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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.

Research participants needed to study benefits of yoga

Students practice Yoga in CPASS fitness instruction room.

A new research project will study the benefits of yoga for mental health and the experience of those who have taught and practiced yoga. The study, led by Suzanne Vogler, graduate student, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, needs yoga instructors and practitioners to complete an online survey and participate in a virtual interview.

Vogler says that the project will examine individuals’ personal journey with yoga, beliefs about the mental health benefits of yoga and to better understand their overall experience with the form of exercise. All individuals 18 years and older who have taught, practiced or had experience with yoga are welcome to participate.

Sport Management students rely on research to provide solutions to industry challenges

Alex Brucki (left) and Floyd Jones (right) standing in front of CPASS building.

An ongoing research-focused collaboration provides current West Virginia University Sport Management graduate students with the opportunity to work directly with sports industry specialists. Students highlighted real world business challenges as identified in the marketplace and used data and problem-solving solutions to overcome market environments, financial concerns and other complex issues.

“The relationship is designed to support students entering the industry with hands-on experience they can use to further their career path. It’s amazing that these industry mavens graciously contribute their time and expertise to guide our students throughout the process. The students take ownership and have learned immensely. I credit their transformation to the mentors and their patient, direct engagement and support,” Floyd Jones, associate professor, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, said.

Using technology to enhance cross-cultural academic partnerships

Students and faculty from WVU and Halmstad University meet during study abroad trip to Sweden

A cooperative learning experience in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences has thrived during the pandemic, reaching new levels of technology-based learning. In the fall 2020 semester, WVU Sport and Exercise Psychology undergraduate students worked with peers at Halmstad University, in Halmstad, Sweden, as part of the SEP 272 (Majors-Only) course, Psychological Aspects of Sport.

“Through collaborative online discussion boards and group presentations and assignments, and joint Zoom-workshops facilitated by WVU and Halmstad graduate students, the fall 2020 course represented the most advanced and intensive collaborative learning experience for CPASS Sport and Exercise Psychology students thus far in our partnership with Halmstad University,” Scott Barnicle, program coordinator and teaching assistant professor said.

Student research day highlights capstone projects for SEP teams

SEP 474 students present their Capstone research projects to the class.

College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences’ Sport and Exercise Psychology 474 Research Methods and Capstone students have established a solid foundation for future graduate studies and professional careers. During their final presentations, the students presented a broad range of projects, covering psychological impacts of injuries, influence of social media, impact of involuntary retirement, eating disorder prevalence in female sports and interventions for athletes during COVID-19.

The groups, under the guidance of Scott Barnicle, SEP program coordinator and teaching assistant professor, completed the spring 2021 semester within the classroom setting. “I’m so proud of our SEP seniors for making it up research mountain this semester. It is always wonderful to see them present their projects. Some are off to graduate school in the fall while others are heading into the working world. It was a terrific spring semester with them all,” Barnicle said.

Increasing Sport Partnerships

Brett Anderson holding an award and posing with students in the hockey ring

A partnership between the Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences at West Virginia University and the Morgantown Hockey Association is providing quality youth sport programming in the area. The ongoing collaboration provides funding for a graduate assistant position within the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, devoted to enhance coaching and player development. 

As a GA, Brett Anderson is working with Kristen Dieffenbach, the Center director, national leader in the field of coach development, and CPASS associate professor, to support MHA’s youth development program. Anderson, coaching and sport education on campus master’s student, coordinated the Morgantown Hockey Association youth development program this season. Originally from Killam, Alberta, Canada, he has coached around the world.

Self-determination helps Sport Management grad accomplish career goals

Michael Stokes portrait image, wearing WVU branded blue with gold trim shirt.

Michael Stokes was the first member of his family to earn a bachelor's degree from a major university. Growing up in a small town, Stokes worked hard to succeed. Through perseverance, the Norvelt, Pa. native says has realized his early career dreams. 

Stokes, B.S. sport management (2020), secured a position following graduation as an assistant equipment manager for the WVU baseball and basketball teams. “Landing my dream job right out of college at the age of 26 is truly a blessing. I still can’t believe I get to wake every day and do what I do,” Stokes said.