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College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


25 Mar

The WVU Sport and Exercise Psychology program will host Dr. Mitch Abrams, Friday, April 3, 2015, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in the CPASS building, room 103. As an expert in effective anger management practices in athletes, Dr. Abrams’ presentation will focus on problems with anger management in sport along with the belief that anger is a problem and it must be eradicated in order to be successful. Abrams believes that the work starts with normalizing anger, teaching one to own it, and then learning how to adjust the intensity of it to the level that would be most helpful for the task at hand, whether in sport or in other aspects of one’s life.

Abrams recognizes that many people have different degrees of anger problems and it manifests itself accordingly. His approach for anger management training works best with individuals who have skills deficits and are motivated to become more empowered and effective in their lives. According to Abrams, anger management is about both performance enhancement and transgression reduction.

The free workshop will begin by providing a vocabulary and overview of interventions, then cover the skills needed to reduce reactive aggression, which is fueled by high levels of anger and interfere with performance. This will include an overview of relaxation exercises, cognitive restructuring, and communication skills. Finally, moral development and prediction of consequences will be addressed, before wrapping up with evaluation and modification of procedures and a final open discussion. For more information, please contact Michael Berrebi,

19 Mar

CPASS students among winning SGA party

Hannah | March 19th, 2015
MAD movement

On March 5, the results of the 2015 West Virginia University Student Government Association elections were officially announced. The election was a clean sweep, with all 19 winners belonging to the Make a Difference (MAD) Movement. Four College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences students with unique platforms for WVU are among the newly elected MAD Movement.

Ashley Morgan, a senior sport and exercise psychology major, was elected as vice president. Having served two terms as athletic councilor, Morgan has a vision for WVU at the student, local, state, and Big 12 level. Creating a student summit is a top priority for Morgan, who believes it is vital for “the voices of student leaders across campus to be heard no matter what their major, club, or organization.”

Expanding on this goal, Morgan is focused on getting an ex-officio student member on the Morgantown City Council, appointed annually to a one-year term by SGA, as a student voice. She hopes to continue community service and outreach to local areas and working with extension offices across the state to give back to West Virginia.

“We want to showcase the true pride and spirit of Mountaineers,” Morgan said. “We want to make sure the world knows what it means to be a Mountaineer and get rid of the negative attention we often times receive.”

Matt Ferrara shares Morgan’s goal of changing perceptions of WVU. A junior sports management student, he has many plans for his new role as athletic councilor. His main objective is to change the way WVU students behave after winning games through different sports traditions. Ferrara has already taken steps to accomplish his goal of respecting and taking care of our school.

“I’ve created a new tradition I would like to implement this upcoming fall football season called the fifth quarter,” Ferrara explained. “I want to provide students with a safer alternative than rioting. I also want to work on showing students the true traditions of WVU sports.”

Sommers Taylor, a sophomore sports and exercise psychology major, has plans of her own as the other newly elected athletic councilor. Taylor’s platform centers on athletic transportation and support. Her goal is to obtain transportation to the new baseball field at University Town Centre and further extend this transportation to other sporting events as well. Taylor’s platform focuses on gaining support for women’s teams, which includes increasing low attendance rates. Taylor’s “focus on women’s teams” will make her an advocate for female athletes at WVU.

Amanda Hutchison, a junior sport and exercise psychology major, is already an experienced student advocate at WVU. She is one of the 15 students elected to serve on the Board of Governors. Hutchison’s previous accomplishments include the creating the director of accessibility position within the SGA, which focuses on advocating for accessibility issues affecting students with disabilities. She also convinced the athletic department to build ADA-approved seating in the football stadium for the 2016 season.

This year, Hutchison is striving for a medical amnesty policy that would help students who need a break from school due to an illness, death in the family, or mental health issue. Hutchison believes students deserve other options than simply withdrawing from the semester or university.

Morgan, Ferrara, Taylor, and Hutchison will assume their SGA positions at an inauguration in April.

