People Like Me: James Stampley
As a self-proclaimed overachiever with a “mind for science,” James Stampley is a prime example of someone who has made something of himself through opportunities at LSU. When reminiscing on his days as an LSU football player and both a psychology and kinesiology undergraduate student, Stampley had his fair share of experiences on campus.
“As a student athlete, one of the biggest challenges that you face is how to effectively balance your time between being a competitive athlete, but also being a competitive student.”
With the glory days of LSU football behind him, Stampley certainly has not let his spirit settle. He has found his passion through the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education Kinesiology Doctoral Program. His research focus is exercise physiology – specifically, the effects of metabolism and exercise on aging. Stampley has been awarded the Economic Development Assistantship (EDA) as well as the Don Franks/President’s Challenge Fellowship. He has represented his program at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual conference and was featured on LSU President William Tate’s “On Par with the President” podcast. In addition to these achievements, Stampley believes his most special moment was winning the 2011 SEC Football Championship. This was a particularly rewarding achievement, because he got to witness all the hard work he, his teammates, and the coaching staff put into the season finally pay off.
Every person we encounter has a background and a place they call home. For Stampley, Baker, Louisiana is home. He found brotherhood within the neighborhoods of Baker and recalls a childhood filled with fond memories and wonderful people. Stampley believes he is pretty much the same person as his high school self to his core, but with just a little more wisdom and experience under his belt today. Growing up, Stampley had lots of interests that would pull him in different directions when he believed he was at a point in his life that he needed to find one thing to focus on. This required Stampley to develop a strong sense of self-discipline. With the support of his parents, Stampley found his true passion of helping others through exercise.
Stampley speaks with the utmost respect and love toward his parents and their role in his life. He explains that his parents were always tuned in to his interests and wanted to ensure that he would be passionate about whatever he pursued. Stampley spent many of his days as a young man within the walls of his father’s car repair shop. It was in this atmosphere that Stampley learned to get his hands dirty and work hard for what he wanted. He strongly believes he got his work ethic from his father. His mother, on the other hand, was his emotional support system and taught Stampley how to remain in high spirits, even through his tougher times. Stampley’s parents never questioned him or his passions and have played a huge role in who he is today.
“I will do everything I have to do to make sure that I reach my goal.”
Ambition is something Stampley was born with. This innate characteristic allows him to be persistent and dedicated to his goals. When his time as an LSU football player came to an end, he found there was a hole left behind that football used to fill. When this responsibility ended, he had to find a way to fill the void with something else. During this time, Stampley went through many self-discoveries and found the root of his passion – working with people, specifically in the fitness arena. When Stampley was a young boy in the eighth grade, his parents bought him a weight bench. He believes that moment is what planted the seed of his passion for fitness.
Stampley runs on the field at Tiger Stadium during his days as an LSU Football player.
Stampley conducts research in a kinesiology laboratory. Image credit: Groundbreaking research shows LSU athletes made full recovery from covid, WAFB9
Stampley shares reserach findings at a poster presentation.
Through his research, Stampley wants the “average, everyday person to become more equipped with the knowledge that they need to live a healthy, fulfilling life.” As a Louisiana native, he knows that many people in this state struggle with health problems. The CHSE motto: “sound mind, sound body” is a necessary component to the goals of overall wellness for this community. Stampley wants his research to be a resource for people so that they have the knowledge of living a healthy life and can make the conscious decision to do so. There is a known discrepancy between the people who conduct and publish research and the people who would benefit directly from reading it. When asked how scientists can do a better job at communicating their ideas and making them accessible to the public, Stampley seemed excited to share his thoughts:
“I think that [discrepancy] stems from people’s innate desire to seek something familiar. With familiar comes security and comfort. If you had people [in research positions] who you can identify with, whether that be someone in a minority or someone who has different sexual preferences – to see people in these positions, conducting research, communicating what they are learning, I feel like that makes people more comfortable with the research.”
In terms of Stampley’s experience as a minority researcher in Louisiana, he has certainly found his niche in CHSE’s Kinesiology Department. He enjoys working with his advisor, Dr. Brian Irving, and claims that he has found a family within CHSE. He states, “There were never any moments where I felt unwelcomed on campus…It’s been a real blessing to be a part of this program.”
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
James Stampley would like to thank his entire family for their ongoing support in his endeavors. He would especially like to thank his mother, Sonjalita Stampley, his father, James Stampley III, his sisters Brandee and Shandrika, and Valerie Stampley for their continuous sacrifices and support in his goals.
About People Like Me
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Civic Engagement designed the People Like Me series to highlight achievements and success of underrepresented individuals who have experienced challenges or obstacles in their lives yet have achieved success in their endeavors. We want to disseminate these amazing testimonies in an effort to inspire others who have similar circumstances.
If you know someone you would like to nominate for our People Like Me initiative,
please fill out the nomination form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.