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College alumnus focuses on overall athlete development at collegiate level

Nieko Torres with dark hair and beard and wearing a suit jacket with striped tie.

Nieko Torres chose the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences because he wanted to work with athletes. He researched the CPASS coaching and performance science program through the suggestion of an advisor. “It quickly became clear that CPASS had plenty of options for me to explore which avenue of athletics I wanted to pursue. I am extremely grateful for it,” Torres said.

Assistant Professor Guy Hornsby says that it was evident early on that Torres was serious about pursuing a career in strength and conditioning. “Nieko was interning at Morgantown High School, lifting/spending time with the WVU weightlifting club while being an exemplary student. I am grateful he was mentored by such a great staff at Mississippi State, the same staff that has mentored other students of ours, Billy Cedar, Matt Anti and Lauren White,” Hornsby said.

Online master’s student combines academics with sports industry experience

Tyler Pastorius wearing green knit shirt with Dallas Stars team logo.

A College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences online sport management graduate student is expanding his resume through an internship at the professional sports level. Tyler Pastorius, sport management master’s major with an emphasis on comprehensive sport industry management (projected graduation, May 2022), focuses on various marketing-related responsibilities with the Dallas Stars.

Justin Wartella, sport management teaching assistant professor, says the CPASS on-line master’s program connects theory to practice for the population of busy, working professionals who are pursuing a graduate degree. “It is so diverse in terms of the student population who are located across the country. Students work in different facets of the industry, including high school sports, college, professional, Olympic, facilities, operations and community sports,” Wartella said.

Experiential learning leads to career launch at the collegiate level

Greg Warren wearing a bright blue zippered shirt.

Gregory Warren credits his experiences at the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences in paving the pathway to his new role as director of strength and conditioning at Bluefield State College, Bluefield, W.Va.

The master of science, coaching and sport education (2021) graduate says the CPASS connection served a critical role in initiating his career. “Although it was only for two years, the coaching experience I gained as a graduate assistant and head strength coach at University High School in Morgantown gave me the confidence to realize my abilities as a coach in this field,” Warren said.

SEP grad secures dream position with NBA

Myles Washington portrait style photo, wearing dark blue WVU branded shirt.

Myles Washington combined his passion in sports with the mental aspects of competition to earn a B.S. degree in sport and exercise psychology (May 2021).

In addition to studying sports, Washington gained hands on knowledge as a basketball manager for the WVU Men’s team, from his freshman through senior years at CPASS. “Once I became involved with the team, I knew I wanted to go into basketball professionally, working for the NBA,” he said.

Mid-American Conference recognizes SEP grad for dedication to student success

Lindsey Blom portrait photo wearing light grey sweater, with long brown hair.

A College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences graduate received the 2021 Mid-American Conference Outstanding Faculty Award for Student Success. Dr. Lindsey Blom, professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at Ball State University, was recognized for her dedication to student fulfillment.

The annual award recognizes outstanding efforts by faculty at schools within the MAC who support students, enhance the collegiate experience, establish and support inclusive environments, prepare students for success after graduation and promote lifelong learning.

CPASS grad strives to boost student-athlete wellbeing

Aaron Goodson portrait photo wearing dark suit jacket, light blue dress shirt and dark red striped tie.

The singular desire to help people achieve their potential has remained the driving career force for Aaron Goodson, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences graduate. Goodson explains that sport and exercise were avenues for him that contributed to his physical, mental and emotional growth and development.

“I realized early on how significant the institution of sport is in our lives. College sports have always been part of my life, but I wondered what happened to those young people once we no longer saw them on television or watched them compete. That curiosity, in combination with my own experience as a former college student-athlete, fuels my passion for the work that I do.”

CPASS degree delivers real world experience and lifelong relationships

Jonathan Gibson in grey suit, white dress shirt and striped tie.

Throughout his career, Jonathan Gibson, WVU Sports Management Master’s degree, has served in marketing leadership roles across a variety of industries in and out of sports. Gibson says that most of the companies are globally recognized for their brand health, innovation, reputation and performance.

Gibson has always had a zeal for marketing and brand building. “Seeing it through this lens was a passion of mine throughout my college and graduate school experiences. Coming to WVU was a great decision as it allowed me to gain real work knowledge while I was in school and build relationships that I have kept throughout my career,” he said.

CPASS honors faculty, staff and student academic year award recipients

Outside view of CPASS building entrance, with students walking into the building.

The College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences celebrated faculty, staff and student achievements at their 2020-2021 Awards Ceremony held in the spring semester.

Each year, the College recognizes the many faculty who excel in service, research and teaching. Peter Giacobbi received the Researcher of the Year Award; Andrea Taliaferro earned the Professional Servant of the Year Award; Valerie Wayda received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award and Emily Murphy was honored with the Grantsperson of the Year Award. Eloise Elliott received the 2021 Heebink Award for Extended Service while Andrea Taliaferro received the James and Karen Caveney Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award.

Exploring sports industry career options through internships

Madison Reeser in dark blue shirt.

Madison Reeser, from Sykesville, Md., is majoring in Sport Management, with a minor in Advertising. She knew that sports needed to be a part of her academic program and career path. Ultimately, Reeser selected the CPASS Sport Management program for its experienced faculty and successful alumni network. It was a perfect choice, especially once she discovered the many experiential learning opportunities that would allow her to build a resume and discover the career path to meet her passion for sports.

I attended community college for two years and received my AA degree in general studies at Howard Community College, Columbia, Md. I have been a student athlete my entire life and knew that sports needed to remain in it even though I was no longer an athlete myself. Sport Management appeared to be the perfect choice, with its involvement within the sports world and the background behind it. I knew the WVU CPASS program would help me explore options to find my specific niche in the future, plus I discovered that the WVU sport management program was high on the list of successful programs. Since my older brother also attended WVU I was exposed to the university at a young age and fell in love with the school’s overall atmosphere. The combination of these two things allowed me to feel confident that WVU CPASS and sport management were the right steps to take to ensure I had a positive and successful career.

Honoring tenacity while overcoming adversity

Professor Sam Zizzi awards Erika Van Dyke her sash for completing her PhD

West Virginia University celebrated the achievements of 2020 and 2021 graduates in four in-person ceremonies this May at Milan Puskar Stadium. Nearly 230 graduates from the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences walked across the stage to receive their diplomas while faculty, staff, family members and friends joined in the celebration to honor the newest WVU alumni.

WVU invited May, August and December 2020 graduates to participate with the May 2021 graduates after more than a year of pandemic restrictions. We were happy to welcome the graduates to campus to applaud this milestone and continue the in-person commencement tradition.