Welcome to the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects

Director, Office of Research & Sponsored Projects
Robert W. Pettitt, PhD, FACSM, ATC, CSCS
Phone: 801-734-6855, Email: [email protected]
Dr. Bob Pettitt - Director of University Research
Dr. Pettitt is full professor in the PhD Health Science Program and Director of the Office of Research & Sponsored Projects.  He is a former full professor and chair of the Department of Human Performance at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He has a PhD in Exercise & Sport Science from the University of Utah and is a research fellow with the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Pettitt has published over 80 peer-review articles, over 80 research abstracts, and the textbook Exercise Physiology Laboratories with Kendall-Hunt Publishing.  Check out Bob’s research on Google Scholar.
Thomas Cappaert, PhD, ATC, CSCS
Associate Director, Office of Research & Sponsored Projects
Program Director, PhD in Health Sciences

Phone: 801-734-8332, Email: [email protected]
Dr. Thomas Cappaert - Associate Director of University Research Dr. Cappaert is a Professor of Biostatistics in the PhD Health Science Program and Associate Director of University Research. He received his PhD from the University of Toledo and teaches Biostatistics and assists in the dissertation preparation phases for students in the PhD program. Dr. Cappaert serves as a manuscript reviewer for journals including the Journal of Athletic Training, the Athletic Training Education Journal, The Journal of College Science Teaching, Journal of Applied Physiology, the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research and for several other journals. He is a Certified Athletic Trainer, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and an ACSM Certified Exercise Specialist.  Check out Tom’s research on Google Scholar or ResearchGate Profile.

Tamara Nancy Gravano, PT, EdD, DPT, GCS, CEEAA
Director of Survey Research

Associate Professor, Physical Therapy
Phone: 801-734-6853, Email: [email protected]

Dr. Tamara Gravano - Director of Survey Research
Dr. Gravano is an Associate Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and the Director of Survey Research at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She earned her BHS, MSPT, and transitional DPT from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida and completed her EdD in Leadership studies (emphasis in Higher Education Administration) from Marshall University.

Gravano is one of the first two graduates of the first Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program (2004), and earned the APTA Emerging Leader award in 2007, and Lucy Blair service award in 2017. She currently serves her profession on many American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) committees: Editorial review board member for the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, Board member of the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE), Board of Directors of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy (AGPT), and founding Chair of the AGPT Residency and Fellowship Special Interest Group. She is a past (2010-2012) Chair of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties Geriatric Council, and is a former Item Writer for the National Physical Therapy Board Examination of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Dr. Gravano is also the co-director and faculty member for the AGPT Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults (CEEAA) course series and a Certified Clinical Instructor Trainer for the APTA. Dr. Gravano’s teaching interests are in geriatrics and the integumentary system, and her clinical practice is in skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation. Current research interests are Leadership in Higher Education, Pedagogy, PT Clinical Education, & Fall Prevention.

Emily Dykstra, PhD
Statistical Analyst, Office of Research & Sponsored Projects
Emily Dykstra
Dr. Emily Dykstra is a Statistical Analyst for the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs and the Associate Director of Institutional Research in the Office of Strategy and Engagement. Dr. Dykstra graduated from the University of South Dakota with a PhD. in Educational Psychology, with an emphasis in Research Methods and Statistics, and Human Development. Dr. Dykstra can advise faculty and students in best practices of data analysis—qualitative and quantitative, as well as statistics consulting on research projects, journal articles, and theses/dissertations. She is also available to sit on theses and dissertation committees and help students with research methods and design questions as they enter capstone and dissertation phases.

Administrative Assistant, ORSP and SLPD Program
Ashley Miller
Ashley Miller - Administrative Assistant University Research

Ashley Miller is very excited to be joining us here at RMU as an administrative assistant for ORSP. Ashley is a Utah native, born & raised in Spanish Fork, Utah. She attended college in Idaho & Utah, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Marriage, Family, & Human Development from Brigham Young University in 2005. She did some graduate work in school counseling at the University of Phoenix. She worked for the State of Utah in the Office of Recovery Services for 2 years after college, before leaving the work world to stay at home with her kids. During that time, she received a medical transcription certificate and worked from home as a medical transcriptionist. In her free time, Ashley loves reading, singing, & spending time with her husband & 2 children.

Residential Research Assistant
Sarah Fretti, MS, ACSM-CEP, EIM Level III
Sarah Fretti
Sarah Fretti is a current PhD student in the Health Promotion and Wellness concentration track at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Sarah is a former instructor in the Exercise Physiology program at Valdosta State University where she also served as the Wellness and Fitness Director of the Center for Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Valdosta State University (2010) and her M.S. in Exercise Science from Florida State University (2012). Sarah is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Her research and practice interests include risk management and responses to exercise related to metabolic syndrome, proper exercise programming for older adults, population health management, and wellness coaching.
Residential Research Assistant
Michael Kantor, M.S., EP-C, EIM Level II
Michael Kantor - Residential Research Assistant
Michael Kantor is a current PhD student in the Human Performance concentration track at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. He completed a B.A in Exercise Science at Augsburg University, Minnesota in 2016 and M.S. in Exercise Physiology at Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2018. While at Minnesota State University, Mankato he worked as a Teaching Assistant where he taught Human Anatomy, and interned in Cardiac Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic. Before starting his PhD, he worked as a Personal Training Director at LA Fitness. His research interests include examining the applications and physiological variables that influence the Critical Power Concept, and the role exercise contributes in treating chronic conditions. Currently he works as a Residential Research Assistant at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.
Residential Research Assistant
Dane Bartz, MS, CSCS, USAW
Michael Kantor - Residential Research Assistant
Dane Bartz is a current Ph.D. student in the Human & Sport Performance concentration track at the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Dane is the Owner/Director of Linked Fit, which is located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Dane is currently a Michigan Advisory Board Member through the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences: Exercise Science from Oakland University (2014) and masters degree in Exercise Physiology & Adult Fitness from the University of Akron (2016). Dane is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association. Danes coaching and research interests include recovery and regeneration protocols, self-massage, flexibility, mobility, breathing methods, heart rate variability, internal and external load monitoring, and programming for optimal recovery.

RMUoHP front door