Sonja A. Wilhelm Stanis, PhD

Associate Director

School of Natural Resources

Associate Professor

School of Natural Resources

Contact Information

Phone 573-882-9524
Address 105e Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building


  • Ph.D., 2008, University of Minnesota


  • Wilhelm Stanis’ research is in the human dimensions of natural resource management with an emphasis in the social psychological as well as environmental factors that influence aspects of outdoor recreation. Specifically, her work examines the role of parks and public lands in promoting physical activity and public health, benefits of and constraints to outdoor recreation, and issues in outdoor recreation relating to diversity and youth.


  • Research methods in parks, recreation and tourism
  • Constructs of Leisure
  • Advanced recreation land management
  • Planning and evaluating leisure environments
  • Career Orientation in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services
  • Parks, Health and Wellness

Recent Publications

  • Groshong, L., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Kaczynski, A.T., Hipp, J.A. (2017). Exploring attitudes, perceived norms, and self-efficacy: Insights into theory-based messages to encourage park-based physical activity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 14(2), 108-116.
  • Keith, N., Baskin, M.L., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., & Sallis, J.F. (2017). The 2016 Active Living Research Conference: Equity in Active Living. Preventive Medicine, 95, S1-S3.
  • Gallerani, D.G., Besenyi, G.B., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A. & Kaczynski, A.T. (2017). “We actually care and we want to make the parks better”: Youth experiences, changes and perceptions as community advocates. Preventive Medicine, 95, S109-S114.
  • Schultz, C.L., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Sayers, S.P & Thomas, I.M. (2017). A longitudinal examination of improved access on park use and physical activity in an underserved neighborhood park. Preventive Medicine, 95, S95-S100.
  • Johnson, L., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Lin, L.*, McElroy, J., LeMaster, J., Nilon, C., & Sayers, S. (2016). Giving and taking away: Role of recess staff in youth physical activity. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 3(6), 557-567.
  • Besenyi, G.M., Diehl, P., Schooley, B., Turner-McGrievy, G.M., Wilcox, S., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Kaczynski, A.T. (2016). Development and testing of mobile technology for community engagement in park improvements: Validity and reliability of the eCPAT application with youth. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 6(4), 519-532.
  • Besenyi, G.M., Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Bergstrom, R.D., Oestman, K.B., & Colabianchi, N. (2016). Sex differences in the relationship between park proximity and features and child and youth physical activity. Children, Youth and Environments, 26(1), 56-84).
  • Matisziw, T., Nilon, C., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., LeMaster, J., McElroy, J., & Sayers, S. (2016). The right space at the right time: The relationship between children’s physical activity and land use/land cover. Landscape and Urban Planning, 151, 21-32.
  • Kaczynski, A.T., Schipperijn, J., Hipp, J.A., Besenyi, G.M., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Hughey, S.M., & Wilcox, S. (2016). ParkIndex: Development of a standardized metric of park access for research and public health planning. Preventive Medicine, 87, 110-114.
  • Veitch, J., Abbott, G., Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Besenyi, G.M., & Lamb, K.E. (2016). Park availability and physical activity, TV time, and overweight and obesity among women: Findings from Australia and the United States. Health and Place, 38, 96-102.
  • Schultz, C.L., Sayers, S.P., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Thombs, L.A., Thomas, I.M., & Canfield, S.M. (2015). The impact of a signalized cross walk on traffic speed and street crossing behaviors of residents in an underserved neighborhood.  Journal of Urban Health, 92(5), 910-922.
  • Parsons, A.A., Besenyi, G.M., Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Blake, C.E., Barr-Anderson, D.A. (2015). Investigating issues of environmental injustice in neighborhoods surrounding parks. Journal of Leisure Research, 47(2), 285-303.
  • Dinges, A.J. Webb, E.B., Vrtiska, M.P., Nilon, C.H., & Wilhelm Stanis, S.A. (2014). Migratory bird hunter opinions regarding future management strategies for controlling light goose populations. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 38 (4), 728-733.
  • Kaczynski, A.T., Besenyi, G.M., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Koohsari, M.J., Oestman, K.B., Bergstrom, R., Potwarka, L.R., & Reis, R.S. (2014). Are park proximity and park features related to park use and physical activity among adults? Variations by multiple socio-demographic characteristics. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11, 146.
  • Sotomayor, S., Barbieri, C., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Aguilar, F., & Smith, J. (2014). Motivations for Recreating on Farmlands, Private Forests, and State or National Parks. Environmental Management, online first DOI 10.1007/s00267-014-0280-4
  • Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Oftedal, A., & Schneider, I. (2014). Association of outdoor recreation availability with physical activity and weight status in Minnesota youth. Preventive Medicine, 60, 124-127.
  • Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S. & J. Aaron Hipp. (2014). Point-of-decision prompts for increasing park-based physical activity: a crowdsource analysis. Preventive Medicine, 69, 87-89.
  • Besenyi, G.M., Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Bergstrom, R.D., Lightner, J.S., & Hipp, J.A. (2014). Planning for health: A community-based spatial analysis of park availability and chronic disease across the lifespan. Health and Place, 27, 102-105.
  • Kaczynski, A.T., Koohsari, M.J., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Bergstrom, R., & Sugiyama, T. (2014). Association of street connectivity and road traffic speed with park usage and park-based physical activity. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28 (3), 197-203.
  • Westley, T., Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S., & Besenyi, G.M. (2013). Parental neighborhood safety perceptions and their children’s health behaviors: Associations by child age, gender, and household income. Children, Youth and Environments23(3), 118-147.
  • Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Besenyi, G.M., & Child, S. (2013). Differences in youth and adult physical activity in park settings by gender and race/ethnicity. Preventing Chronic Disease, 10, 120276.
  • Budruk, M. & Wilhelm Stanis, S.A. (2013). Place attachment and recreation experience preference: A further exploration of the relationship. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 1-2, 51-61.
  • Bai, H., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Kaczynski, A.T., & Besenyi, G.M. (2013). Perceptions of Neighborhood Park Quality: Associations with Physical Activity and BMI. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 45(s1), 39-48.
  • Vaughan, K.B., Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., Bergstrom, R., Besenyi, G.M., & Heinrich, K.M. (2013). Exploring the distribution of park availability, features, and quality across Kansas City, Missouri by income and race/ethnicity: An environmental justice investigation. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 45(s1), 28-38.
  • Besenyi, G.M., Kaczynski, A.T., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., & Vaughan, K.B. (2013). Demographic variations in observed energy expenditure across park activity areas. Preventive Medicine, 5679-81.