Meet Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards
Mike Edwards
















Mike Edwards is a doctoral candidate in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management and was recently awarded a $25,000 dissertation grant from Active Living Research and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His primary research interests center on social inequality in children’s access to spaces and programs for physically active leisure, sport, and recreation. He said, “I am especially interested in leisure constraints for minority and low income children and adolescents living in rural areas.”

Mike’s dissertation, Disparities of place in access to extra-curricular school sports and physical activity in North Carolina middle schools, examines how collective social functions and practices within communities influence the material infrastructure and provision of opportunities for leisure-time physical activity in after-school and community recreation programs for adolescents. The results of this study will document the available opportunities as well as the inclusive or exclusionary policies of programs that have the potential to get adolescents active both in the school and community. Moreover, these results may demonstrate that schools and communities with large socially and economically disadvantaged populations, particularly in rural areas, have fewer opportunities for organized curricular and out-of-school physical activities for children.

Mike received his Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Master’s degree from East Carolina University in Exercise and Sport Science. But his road to NC State was somewhat unique.

Following his graduation from UNC-CH, he embarked on a decade-long professional career in minor league baseball executive management. When he was hired as the general manager of the Burlington Indians, a Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate, he was the youngest general manager in minor league baseball. Mike led organizations in Columbus, Georgia and Lake County, Ohio, and received numerous awards, including Executive of the Year on two occasions.

Edwards said, “I believe that research in parks and recreation and leisure studies can contribute significantly to social change, particularly in informing public policy aimed at reducing health disparities and improving the quality of life in children and adolescents.”

Mike also was named the Outstanding Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management graduate student for the 2007-2008 academic year.

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