Body image among young adult female athletes has become a hot topic within the sports exercise psychology industry. Kate Fairhurst, a CPASS Ph.D. candidate, recently received the 2019 Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Research Grant to continue her research on the topic.
This grant, which is awarded to students and professionals, will support the completion of her doctoral dissertation, which involves the application of PhotoVoice approaches to explore young adult female exercisers' experiences of their body and body image while exercising in a fitness center environment.
“I am very interested in the implementation and evaluation of health and wellness programming in fitness center environments. Anything to do with empowering young people to get engaged with a healthy relationship with their body, sport, and exercise,” Fairhurst said.
Fairhurst characterizes the steps to reach this point of her academic career as extremely difficult, with a lot of doubts along the way. However, to have the backing of AASP to complete her research means everything to her.
“I believe in the impact this research can have in applied settings and having the support of this grant really boosted my confidence in my ability to have an impact down the road,” Fairhurst said.
She credits the CPASS sport, exercise and performance psychology major as a gold standard program. She says the unique culture inspires the exploration of different projects and various students along with faculty research expertise. She cites Dana Voelker, Ph.D., specifically, as a mentor who has supported her personal vision, and encouraged her to follow that dream, even when it was uncomfortable.
Kate Fairhurst recently completed her M.A. in counseling psychology and is projected to graduate with her Ph.D. in sport, exercise and performance psychology from CPASS in December 2019.