Skip to main content

College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


25 May
National Inclusion Project - Gymnastics Class

The National Inclusion Project has once again partnered with West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences to continue a program designed to break down barriers between those living with disabilities and those without through one simple, yet powerful, everyday activity — play.

The continuing partnership will support training for instructors and student mentors in Lifetime Activities programs including the WVU National Youth Sports Program, swim lessons, and gymnastics classes.

Andrea Taliaferro, CPASS assistant professor of Adapted Physical Education, and Mary Wolk, program coordinator for Lifetime Activities, said the partnership with the National Inclusion Project has grown the College’s ability to promote inclusion of participants with disabilities and help families at the same time.

“It would have been difficult to effectively bring such awareness to our program and expand the physical activity outlets and opportunities for kids with disabilities in our community without the connection and financial support provided by the National Inclusion Project,” Wolk said.

Thanks to the partnership, CPASS has been able to overcome barriers and better serve children with special needs in each activity. The funding has allowed Lifetime Activities to provide in-depth training of staff and instructors, hire trained mentors to attend inclusive programming to provide support to participants with disabilities, increase the ratio of staff to children and raise awareness of the new offerings through promotional materials.

Parents believe that the project increases confidence while the activities build skills to excel and compete in different sports. They point to how the interaction between children with special needs and their peers builds understanding and friendships.

As part of the arrangement, CPASS has received a $7,500 grant to support Lifetime Activities through specialized training on how to work with individuals who need special support.

WVU CPASS is one of the select organizations that the National Inclusion Project has chosen to partner with for a second year. “We are excited to continue our work with the West Virginia University Lifetime Activities Program to enhance the inclusive opportunities for the children in this community,” says Nick Leisey, National Inclusion Project Executive Director.

24 May
Gee SM Lecture

Every spring semester, juniors and seniors majoring in sport management are required to take Leadership in Sport Organizations SM 350. In this course students get the opportunity to learn and discuss the basic tenets of leadership theory and its application to sport.

Last spring, Dr. Gonzalo Bravo, associate professor and course instructor, decided to go beyond the books and invite industry front-runners to the classroom to discuss their perspectives on leadership in various fields such as community development, collegiate athletics, outdoors expeditions and higher education administration. From February to April, five high profile heads visited CPASS and provided students with various perspectives of how direction occurs in and outside the domain of sport.

On February 26, Billy Williams, strategic partnership director at NURU International presented the case of how servant management occurs in a non-for-profit organization that aims to end extreme poverty in remote rural areas of the world. Williams discussed that leaders are not just individuals with a vision, but, most importantly, take an active role in making that vision happen. While NURU goals are not directly connected to sport, the examination of how leadership operates in this non-governmental organization demonstrates how to equip leaders with the tools needed to design and implement effective and sustainable community programs.

On March 11, CPASS Dean Dana Brooks shared his leadership philosophy which stressed the importance of developing people’s skills at work. Brooks noted that in working environments it is of paramount importance to keep and maintain positive relationships and a good dose of humor with the people you work with.

On May 18, Aldo Boitano, board member for the International Leadership Association, discussed how different aspects of management occur in a non-traditional sport setting like in an expedition to the Himalayas. Boitano discussed the meaning and application of leadership in theory and from his own experience as a world class climber. He explained the importance of developing trust among peers and the capacity to make quick decisions when facing high risk situations.

Shane Lyons Visit

On April 15, Shane Lyons, director of Intercollegiate Athletics and associate vice president at West Virginia University, shared his philosophy and vast experience in working in collegiate athletics. Lyons highlighted the importance of exercising patience and reflectiveness when making important decisions and the need to recognize when decisions need to be made. For those anxious to advance their professional career, Lyons stressed the value of learning to be patient and wait for the right time to make important personnel decisions. Lyon, who is a proud West Virginian and sport management program alumnus, discussed the importance of learning from others and being personal and approachable.

