Skip to main content

Sport and Exercise Psychology alumni take on national leadership roles

Graduates in the college’s sport and exercise psychology program have traditionally embraced leadership roles in their careers. Three WVU CPASS sport and exercise psychology alumni are paving the way within groups that bring together psychologists and exercise and sport scientists who share a passion for research, teaching, service, diversity, education and training.

Meet Lindsey Blom, president-elect of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, Brandonn Harris, incoming president of APA Division 47 and  Jamie Shapiro, current president of the American Psychological Association Division 47.

APA and AASP are the two major sport psychology organizations in the US and world.

Portrait of Lindsay Blom

Lindsey Blom

EdD, Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2005
MA, Counseling, 2004

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Lindsey is currently a professor of sport and exercise psychology, coordinator of the Sport and Exercise Psychology master’s degree program and faculty athletics representative at Ball State University.

In Lindsey’s words: “In mid-October, at the end of the AASP conference, I will become president-elect. It is a three-year role cycle, as president-elect, president then past president.

My overall mission and vision for my time as AASP president will focus on broadening the organization’s perspective, conversation, collaborations and initiatives surrounding who is served by sport psychology. My specific objectives include: 1) expand the association’s collaborations and partnerships with community-based, youth, adaptive sport and non-profit organizations and foundations; 2) examine ways we continue to disproportionately segregate members of color; 3) reexamine conference program offerings to ensure AASP demonstrates a commitment to supporting different cultures, research expertise and applied experiences that encompass our membership and public stakeholders; 4) broaden the organization’s inclusion of developmental and adaptive sport psychology; and 5) increase funding for public interest and community-based research through member and external donations.

Jack Watson, who has served as AASP president, was my mentor at WVU. I believe I was one of his first doctoral students. My time in the CPASS SEP program set the stage for my passion for using sport as a peacebuilding and a life skill too. Additionally, my time at WVU allowed me to combine my interests in youth sport, coaching and sport psychology, connect with an amazing network of professionals and friends and realize my potential in the field. Jack, Sam Zizzi, Ed Etzel and Andy Ostrow have always supported me and my professional endeavors.

As I entered West Virginia University’s doctoral program as an aspiring future faculty member, I learned about the broad scope of the AASP organization from Jack Watson, Ed Etzel and Sam Zizzi’s debates on educational and clinical backgrounds, developed strong ethical standards and built the foundation for my science-practice scholarship. I would encourage students to combine their passion with their strengths and strive to balance the ‘working hard and playing hard’ concept.”

Portrait of Brandonn Harris

Brandonn Harris

PhD, Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2008
Master’s , Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2005

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

In Brandonn’s words: “I am currently the graduate program director for the department of health sciences and kinesiology and serve as the program coordinator and professor of sport and exercise psychology at Georgia Southern University.

I stepped into two leadership roles recently, one with AASP and one with APA after being elected to the executive board as president-elect for APA Division 47, which is a three-year term that started in August. In addition to several organizational responsibilities, the president serves as the representative and spokesperson of the society to the membership and public/stakeholders within the sport and performance communities.

The president is also the division’s representative to the sport psychology council, which includes representatives from the several other organizations with interests in sport, exercise and performance psychology. My goals and priorities for the term include the competent and ethical practice of professionals in our field; social activism for marginalized members of the sport, exercise and performance communities and the increased engagement and mentorship of students and early career professionals.

Finally, the president works to establish and maintain a collaborative relationship with the president of AASP to create shared initiatives that promote the field of sport, exercise and performance psychology.

For AASP, I was previously appointed as a member of the certification council and recently began serving as chair of the certification council during my current three-year term. The council oversees the Certified Mental Performance Consultant credential, which is one gold standard for the ethical and competence practice of sport psychology. As chair, I oversee the implementation and maintenance of this accredited, certification program and work with our committee chairs to manage the certification, recertification, exam development and mentorship aspects of this program.

One of the most valuable resources I think we can give to our organizations, the field and our students is our time and attention. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to serve in these two capacities to give back to the field and organizations as much as I feel they have supported me throughout my career. A great deal of our work within these two capacities has the potential to influence the continued professionalization of our discipline by ensuring that we are training competent, ethical and effective professionals within teaching, research and applied practice settings.

There is no doubt that my time at WVU’s doctoral sport and exercise psychology program set me on the career trajectory I have the privilege of enjoying today. My main mentor while in the program, and even to this day, was Jack Watson. We worked so well together and had such similar interests that eventually I earned the nickname “Baby Jack” which I take as a great compliment. He, and other faculty within the program, cultivated my passion and interest in the type of work I have been involved with during the past 12 years. Plus, they modeled what it means to be a good citizen within our field by serving in leadership positions within AASP and APA.

My time at WVU helped me understand that whether we are working behind the scenes or at the forefront in these different leadership roles, each is equally as important given there are so many critical initiatives these organizations continue to take on. There is a great need for individuals to step forward and contribute time, attention and leadership to support these endeavors and advance our field. Like what Jack, Ed Etzel and Sam Zizzi at WVU modeled for me, I hope to do the same for my graduate students.

Portrait of Jamie Shapiro

Jamie Shapiro

PhD, Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2009

Hometown: Manalapan, NJ

She is currently an associate professor and co-director of the Master of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology program, University of Denver

In Jamie’s words: “As the APA Division 47 Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, president, I’m responsible for organizing and maintaining progress on the division’s initiatives.

My main presidential initiative is education, training and mentorship in sport, exercise and performance psychology. SSEPP is working on some important projects that I want to support progress on, including creating professional practice guidelines for sport psychology, a mentorship program for early career professionals and informing the public about the various degrees and competencies of professionals in the field. My second initiative is advocacy for athletes, exercises and performers with disabilities. I have been consulting with Paralympic athletes since 2014 and want to advocate for more psychological and performance services for these populations.

All faculty in the CPASS SEP program served as my mentors — Ed Etzel, Sam Zizzi, Jack Watson, Andy Ostrow and Vanessa Shannon. They encouraged involvement in AASP and APA Division 47 and held leadership positions themselves in these organizations. They were excellent role models for the importance of becoming involved in professional organizations to further develop the field. The principles of leadership we were taught in class and applied with ourselves, our students and our clients (athletes and exercisers) helped me develop my own leadership skills and confidence as a leader.

I encourage students to become involved with both AASP and APA Division 47 — attend conferences and join committees or run for student representative positions. I feel that the leadership positions I have held in Division 47, as program chair, secretary/treasurer and president, have propelled my career and greatly enhanced my network in the field.

    Share this story 
  • LinkedIn logo