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College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


29 Apr
1346429855 Ashley Cranney, Sport and Exercise Psychology graduate student and doctoral candidate, earned the People’s Choice award in the 3-Minute Thesis competition recently held on campus. Cranney presented her research, titled “How far is too far? Understanding identity and overconformity in collegiate wrestlers,” April 7 at the Mountainlair.

Cranney was interested in the competition because the focus allowed students to hone their competences. “The competition was more about the student’s communication skills to effectively convey their research to a non-specified audience,” she explained.

Cranney said that her professors encouraged her to enter the event. Without their support, she would not have the confidence to enter. “Dr. Watson encouraged me to enter. I likely would not have, had he not supported my submission,” she said.

Throughout the event, Cranney thanked WVU and CPASS for the wealth of knowledge she attained. “I don’t think there’s enough space here to discuss all of the ways WVU has helped me excel in my field. Throughout my time here, I have been given opportunities to expand my knowledge base of sport and exercise psychology, as well as counseling.

“Doing so has allowed me to become a more effective teacher, consultant and researcher. The number of opportunities I have been given to expand myself professionally span beyond what I could have asked for. I’ve been given opportunities to teach and develop undergraduate classes, which has enhanced my passion for teaching and expanded my skill set as a teacher,” Cranney said.

Cranney appreciates the encouragement. “The support that I’ve received from faculty and students is remarkable. Beyond the networking I’ve benefited from, I cannot imagine a program that more purposefully and passionately prepares its students for life beyond the PhD. I am forever grateful for my experience at WVU, and CPASS, especially,” Cranney concluded.

The WVU-sponsored competition allowed students to discuss their research topics within a three minute time frame. A panel of judges evaluated the presentations and disqualified students who exceeded the time limit.
29 Apr
HeadShot Carrie Rishell, 2014 WVU SEP graduate, is adding new skills to her resume though an internship with the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

“My main job at the President’s Council is to assist with whatever is necessary. Recently, that was planning the Eggtivity Zone which was one of the activities at the White House Easter Egg Roll this year. I help with logistical things like preparing documents and scheduling as well as planning some portions of events,” she explained.

In addition to event planning, Rishell, a current George Washington University graduate student, writes blog posts and prepares other messaging distributed via social media. She researches a variety of topics to maintain current, accurate information.

Rishell believes the internship will be extremely helpful and is thankful for the opportunity. “I think the most valuable experience that I have gained so far from working with the Council is a much better understanding of the importance of communication materials and event planning,” she said.

Rishell is grateful for her time at WVU and credits campus life and faculty support for her success. “There is no way that I would be where I am if it were not for WVU. I learned so much from my classes and other experiences at WVU.”

“WVU gave me the opportunity to explore my many interests and piece together how they might fit into one cohesive career that I would truly love. It also provided me with excellent mentors who were able to help me figure out what I might be capable of doing with my life,” she said.

CPASS mentors played an important role. “Dean Brooks was my advisor and was always willing to sit down with me and take a look at my schedule. Dr. Zizzi was my professor for two courses that were very important to me as well as a mentor outside the classroom.

“Finally, Dr. Clement was there for me throughout my entire WVU journey. I got to know him initially when I became a member of the Sport and Exercise Psychology Club and then worked with him even more as I took on the role of community service coordinator and then club president,” Rishell explained.

Rishell plans to graduate in May 2016 and will begin her job search.

“My main plan after graduation is to begin working. I would love to find a job where I can work with children and help encourage them to be active and healthy. However, in a more general sense, I am looking for a career where I can begin to apply everything I have learned about health and wellbeing and help others to lead healthier lives,” Rishell concluded.
27 Apr
WVU lacrosse face shot Brian Houk, CPASS Athletic Coaching Education graduate, credits connections made as a member of the WVU Men’s Lacrosse team, along with support from CPASS mentors, for helping him land the head coaching slot with the University High School boys’ Lacrosse team.

“Connections and friendships are important because you never know when an opportunity will arise. I got this job because of connections I made in the UHS program through the WVU Men’s Lacrosse team. Make positive relationships and never burn any bridges,” Houk said.

