Amelia Bruce smiles at camera in front of a backdrop of the Rotunda

Class of 2023: Amelia Bruce Leicht

Graduating with a Ph.D. in Kinesiology, Amelia Bruce Leicht will leave UVA with friends who have become “a support system of incredible individuals doing inspiring work.”

Audrey Breen

During her time at UVA, Amelia Bruce Leicht, who is from Taylorsville, North Carolina, invested her time and energy in many organizations across the University. This May, she is graduating with a Ph.D. in Kinesiology.

Q. Why did you choose the UVA School of Education & Human Development for your program of study?

I chose UVA's School of Education & Human Development for my program based on the faculty and recent research being published within the Kinesiology department, specifically the Exercise and Sports Injury Lab (EASIL). The faculty are all very well known in the field of sports medicine, and I wanted to learn and have them as mentors. 

I also was very familiar with a large portion of the Kinesiology department alumni from both the Master of Science - Athletic Training and Ph.D. programs who are also very well known in the sports medicine field, and I wanted to receive the same training that those alumni had experienced.

Q. Can you share a little bit about some of the things you have been involved in while at UVA?

During my time at UVA, I have been a part of a variety of organizations. I have been involved with Ed Council since my 2020. Initially, I was just a part of their equity committee. Then I became more involved and eventually became part of the executive board during my final year here at UVA. Ed Council has been a great gateway into other organizations both within the Ed School and across campus, such as the Hunter Student Research Conference, First-Generation Graduate Student Coalition, Graduate and Professional Council, and the Provost's Graduate Policy Advisory Committee. 

I've also been involved with our student chapter of the American Society of Biomechanics that spans across our Kinesiology department and the Biomedical Engineering department. I have really enjoyed being involved in organizations that are specific to the Ed School but also across multi-schools like the Graduate and Professional Council and the student chapter of the American Society of Biomechanics. This has allowed me to expand my network across a variety of disciplines. 

Lastly, by being involved in organizations like Ed Council, Graduate and Professional Council, and the Provost's Graduate Policy Advisory Committee, I have had the unique opportunity to be in meetings with [UVA] President Ryan, [EHD] Dean Rowley, and other individuals working at both the Ed School and university level of administration discussing and advocating for our peers on a variety of topics and policies.

Q. What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time while you’ve been here?

Finding friends that will most definitely last a lifetime. I'm so glad that through UVA our paths crossed, and we created a support system of incredible individuals doing inspiring work. Even though our time together at UVA is dwindling and we might be scattered across the country, I know I can count on these individuals to be there in both the good times and bad. We have weathered a global pandemic and tragedy; however, we also celebrated our personal and academic successes together and continue to uplift each other every chance we get. From these experiences I’ll be forever grateful.

Q. What is one thing you learned during your studies that surprised you most?

Don't be afraid to reach out to people like professors, researchers, entrepreneurs, or business leaders. People are generally really happy and excited to talk about their job, work, or research to students. From a research perspective, it can seem intimidating to reach out to talk to investigators who are leaders in their respective field. However, these same investigators were in our shoes as students at one point and can relate to that initial feeling of hesitation or nervousness. Many faculty members from both UVA and other universities whom I've spoken with have all said they enjoy when students reach out with questions about their work. You never know where these types of conversations might lead like a Ph.D. position, a job opportunity, mentorship, etc. 

Q. What will you be doing next?

Following graduation, in the short term I'll be pursuing a post-doctoral position, but my long-term career goal is to become a professor at an academic research institution conducting both research and teaching in the field of exercise science and sports medicine.

Class of 2023 Graduation Profiles

We invite you to get to know a few members of the UVA EHD Class of 2023 as we celebrate the accomplishments of the entire class.

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Research Center or Department

  • Kinesiology