19 Mar
IMG_0361 (1)

After six months of hard work, West Virginia University graduate sports management students were rewarded with a trip to New York to present their research findings. Eleven students in the Sports Marketing Research Methods/Sports Poll class, taught by Dallas Branch, associate professor of sport management at WVU, showcased their work in a presentation for Kantar Media on March 2.

The presentation was a success, with Sports Business Journal deeming the findings from CPASS students worthy of publication in the upcoming edition.
The project was an opportunity for students to work in conjunction with the advertising and sponsorship company Kantar Media. The students were given access to data from Kantar regarding the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament, including media value for sponsors in the tournament as well as college basketball sponsorship awareness and product usage among sponsors.

Students utilized the data to make their own predictions for the 2015 tournament. Hannah Martin, Scott Fletcher, Alyssa Leonard, and Kristen Furlong were the students who presented.

“Having access to the data we did is something not many people get to do, and I think I speak for the class when I say it was one of the most interesting projects we’ve ever worked on,” said Martin. “The project helped to open our eyes to a new side of sport management.”

The trip kicked off with an NBA game at Madison Garden Square, which Branch described as “a real treat for many who had never been.” The students watched the New York Knicks play the Toronto Raptors and even enjoyed a private pregame tour. Sunday was free time for the students to explore the “Big Apple” as they split into groups to experience attractions such as Central Park and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

“Our trip to New York City was a great way to cap off the project, highlighted by some fun before we actually presented our findings to the company,” said Leonard.

Monday consisted of an hour-long presentation to the senior management and staff of Kantar Media, while Sports Business Journal, headquartered in Charlotte, listened via a teleconference call. The students’ data analysis work was found useful for editorial purposes, and will be printed in the journal in upcoming weeks.

For Fletcher, the project was a valuable learning experience on “analyzing large amounts of data, condensing our findings, and focusing on achieving objectives all into an hour presentation.”

Tracey Schoenadel, the vice president for Sport and Sponsorship Solutions at Kantar Media, is a CPASS alumna, who worked with the students all semester to develop the project.

“The students were fantastic and the quality of education and training showed,” Schoendal said. “As an alum of the program, it made me very proud,” she added.

Brandon McClung, another WVU alumnus, works with Sports Business Journal and was present for the teleconference. He said the presentation brought back memories of his own graduate ESPN Poll Sports project and that the students “did a great job.”

Fletcher explained that having WVU graduates who work for Kantar at the presentations helped the students comfort levels.

“Their hospitality and generosity made us feel at home in an unfamiliar place, and was a great example of Mountaineers taking care of their own,” Fletcher explained.

“It was a great experience to go and present our work professionally in New York and get a glimpse of what it takes to make a project of that magnitude cohesively come together,” Martin said.

11 Mar
Mylan Park School_read and ride More than 470 educators will attend the March 14 physical activity training hosted by CPASS and the WV Department of Education. This state-wide effort provides workshops focused on improving physical activity in primary schools.

The trainings are intended to better prepare K-8 teachers and school administrators to address recent policy changes committed to improving the culture of physical activity in schools. It provides beneficial resources to incorporate more physical activity in the school day, training on comprehensive school physical activity programming and innovative ways to incorporate physical activity into the academic setting. Studies consistently show that students who get more physical activity perform better academically and have fewer behavioral issues in school.

Educators from around the state will receive training on the integration of physical activity across a variety of subject areas including math, science, language arts, and social sciences. Classroom physical activity is recognized as a critical component of comprehensive school physical activity program development.

CPASS Physical Education Teacher Education faculty have established a national reputation through school-based interventions like Greenbrier CHOICES and McDowell CHOICES. The featured instructional resource during the trainings, Active Academics,, was developed by CPASS Ware Distinguished Professor Eloise Elliott. The response has been so positive that additional trainings are scheduled for April.

9 Mar

Thomas Moran, Ph.D., CAPE, and Sarah Carson Sackett, Ph.D., both of James Madison University, will visit the WVU campus. Carson Sackett will speak on Tuesday, March 10, 11 a.m. – noon, CPASS building, room 101, to discuss the techniques of coaching.

