Graduate Students

Leslie Camarillo

Headshot of Leslie Camarillo

Curriculum Vitae: Leslie Camarillo

Research and Professional Interests
Leslie Camarillo is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois who works under the direction of Dr. Payne. Her research interests include leisure among ethnic and racial minorities, with a particular emphasis on families and youth, culture change among immigrant families, and the effects of adaptation on recreation behavior among minority populations. Leslie is interested in exploring Latino immigrant families and their recreation behaviors, with particular emphasis on immigrant youth and the constraints they face in recreation participation.

Sohyeon Kim

Research and Professional Interests
Sohyeon Kim is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois who works under the direction of Dr. Berdychevsky. Sohyeon is interested in digital space as a liminal space with accessibility, anonymity, and affordability that allows diverse sexual expressions and experiences. More specifically, her research interests are the benefits and risks of online sexual behaviors as leisure and gender-based violence while participating in online sexual leisure activities. Through this research, Sohyeon aims to develop more effective digital sexual health intervention and literacy programs. Another research focus would include the interaction between online and offline behaviors in the leisure and tourism context. She is interested in how to facilitate offline leisure, sport, and travel participation through online leisure activities.

Xue Yan

Research and Professional Interests
Xue Yan is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois and she is advised by Dr. Liza Berdychevsky. Her research interests include social justice of individuals’ leisure life, with a particular focus on transgender community. Xue is also interested in positive sexuality on gender and sexual minorities’ leisure and recreation participation and sexual health education.

Etienne Fields

Headshot of Etienne Fields

Research and Professional Interests
Etienne L. Fields (He, Him, His) is a Ph.D. student in the department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism.  He is advised by Dr. Kim Shinew and Dr. Liza Berdychevsky.  His research interests are video game recreation, and racial and gender representation and equity. Etienne is interested in exploring the development cycle of video games with a focus of how diversity of race and gender inform set and character design, and narrative choice. Along with this, he is interested in researching how in game narratives and in-game player choices inform and reflect U.S. culture at large.

Latashia Key

Research and Professional Interests
Latashia Key is a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and she is advised by Dr. Toni Liechty.  Latashia’s academic background focus includes a B.S. in Physical Education with an emphasis in Sport Administration from Morgan State University as a full-ride Track & Field athlete and an M.S. in Kinesiology from Indiana University.  With over 20 years in the sports and wellness industry, her journey has led her to return back to education to fulfill her lifelong goal of being a university professor.  Her current research interests include African American women & girls as it relates to recreation, physical activity, and sports.  Another research interest would include African American youth and their relationship with their community through physical activity, recreation, and sport.

Ebenezer Narteh Nartey

Headshot of Ebenezer Narteh Nartey

Research and Professional Interests
Ebenezer Narteh Nartey is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Eben’s advisor Dr. Liza Berdychevsky research path is focused on risky behaviours and vulnerable populations as well as on positive sexuality across the life span. His research interest is centred on ‘’health education and interventions related to risky behavior in the recreation and tourism context’’. Predominantly, Eben wants to understand the engagement of alcohol in recreation and leisure and how it informs leisure pursuits. This interest is not only limited to alcohol engagement in leisure but risky behaviours leisure seekers encounter but possible interventions that will influence their wellbeing and complete lives.

Jazmin Pazmino

Research and Professional Interests
Jazmin Pazmino is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois who works under the direction of Dr. Stodolska. Her research interests include issues of gender, empowerment, and Latina women’s recreational sport participation. Jazmin completed her BS degree at the University of Illinois in 2015 double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. In 2018, she earned her MS degree in Kinesiology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her degree focus was on exercise and Sport Psychology. 

Solomon Siskind

Research and Professional Interests
Solomon Siskind is currently pursuing his PhD in the Recreation, Sport and Tourism program in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he also works full-time in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics as a Coordinator for Illini Way Student-Athlete Development. In this role, he aims to holistically support and develop the university’s college athletes through career and leadership development, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives, and community outreach. Siskind’s research interests are in DEIB in and through sport, athlete activism, and the Black college athlete experience. He received both his bachelor’s degree as a double major in sport management and sociology and his master’s in sport management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Prior to the University of Illinois, Siskind spent a year working in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Office of Inclusion as a member of the NCAA’s Postgraduate Internship Program (PGIP). He is a native of Brockton, Massachusetts.

Darrien Watson

Headshot of Darrien Watson

Research and Professional Interests
Darrien Watson is a PhD student at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign in the Recreation, Sports, and Tourism Department. Prior to attending UIUC, he attended the University of Tennessee-Knoxville where he earned his Master’s in Recreation and Sports Management with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. His research interest is leisure among race and ethnic groups in society.  His interest also involves the influence of culture in African American leisure and the navigation of barriers for diverse ethnic families. Upon gaining his doctorate, Mr. Watson plans to be a professor at a research university. Mr. Watson aspires to utilize his research to be an advocate for recreational opportunities for underserved populations and contribute to increasing diversity in higher education.

Juan Carlos Acevedo

Research and Professional Interests

Juan Carlos Acevedo is a Ph.D. student whose research and professional interest focus on the methods and strategic plans park and recreation agencies implement to provide equity and inclusion in recreation and park programming.

Kshitij Tewari

Research and Professional Interests

Kshitij is a second year doctoral student in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism (College of AHS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is an architect (Bachelors) and an Environmental Planner (Masters). Through his research, he is exploring the intersections of Leisure studies and Queer/Trans Studies. He is currently working on identifying the factors that influence the outdoor recreation experiences of LGBTQ+ youth and adults. His research interests are: DEI in Leisure, Environmental Justice, Deviant Leisure, Green Gentrification, Leisure constraints negotiation, Outdoor Recreation, and Social Justice. Currently he is also serving as the Graduate Student Representative on the DEI committee of the College of AHS

Jeffrey Hudson

Research and Professional Interests

Jeffrey is a first-year Master’s student in the Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism. He plans to do research regarding racial inequity in green spaces within inner city communities. He is excited to see where this program takes him in the future.