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Priscilla M. Clarkson Student Travel Award

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: January 2017 - Volume 45 - Issue 1 - p 2
doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000099
2017 Undergraduate Travel Award

The annual Priscilla M. Clarkson Student Travel Award was established in 2015 to honor the legacy of Dr. Clarkson. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Foundation will be offering one $1,000 travel award through the Priscilla Clarkson Memorial Fund. The purpose of the award is to provide assistance to help fund travel expenses accrued by one undergraduate student to present his or her scholarly work at the ACSM Annual Meeting.

Priscilla earned her bachelor's degree in Zoology, master's degree in Marine Science and Zoology, and doctorate in Exercise Science and Human Movement from the University of Massachusetts, where she subsequently became an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science and spent a total of 48 yr at the university. Because of her numerous academic achievements, Priscilla received high honors from the university, the Chancellor's Medal, and the title of Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology. She also was appointed dean of Commonwealth Honors College, where she had the opportunity to focus on mentoring students.

Priscilla was a long-time ACSM member, serving at regional and national levels including an appointment as the president of the New England Chapter and as president of the college in 2000. The college honored her with the Citation Award in 1997, as well as the Honor Award in 2005. Priscilla as served as editor-in-chief of ACSM's quarterly journal, Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews from 2006 to 2012. Her extensive academic career and service to the college shines most brightly through her passion for mentoring. A collaboration of Priscilla's former colleagues and students sought to honor and continue her legacy by creating the student travel award. They provided insight into how Priscilla impacted them directly.

  • Patty Freedson, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts, described Priscilla as having a critical impact on her when she joined as a faculty member in 1981. “She had an incredible work ethic and unselfishly dedicated herself to advancing the field through research and discovery, exceptional training of both graduate and undergraduate students, and leadership activities at the university and the profession.”
  • Janet Rankin describes when she first met Priscilla, she “quickly realized [Priscilla] was a dedicated scientist but especially focused on her students and junior professionals in our field. She saw it as her responsibility to encourage young people to do more than they thought they could do. She almost never took the limelight but, instead, highlighted the work and accomplishments of her students. She was a great role model to me in this regard.”
  • Eric S. Rawson, Ph.D., FACSM, is professor and chair of the Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Science at Messiah College: “[Priscilla] became my mentor when I came to UMass as a graduate student in 1995. Priscilla excelled at and was incredibly dedicated to scholarship, teaching, service, and mentoring. Her guidance during my graduate training put me on a path towards success and shaped what type of professional I am today. After graduation, we spoke often, and she remained my mentor throughout my career. There are very few days when I don't utilize something that she taught me. Her work ethic was extraordinary, and the amount of things she could accomplish often led me to wonder if she had managed to clone herself.” Rawson noted how Priscilla “selflessly guided a countless number of undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, junior and senior faculty, clinicians, and practitioners. She inspired a group of professionals who also believed in striving for excellence, to be forward thinking, to be dedicated in service to the profession, and to mentoring the next generation of leaders in the ACSM.”


Readers interested in contributing to the Priscilla M. Clarkson Student Travel Award fund through a designated gift should contact the ACSM Foundation (go to or call 317-637-9200).

Students interested in applying can view the award requirements and download the application at The deadline to apply is February 1, 2017.

© 2017 American College of Sports Medicine