Moran will speak on Wednesday, March 11, 9:30 – 10:45 a.m., CPASS building room 101 and focus on the meeting the needs of athletes of all abilities. Both Moran and Carson Sackett will present a panel discussion from 3 – 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Tom Thomas Moran, Ph.D., CAPE, James Madison University, is an associate professor in the department of Kinesiology. His specialty area is adapted physical education. Moran’s passion stems from his personal experiences as an individual with Cerebral Palsy. His scholarly work revolves around two areas, addressing barriers to community based participation for individuals with disabilities and providing educators, coaches, and instructors a systematic approach to adequately meet the needs of individuals of all abilities, including disabilities. Moran is the executive director of Empowerment3, the Center for Physical Activity and Wellness for Underserved Youth. One of the successful programs based in the center, Overcoming Barriers, serves as a physical activity mentoring program that currently provides 16 courses each semester serving more than 200 youth and adults with disabilities in school and community based settings. He has given more than 100 professional presentations related to adapted physical education, disability sport, and empowerment. He is the recipient of the 2010 Duncan Wyeth Service Award given by AACPDM and was featured in a documentary made about his life as an individual with Cerebral Palsy, entitled “Why Me?”

Sarah Sarah Carson Sackett, Ph.D., is an assistant professor, Department of Kinesiology at James Madison University and serves as the associate director for the Morrison Bruce Center for the Promotion of Physical Activity for Girls and Women. Carson Sackett has more than a decade of experience as a researcher, instructor, sport psychology performance consultant, coaching educator, and track and field athlete. She earned her graduate degrees in sport and exercise psychology from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and Michigan State University. Carson Sackett sees psychosocial issues in sport from the perspectives of the athlete, coach, applied practitioner, and researcher. Her ability to understand multiple points of view and her passion for sport have resulted in quality work and an outstanding reputation early in her career. Her research interests include positive youth development and coaching strategies for life skills development in sport, and the dynamic relationships between physical activity, fitness, motor skill proficiency, and perceived competence.
4 Mar
PETE_day care partnership_2

Preschoolers from a Morgantown daycare are learning through play as they hop, run, throw and laugh in the multipurpose room in the new CPASS building. While the little ones benefit from movement, PETE students gain valuable teaching experience through interaction with the children.

The partnership, created 20 years ago by former Ware Distinguished Professor Dr. Linda Carson, encourages physical activity for the 2-5 year-olds from Chyleen’s Daycare. Dr. Carson proposed the partnership to owner Chyleen Young to allow PETE students firsthand opportunities in working with young children. The program, formerly housed at E. Moore Hall, encourages activity and movement among the preschoolers.

The preschool teachers like the move to the new CPASS building since it allows them to watch the class from the observation area. Young believes that the program is an effective way for her preschoolers to learn through play.

“It’s great for PETE students because this is one program of many where we get to work with a different age group,” said Logan Bane, a junior PETE student. “We get a dose of each age and that helps us figure out our niche and where we’d like to get a job,” Bane added.

The two- and three-year-olds visit on Tuesday mornings, while the four- and five-year-olds meet on Thursdays. The older age group has structured play with a variety of stations to teach different skills. With the younger children, the PETE students aim to establish an environment for them to explore and be active.

For senior Alyson Snyder, a double major in PETE and music education, working with the younger group has been a beneficial experience. “At that age, they are just happy all the time,” she said. “For me, it’s the best part of the week.”

The children have access to a variety of play equipment to use. Upbeat music plays in the background as the children romp around the multipurpose gym with mini scooters, balls, wagons, hoola hoops, parachutes, and more. Four to five PETE students supervise and interact, encouraging movement.

“It’s cool to get the kids out of a routine and just have fun playing, which is so important. The kids have so much contagious enthusiasm which reaffirms my decision to be a PE teacher and makes me excited for the future,” said Brianne Connelly, a junior PETE major.

According to Carol Wilson, teacher at Chyleen’s Daycare, the children talk all week about the fun they had and are always asking when they get to go back.

“This is an awesome environment for our children and we feel very fortunate to be a part,” said Young.