Houk has played lacrosse his entire life; he wants to help grow the sport in the state of West Virginia.

“Lacrosse is still growing in West Virginia and I want to elevate the competition, popularity and quality of the lacrosse experience in this state,” Houk explained.

Houk originally applied for the assistant coaching position at UHS, however, once the head coaching position opened up, Houk was offered the head coaching position at the Morgantown, W.Va.-based high school.

“Being the head lacrosse coach at University High School is an incredible opportunity. The program has a history of success, having won the past three consecutive WVSLA D1 state titles. Since playing high school lacrosse, I have always wanted to be a head coach. To be the head coach of a team of this caliber means the world to me,” he added.

Houk is thankful for his time at WVU and as an Athletic Coaching Education major. “WVU did a great job in preparing for all aspects of this job. In my opinion, the three most important qualities a coach can have are being a great communicator, great planner and great administrator. Many ACE classes touch on all of these topics,” he explained.

Houk acknowledges the mentors and professors who helped him along the way. “There are many great people from WVU who have helped me get this job and become a good coach. Specifically, Dr. Wayda, Dr. Kuklick, Dr. Dieffenbach, Dr. King, and many more, who have helped and taught me along the way,” he said.

Houk offers advice for students who wish to be head coaches. He explains the importance of focusing on classroom-based learning. “Doing your best in class helps you refine and perfect your craft as a coach. Even the best coaches know that they do not know everything and must constantly learn, adapt and improve to grow as a coach,” he said.
26 Apr

Dallas Branch Retirement

Jessica | April 26th, 2016
branch-retirement Dallas Branch, associate professor, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, celebrated his career accomplishments with colleagues, family and friends at a reception and dinner on April 15, 2016 at Lakeview Resort in Morgantown and hosted by CPASS.

“Dr. Branch has made a significant and lasting impact upon the sport management program at WVU. As a result of his efforts, this program has received a great deal of national and international acclaim, and has helped the program attract the best and brightest students,” explained Jack Watson, professor and chair, Department of Sport Sciences.

A four-time Teacher of the Year, Branch has taught at WVU for 27 years, primarily in the Master of Science in Sport Management on campus program. He served as the program coordinator for 12 of those years, responsible for internship and curricular development, as well as other administrative duties. He served as one of the original seven Resident Facility Leaders appointed by President David Hardesty in 1996.

“Sport Management alumni have gone on to achieve great honors across many areas of the sport landscape, creating one of the strongest alumni networks in the nation. Dr. Branch’s contributions to the sport management program at WVU will continue for many years to come,” Watson added.

In 1992, Branch developed the Sport Marketing Quarterly, a professional sport marketing journal published four times per year. He served as Editor for this prestigious and internationally acclaimed professional journal, now read in 25 countries, until 1995. It remains the only publication of its kind in the world.

Branch was selected in 1994 as one of three charter members of the North American Society for Sport Management/National Association of Sport and Physical Education sport management council, a national distinction. Also in 1994, he was selected to serve a three-year appointment as a member of the sport management program review council.

Branch has contributed significantly to the fields of sport management and marketing through his extensive publication and conference participation. He served as the Sport Management Council’s program planner for the 1996 National Convention.

A former basketball and baseball player at UNC-Chapel Hill, a high volume marketing executive with the Xerox Corporation and vice president of marketing with the IHL’s Indianapolis Checkers Hockey Club, Branch brings a unique, and often referred to as the ideal, background of sport, business and academics to the field of sport management and marketing. He received the Sport Marketing Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.
26 Apr
summer-class_2 CPASS is offering online and on campus SEP courses this summer. Sign up for Psychological Perspectives in Sport (SEP 272), Sport in American Society (SEP 271), or African-Americans in Sport (SEP 373). On campus courses run three weeks; online courses are six weeks in length. These are General Education Classes and are offered to all students. SEP 271 and SEP 272 are 3-credit courses which fulfill pre-major requirements. SEP 272 fulfills GECs 4 and 6; SEP 271 fulfills GECs 4 and 7 and SEP 373 fulfills GECs 4 and 7. Register today for classes through your STAR account. For more info, contact: Register on line via

