Department of Kinesiology
Kinesiology Assistant Professor Priscila Caçola has been helping children improve their motor skills since she was a 15-year-old ballet teacher in her native Brazil. Getting a bachelor’s degree in physical education seemed natural, but she knew she wanted to go further.
So in 2006, after earning a master’s degree in motor behavior, Caçola left her job as a rhythmic gymnastics coach in her hometown of Curitiba, sold her few belongings, and headed for the United States. She had money for an English-language course and the determination to enter a doctoral program. She came to UT Arlington in fall 2011 after completing her Ph.D. in motor neuroscience at Texas A&M University.
Her research focuses on cognitive processing problems that cause about 6 percent of American school-age children to have significant coordination difficulties. Dr. Caçola is enrolling children for a project called the Little Mavs Movement Academy. Her goal: find ways to help them overcome the social isolation that often accompanies developmental delays. “I’m actually trying to combine the methods that research shows have been successful one on one and put them in a group setting,” she says. “I want to give these kids the opportunity to work with other kids like them.”