24 Feb
Straughn_cheer squad

Two years ago, ACE master’s student Shelbie Ann Straughn envisioned creating the first special needs all-star cheerleading team in Morgantown. Through Straughn’s passion to create access for all, the Shining Stars team was born. Today the team is thriving with a complete two and a half minute routine and six competitions under their belt.

Straughn, a life-long cheerleader, came to West Virginia University from Ohio in 2009. She began working as a certified USAF level 5 all-star cheerleading coach at the Champion Training Academy later that year.

The idea of the Shining Stars team originated when Straughn coached a team where two sisters of cheerleaders had disabilities. The sisters loved to watch the girls practice and perform. That’s when she knew she wanted to create an inclusive team for kids with disabilities.

“I wanted to start this program to give back to the community and to give everyone the opportunity to have fun and experience competitive cheerleading,” Straughn said.

“My goal is to get our name and program out around the state of West Virginia and let it be known that this is the first special needs all-star cheerleading team Morgantown has ever had,” she added.

Straughn received support from Stepping Stones, who shared brochures with the Special Olympics organization. The Times West Virginian in Fairmont, W.Va. wrote a front-page article for the sports section. The Shining Stars team began practicing at the CTA by the start of the 2013-14 season.

The team includes seven members and six helpers who are cheerleaders on other teams at CTA. The group practices their routine to music once a week, including tumbling, stunting, jumping, and dancing. CTA tuition, uniform and entrance fees to the competition are all free to the squad. The only athlete expenses are travel costs, a competition bow and cheerleading shoes.

To date the Shining Stars have competed six times in three different states. This year they have competed in Pittsburgh twice. The team is looking forward to the rest of the season, which includes competitions in Ohio, Pennsylvania and the US Finals in Virginia Beach.

“Being able to see the excitement on all of my athletes faces after competing is one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced,” Straughn said. She serves as the head coach of the team as well as head coach of the Mini level 1, Junior level 2, and Senior Coed level 3 squads.

Straughn received her bachelor’s degree in Sports and Exercise Psychology, with a minor in Athletic Coaching Education. As an undergraduate she was a member of the Sport and Exercise Psychology club. Currently, Straughn is studying to complete the Disability Studies certificate program and is a graduate assistant in the Office of Accessibility Services.

17 Feb
ACE_Club Sports partnership_1 The CPASS Athletic Coaching Education program has partnered with West Virginia University Club Sports to offer sports conditioning sessions for club teams. The sessions are run by graduate students and supervised by Dr. Clayton Kuklick, CPASS teaching assistant professor.

The ACE major specializes in coaching and the science behind effective coaching strategies. Students in the ACE master’s program oversee the sessions which specialize in strength and conditioning. The group meets at Mylan Park on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with Wednesday afternoon trainings held in the instructional fitness lab and multipurpose gym in the CPASS building.

Kuklick reports a positive response in the first few weeks of the partnership. “In the second week of conditioning, we had 58 participants,” Kuklick said.

Each session includes four or five strength and conditioning interns who work with the athletes. Two of the interns run the training while two oversee strength and conditioning. Athletes have the option to train multiple nights a week. The student coaches tailor the sessions based on the requirements of each sport. However, because there may be athletes on different teams in the same session, the interns work to combine and blend the conditioning.

“There may be softball and boxing athletes in one session. So, the coaches will create a training session to meet the needs of those two sports. There is overlapping in some of the sessions, but the coaches do a great job of mixing up the training,” explained Dr. Kuklick.

Bruce Brubaker, program coordinator for WVU Club Sports, says the partnership with the ACE program is “a tremendous success.” Brubaker has already received positive feedback from athletes who have noticed an improvement in their strength and endurance.

“This is an excellent opportunity to integrate CPASS strength and conditioning expertise with club sports,” Brubaker said. “A lot of participants have never experienced training like this and are really enjoying it.”

Intramural teams can contact Dr. Kuklick for more information or to register: or 304-293-0851.
17 Feb
Kristen Siers_Mason Dixon elementary team The children enrolled in Americorp’s award-winning Energy Express program are not the only ones who benefit greatly from its unique summer curriculum. Kristen Siers, a senior Sport and Exercise Psychology major at West Virginia University, and mentor for the acclaimed program, says the program inspired and encouraged her to take the next steps in her academic career.