SEP 272 Psychological Perspectives in Sport

  • Section 001 – CRN: 50596
  • Section 002 – CRN: 50891
  • ONLINE 7D2CRN: 50546
  • ONLINE 7D3CRN: 51188

SEP 271 Sport in American Society

  • Section 002 – CRN: 50710
  • ONLINE 7D1CRN: 50545
  • ONLINE 7D2CRN: 51047

SEP 373 African-Americans in Sport

  • ONLINE 7D2CRN: 52857
21 Apr
Junhyung-Baek Faculty members and students in the West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences were recently recognized for outstanding teaching, research and service for the 2015-16 academic year. The College announced the awards of 23 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students.

Brady Nolan received the SHAPE America Outstanding Major of the Year Award and was recognized as a WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior, along with Sarah Verdis. The following students received the Outstanding Student Award in their program: Brady Nolan, undergraduate Athletic Coaching Education and Andre Schneider, MS graduate, ACE; Sarah Verdis, undergraduate PETE and Ashley Dugas, MS graduate PETE; Jun-hyung Baek, Doctoral, Coaching and Teaching Studies; Allison Fansler, undergraduate Athletic Training and Kjersti Traaen, graduate Athletic Training; Anna Onderik, undergraduate SEP and Jay Stewart, graduate SEP; Nick Davidson, undergraduate Sport Management and Erin McClafferty, graduate Sport Management.

Clayton Kuklick, assistant professor, Athletic Coaching Education, was recognized as teacher of the year. Kuklick serves as an inspiration for his students and is recognized for his energy and passion as a teacher. His coaching background at the collegiate level has channeled his teaching and research interests toward coaching development and improving athletic performance while using technology.

James C. Hannon, professor and assistant dean of academic affairs and research, was recognized as outstanding researcher. Hannon’s research focuses on pediatric physical activity and fitness measurement and physical activity interventions. He had 20 publications and 15 professional presentations in 2015, in addition to being named Distinguished Scholar of the National Association of Kinesiology in Higher Education.

Allison Hetrick, assistant professor, athletic training, was recognized as professional servant of the year. Hetrick serves on numerous national professional organizations and provides athletic training support for the WVU Women’s Basketball team.

CPASS recognized staff with Shining Star awards: Robin McKinney, Barbara Ridenour-Dalton and Myia Welsh.
20 Apr
office-of-student-success The College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences will host its 2016 Student Research Day on Friday, April 22, 3-4:30 p.m. at the Evansdale Library, second floor.

The College will present awards to students for best undergraduate and graduate research projects. The event will involve input from students and faculty and feature research presented at state, national and international conferences as well as work performed within the academic year.

“CPASS has developed a very strong research agenda among the students and faculty. Our students are learning not only how to conduct high quality research, but also how to use this research to develop better practice. The annual CPASS research day is extremely important part of the educational process,” explained Jack Watson, professor and chair, Department of Sport Sciences.

“It allows students the opportunity to showcase their research, show how it can be used to affect practice and get quality feedback about their research from faculty representing a number of different programs,” Watson added.
5 Apr
office-of-student-success The West Virginia University community is invited to attend the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences’ official dedication of the Office of Student Success. The ceremony will take place April 14 at 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the main lobby of the CPASS building. A reception will follow the event. James Hannon, CPASS assistant dean of Academic Affairs and Research, will host the program and introduction of the new services.

The CPASS Office of Student Success will combine recruitment, advising and retention services, while focusing on the academic and social needs of current students. The office will strive to help CPASS students stay enrolled and graduate in a timely manner.

Office representatives will provide various programming and resources to strengthen student achievement, with strategies designed to meet each student’s academic needs.

For more information or to request services, contact the CPASS Office of Student Success, 304-293-3393.
1 Apr
P2180395 Andrew Biederman, who combined personal training, sports communication and entrepreneurship minors to launch his career, has helped develop a training program using aquatics to improve strength training results.