Finally, on April 26, students had the opportunity to meet WVU President E. Gordon Gee. President Gee discussed the importance of sound decisions, relying not only on deep thinking, careful analysis and having access to a team of advisors, but also on the capacity to make the final call and endure further criticism if things go in the opposite direction. In this regard, Gee said that leaders must develop a “thick skin” and a good sense of humor. Gee stressed the importance of authenticity. “A great leader is someone who isn’t afraid to be who he/she is.” Gee provided several examples of complex decisions he had made in regard to collegiate athletics.

CPASS sport management students and faculty thank the five presenters for sharing their expertise and perspective on leadership with the College.

11 May
SEP-Grad Multiple Sport and Exercise Psychology current and former graduate students have recently received academic-based recognition, career offers and interviews for competitive positions.

“These SEP graduate students have done a fantastic job and worked very hard for all these opportunities. I’m impressed with their amazing accomplishments,” said Sam Zizzi, professor, SEP.

Shuang Li has had her first on campus interview for a faculty position, while Megan Byrd has received a job offer from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, Ca. Chelsea Butters has received a job offer at National University in San Diego and Janaina Fogaca has received a fellowship from the WVU Office of Graduate Education. This competitive fellowship will allow Fogaca to spend her last year focusing on pursuing her research without the burden of teaching or service obligations

Byrd and Fogaca spoke about their time at WVU. “The WVU alumni network is outstanding. Our alumni do great work that represents WVU and our program so well that having WVU on my degree opens possibilities,” said Byrd.

“The most helpful resource I found at WVU was mentorship. Dr. Zizzi, my advisor, is very good at adjusting to my pace and teaching and giving me the tools that I need to succeed. I have learned a lot about all aspects of research and sport psychology in general,” said Fogaca.

“I have learned a lot about life as well, which helps me be a better professional in the end of the day. Another important factor is that all SEP faculty are always available to help us out, even when we are not their advisees,” Fogaca explained

Fogaca plans to use her extra time with the fellowship to work on her dissertation and also work on a research project on the side. “I do intend to keep my line of research (supervision in sport psychology) in the future and I believe that being a good researcher also improves my teaching.”

Meanwhile, Byrd wants to continue her studies and research regarding concussions. “My career goal is to find a University position where I can balance teaching, consulting and research,” Byrd concluded.
11 May
Steve-Picture-WVU-Foundation A desire to repay West Virginia University for positive experiences has led Steve Hyer to establish a new endowment for the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences that will provide scholarships for CPASS students.

“This gift offers excellent opportunities for our students. The funds fill an ongoing need at CPASS as we expand our programs and learning experiences for students,” said Dana D. Brooks, CPASS dean and professor of Physical Education.

The scholarship, the Steve and Regina Hyer Endowed Scholarship, will support CPASS Athletic Coaching Education students. A 1965 graduate of WVU, Steve Hyer earned his B.S. in Athletic Coaching Education. The endowment gift amount is $25,000.

“My desire to create the scholarship was to give students a chance for an education. I want kids to have the same opportunity I had to go into education and coaching. The faculty at the school were some of the best people. My advisor, John Semon, helped get me through the program. He was an inspiration,” Hyer explained.

Steve Hyer is a native of Elkins, W.Va. and now lives and works in Salem, Va. He earned his Master’s in Education from Radford University. He taught and coached for 17 years, serving as an administrator for 10 of those years. After retiring from teaching, Steve went into financial services. He didn’t leave coaching far behind, though. For the past 34 years, he has continued his passion for coaching with area baseball teams.

“I’m happy to help someone through this scholarship,” Hyer added.

The Foundation, in partnership with the University, is currently conducting A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The goal of the largest fundraising effort in the history of the University is to raise $1 billion by December 2017. For more information on the campaign, visit

For further information on the comprehensive campaign, please visit or
11 May
Brady-Nolan College of Physical Activity and Sport Science’s Honor’s College student Brady Nolan Brady has earned significant recognition during his career as a student. Nolan’s awards were a result of passion to excel and hard work.