Energy Express, under the leadership of WVU Extension Service’s 4-H Youth Development program, takes place in more than 80 sites across the state of West Virginia and provides children, particularly in low-income communities, learning opportunities and nutrition to help prevent them from falling behind on reading levels during the summer months off from school.

Siers served as a mentor at Mason-Dixon Elementary school in Monongalia County and worked with a class of eight children in first and second grades on reading, writing and art skills. Interacting closely with these kids, she created lesson plans around their book of the week, each centered on a topic such as friends, family, or making the world a better place.

While there was definitely an emphasis on reading and writing, a big part of the program was also providing nutrition for the children.

“For breakfast and lunch, we would focus on family style meals where we sat together and passed around the meals which instilled a sense of family for our class,” explains Siers.

Siers incorporated fun activities such as art and drama, including a play put on for the parents at the end of the summer.

“Our classroom theme was “barnyard,” so we put on a play that followed the book, Big Red Barn, and it was an absolute hit,” exclaims Siers. “I have never been so happy or proud as I was of my class that night. We practiced that play for several weeks leading up to the open house.”

The children in the Energy Express program were not the only ones largely impacted at the end of the six weeks.

“I am currently applying to graduate school to pursue counseling as a career,” explains Siers. “I have always known that I wanted to go into a helping profession, but it really became clear to me thanks to my experience at Energy Express that I could help people through the field of counseling.”

Recalling her past summer experience with Energy Express, Siers had nothing but fond words for the program.

“This program does so much for the state of West Virginia and the kids throughout local communities. It was an absolute privilege to be able to work with the families and kids,” recalls Siers.

“Seeing them grow over the six weeks was something that helped pushed me towards my career and future, so I am forever grateful for having had the opportunity.”
9 Feb

PETE grad earns national credentials

Hannah | February 9th, 2015
Jennifer Kwiatkowski, physical education and health teacher, recently completed her National Board Certification. The Clay-Batelle High School teacher is now one of fifty-three educators in Monongalia County to hold the National Board Certification Teacher credential.

The NBCT credential is recognized as the highest level of teacher certification. For the CPASS graduate, who earned her undergraduate and master’s degree in physical education teacher education, the process was an outstanding chance to stimulate her teaching skills.

“It was an opportunity to reflect on my teaching and fine tune my skills as an educator,” said Kwiatkowski. “I was encouraged to change my ‘routine’ that teachers tend to fall into, and this change was a positive one.”

Kwiatkowski credits an amazing support system for the completion of her certification. Family and friends were patient and understanding throughout the process, knowing to leave her alone when she was working on the Boards. She tributes her fellow teachers—three from Clay-Battelle and two from Morgantown High— as providing the most significant help to her throughout the process.

“Although we were getting certified in different areas, it was beneficial to have help proof reading, editing, clarify misunderstandings, and emotionally supporting each other throughout the whole process,” Kwiatkowski said. “I never could have done it without my colleagues (friends) who were also being certified.”

The skills Kwiatkowski acquired through the PETE program provided her with a strong base for her National Boards assessment portfolio. “I use these skills daily in order to adjust my teaching to maximize student learning and activity time,” Kwiatkowski said, citing PETE’s wide variety of activity classes, as well as learning classroom modifications and data collection techniques.

In addition to CPASS, Kwiatkowski credits the West Virginia Physical Education Academy as “a huge asset” with earning her certification. The PE Academy provided Kwiatkowski with opportunities to gain continuing education hours, knowledge on incorporating technology in a physical education program, grant writing, and quality mentors, according to Kwiatkowski.

Earning the National Board Certification has already provided Kwiatkowski with new career opportunities. She has received invitations to get involved with committees as well as lead professional development. Kwiatkowski recognizes the achievement as a testament to her professionalism. According to a West Virginia Department of Education press release, certification demonstrates the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for success in college and career. Monongalia County ranks as fourth in the state for teachers holding the National Board Certification.