Biederman, who is a certified personal trainer at Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Wellness Center in Hamilton, NJ, has worked in the fitness industry for two years.

“RWJ Fitness Center is one of the most well-known, if not the best, fitness centers in the state of New Jersey. I am very grateful and happy to be a part of the RWJ fitness and wellness team. What is great about working for RWJ is they not only have the fitness floor, but also an entire aqua center that has helped me become more versatile as a personal trainer and increased my clientele tremendously,” Biederman said.

“Aquakinetics is a resistance training program that incorporates the use of specialized equipment to deliver a unique approach to strength training. It produces incredible results, such as personal training, small group training and sports performance training. The main benefits that can be achieved in these three styles of training are weight loss, strength, toning, balance, and cardiovascular endurance,” Biederman explained.

Biederman credits his time at West Virginia University in helping him develop his skills and become a better personal trainer.

“I had a wonderful experience at WVU and being a part of CPASS has helped shaped me into a great health professional today. Helping individuals reach their fitness goals is a great feeling and very rewarding.”

“All of my personal training and entrepreneurship classes that I took at WVU have helped me in my career path as a personal trainer. All of the personal training classes taught me about how to properly design an exercise program and appropriately progress clients in a safe and healthy manner. In addition, I learned a great deal from Nancy Naternicola, clinical instructor of fitness and wellness, about managing a fitness center when I interned at Stansbury Hall for a semester,” Biederman added.
1 Apr
Rogers Skateboarding has led Jeremy Rogers to connect with troubled children. Rogers, sport and exercise psychology graduate, created Colorado Motion to help adolescents overcome daily challenges and teach them life skills, resilience and perseverance.

“Colorado Motion provides a fresh approach to improving the lives and mental well-being of children and adolescents in the Colorado area. Colorado Motion utilizes the benefits of physical activity and counseling to provide child and adolescent mental health services. While engaging in physical activities ranging from skateboarding to hiking to playing catch, we build a mentorship-based relationship,” Rogers explained.

Rogers realized that a large population of children and adolescents were resistant to traditional therapy services and suffered from it. It was his goal to create a program to reach a diverse group of children.

“I would use my skateboard as a way to connect with these children and adolescents. I learned I could establish a relationship that was sufficient for therapeutic change through the shared experience of physical activity. Parents were excited about the results and kids were now engaging for the first time,” Rogers added.

Since its founding, the Colorado Motion program has received accolades from numerous sources in Colorado.

“The Teen Court of Colorado Springs has selected Colorado Motion as a treatment provider for the 2015-2016 year due to our ability to reach a diverse group of adolescents. Colorado Motion was recognized by Pikes Peak Young Leadership Group in December 2015 for its community value,” Rogers said.

“Colorado Motion has been invited to speak at various events pertaining to mentorship at City Hall, local high schools and our municipal courts. Colorado Motion has helped over 80 teens in El Paso County expunge their records, improve their academic performance and realize their potential,” he added.

Rogers is appreciative of his time at West Virginia University and constantly applies his education within his work.

“My education at WVU was an essential ingredient in the creation of Colorado Motion. When pitching the program to referral sources, I constantly referenced my SEP education around the psychological benefits of physical activity. Perhaps more importantly, my time at WVU inspired me to dream big,” Rogers explained.

Rogers credits Sport Sciences Department Chair Jack Watson for his leadership and guidance.

“Dr. Jack Watson was and continues to be such an incredible mentor in my life. Dr. Watson taught me how to believe in my dreams. He taught me how to dream vividly and plot specifically. Now, I believe that these dreams can turn into realities. Having Dr. Watson’s mentorship was the most impactful portion of my education at West Virginia University,” Rogers said.

After graduating from WVU, Rogers moved to Colorado to continue his education. “It had always been my dream to come out to Colorado and live in the mountains. Back in Morgantown, I decorated my room with posters of places in Colorado, like Pikes Peak, Breckenridge and Garden of the Gods. After visiting different campuses, I went to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs,” Rogers explained.