Nolan is a senior athletic coaching education major. He was named a 2015 WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior and selected as 2015 Mr. Mountaineer, served as a New Student Orientation leader and as a member of the Mountaineer Marching Band for three years. Nolan was named as the alternate Mountaineer Mascot for 2014-2015. He was sponsored by the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences.

Nolan spoke at the 2015 CPASS Wall of Honor ceremony about how private support has impacted his studies and success at WVU.

“This semester I received the Hope Harper Loar Scholarship. I take great pride in getting an award that was designated for a West Virginian. Since I’ve received financial support through multiple scholarships at WVU, I’ve been a three-year member of the Pride of West Virginia. I was the alternate Mountaineer Mascot this past year and I’m taking 24 credit hours this semester to pursue my dream of becoming a physical therapist. I’m volunteering as well as managing coursework as I prepare to apply to physical therapy school at WVU. That’s what I think is so special about WVU and CPASS. Our alumni are willing to share in their success and ensure that students, like me, are able to follow their passion.

“CPASS has come a long way from when the College was at E. Moore Hall and Stansbury Hall. I started my CPASS career in the Coliseum. It was an emotional time when we moved to the new building. The progress we have experienced in our innovative home is amazing. The technology allows us to advance our studies and compete for careers. None of this could have happened without the support from people like yourself. I would like to thank our donors for their generosity.”

As the 2015 Mr. Mountaineer recipient during the WVU vs. Texas Tech football game on Nov. 7, Nolan reflected on his decision to apply.

“I applied to be Mr. Mountaineer because I have respect for the award which is given to a male student who shows outstanding academic achievement and extracurricular involvement. I have represented the University in several ways throughout my undergraduate career and I thought my involvement and academic success would make me a good candidate for the award,” Nolan explained.

“To win such a prestigious award at West Virginia University puts a perfect finish to my undergraduate career. Being named a finalist was also a great feeling. I feel that all of the finalists are very qualified and deserving of the award. I take great pride in West Virginia University and the state of West Virginia, so being named “Mr. Mountaineer” means a lot to me. WVU has rich culture and tradition and I am proud to represent this University as Mr. Mountaineer,” Nolan added.
6 May
N-Young_McNair-Scholars Nicole Young, Sport and Exercise Psychology 2016 May graduate, was awarded a Fulbright grant to work as an English teaching assistant in Malaysia for 10 months, beginning next January. Young is from New Castle, Pa., about 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, with a population of 24,000.

“I know that living in Malaysia will be a completely different experience than what I am used to here. The areas that I may be teaching in are poorer, rural areas so it will be an adjustment. As far as teaching goes I think I think it will be fun to connect with secondary school aged students,” Young explained.

Young will teach students between 13 and 17 years old. “This is a pretty carefree age and I think that will make my job an interesting and fun one. I hope to show my students the diversity in culture and life that the United States has; from what I know, they tend to have a very one dimensional picture of the US,” said Young.

“I don’t exactly know what to expect yet but I hope to connect with my students in a way that contributes to their growth as students, as I am sure they will contribute to mine,” she added.

Young’s previous awards include an Academic Excellence Award at the Diversity for Equity and Inclusions graduate ceremony and the Outstanding Senior award in Africana Studies within Eberly College.

“I have been fortunate enough to be able to connect and receive advice and support from multiple faculty and staff on this campus. My mentor and professor Dr. Krystal Frazier in Eberly College often pushed me out of my comfort zone but still provided encouragement and support throughout the time that I have known her,” Young said.

Young credits the staff and mentors from the McNair Scholars Program for their guidance. “They helped me to grow in ways that I didn’t even know was possible. I feel that through their help within the program I have been able to become a better rounded individual in all areas of my life,” she stated.

CPASS faculty members also played a significant role as mentors. “Dr. Zizzi, Dr. Clement and Dr. Watson were also great influences in my success. They were tough but never in a way that I felt was unreasonable; I always felt like they were available to help me with anything that I needed,” Young added.

