. Joining PERGSS executive team was an easy decision—Tristan really enjoys meeting fellow grad students and making a difference to our faculty.

 derek landscape

VP of Professional Development: Derek (Dong-Woo) Kang

Derek is a second year PhD student in the Behavioural Medicine Lab, under the supervision of Dr. Kerry Courneya. His research interests are how exercise can improve short-/long-term prognosis in cancer patients, particularly from the physiological perspective. He is from Seoul, South Korea, and received his BSc and MSc in Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation from Yonsei University in Korea. Before starting his PhD program, he worked at a cancer hospital as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist, responsible for prescribing individual exercise programs to cancer patients. Derek was a competitive Taekwondo athlete, a Korean traditional martial art, and in his leisure time, he enjoys playing any type of sport, especially soccer in the summer, and curling and snowboarding in the winter.


VP ReCon II: position available 

Be a part of the PERGSS executive team and lead the organization of our annual student conference and retreat in the Rocky Mountains. Each fall, students, faculty, and staff head out to explore Canadian wilderness and get to know one another (and our research) within the faculty! We are looking for the next leader for this event! This position is effective immediately, with planning beginning in January 2017. Please email if you are interested or for more information!


Communications: Rachel Skow

Rachel is a second year PhD Student working with Dr. Margie Davenport and Dr. Craig Steinback in the Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health. She is studying the effects of exercise on the sympathetic nervous system and cardiovascular system during pregnancy. In her spare time Rachel is a fan of reading, scrapbooking, and taking pictures of her cats to post on Instagram. Rachel joined the PERGSS executive to stay in touch with fellow grad students and to help maintain the amazing sense of community within our faculty! If you have something you need PERGSS to announce/ advertise, contact Rachel at:



NEW Danielle

Event Coordinator: Danielle Cormier

Danielle is a first year MA student studying sports psychology under Dr. John Dunn. While her true passion lies in the study of self-regulation, sports performance, perfectionism and mindfulness, she also enjoys her fair share of self-care. Asides from being an accidental poet, in her spare time she plays and coaches volleyball, cooks french-inspired cuisine, bakes with too much butter, draws typography, and watches sci-fi movies. She joined PERGSS because she recognizes the importance of a balanced life outside of the lab, and wants to share that opportunity for balance with students and faculty members alike. Do not hesitate to contact Danielle with any questions you may have, ideas for upcoming events, or recipes she should try next at:


Treasurer: Sydney Schmidt

Sydney is a second year Master’s student under the supervision of Dr. Loren Chiu working in the Biomechanics lab. She is working to develop classification systems of the medial-longitudinal arch in the foot. Prior to this, Sydney worked at the Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health with Dr. Margie Davenport and Dr. Craig Steinback. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys running in the river valley, playing sports, and reading. She joined the PERGSS executive to meet fellow graduate students in the faculty and can be reached at


Secretary: Janita Frantsi

Janita is a first year Master's student passionate about dance, friends, exercising, and now PERGSS! She came all the way from Finland to do her Master's degree here at the U of A under the supervision of Dr. Pirkko Markula. In her studies, she focuses on dance and fitness from the sociocultural perspective. When Janita is not in a dance class, she's probably hanging out with friends, instructing group fitness classes (sometimes these two together), snowboarding or baking. Janita loves to be involved, hang out with other students and help out whenever needed! As the secretary for PERGSS, she coordinates the grad printing so if you want to have it set up or have some other questions or concerns, just shoot a message to



Volunteer Coordinator: Michael Dubnewick

Michael is a 3rd year PhD student whose love for gardening, food, and recreation brought him to research. Working with Dr. Tara-Leigh McHugh, Michael narratively inquires into the experiences of recreation practitioners as they facilitate food-based recreation programs for inner city and Indigenous peoples. In his spare time he enjoys cooking and spending his entire Sunday watching NFL football. He joined PERGSS to become more involved and learn from his fellow graduate students. You can contact Michael at should you have any inquiries, interests, or ideas in regard to volunteer opportunities.

Members at large: Stephen Hunter

Stephen Hunter is a first year PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Valerie Carson. Stephen’s research interests include the ecological factors that influence physical activity and sedentary behaviour, and how these behaviours impact health in children aged 0-18 years. Outside of research Stephen loves basketball and can be frequently spotted in the main gym.