Young notes that her involvement in clubs, organizations and movements on campus offered “a rich and rewarding experience.”

“I have grown tremendously as a person just by surrounding myself and connecting with leaders on this campus,” Young explained.
6 May
IMG_2107 The College of Physical Activities and Sport Sciences hosted 2016 Student Research Day in April at the Evansdale Library. This event allows students to present their research topics and receive direct feedback about their work.

“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,” explained Jack Watson, professor and chair, Department of Sport Sciences.

Faculty recognized Thiago Barbosa, Athletic Coaching Education graduate student, Aaron Goodson, Sport and Exercise Psychology graduate student, Jabin Weaver, Coaching and Sport Education graduate student, Alison Coates, Chelsie Yingling and Jessica Garrett, Sport and Exercise Psychology students, and Emily Gardner, Athletic Coaching Education student, as the top participants.

“I chose to get involved in CPASS Research Day because it is something that I have wanted to do since I learned about it during my first academic year here. I think that it is a great opportunity to interact with students and faculty members across the college in a way that we don’t always get to do during the hustle and bustle of the semester. Students across the college are completing and presenting great work and I just wanted to share that space with them,” explained Goodson.

Students like the interaction with faculty and peers. “It was a nice experience to have the opportunity to show the result of my work and to see what other people have been doing. I was surprised to win the best graduate applied poster and it was an honor to have my work recognized among so many great projects,” said Barbosa.

“I had an overall good experience. It was fun telling others about the research we had been doing and working so hard on,” concluded Coates.

Winners were selected by faculty, who used a standardized rubric to evaluate research as well as topics. Judges then reviewed ratings and announced the best posters and research awards.

Undergraduate Research Winner – Alison Coates, Chelsie Yingling, Jessica Garrett
Graduate Research Winner – Aaron Goodson
Undergraduate Applied Winner – Emily Gardner
Graduate Applied Winner – Jabin Weaver
Graduate Applied Winner – Thiago Barbosa
6 May
Fansler 2 A series of unexpected twists and turns have guided a CPASS student to an undergraduate major, and now, a decision about the right fit for a graduate program. Allison Fansler, WVU Honor’s College student, will graduate from WVU on May 13 with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, and will begin the physician assistant master’s program at Alderson Broaddus University at the end of May.

Fansler’s road to her undergraduate degree was difficult at times. She suffered an ACL injury which involved a lengthy recovery. Fansler then sustained another knee injury, which required a cartilage implant and a more significant surgery.
“With ACL injuries becoming more and more common, everyone knows it’s a devastating injury. Having an end goal in mind helped me to overcome the injury. By having the mindset of ‘being able to do anything if you set your mind to it’ has carried over in other aspects of life for me as well, whether it was getting back from a knee injury, or learning new things in clinical hours, or working hard in school to get accepted into PA school,” she explained.

Fansler says she discovered her passion for athletic training thanks to that knee injury. Travis Randolph, a local physician’s assistant who was a WVU graduate of the athletic training program, treated her injury.

“After getting into athletic training, talking to Travis and other older students helped me to discover the physician assistant profession. He allowed me to shadow him multiple times, gaining valuable experience and really helped me a lot along the way with the application process for physician assistant school,” she said.

Fansler is grateful for her time at WVU and is thankful for everything that she has learned.

“I think CPASS is a wonderful college to be a part of. We have top notch professors in each field available at our fingertips for guidance and learning. Our faculty has accomplished some amazing accolades and I am grateful to have learned from some of the best,” Fansler explained.

Fansler’s favorite class created a new career vision. “For a whole semester we were given the opportunity to fully dissect a human body. Being one of the first classes taken after being accepted into the athletic training program that not many other undergrads get to partake in, it, along with other factors, helped me realize I wanted to be somewhere involved with surgery in my career,” she explained.

Her goal is to one day work in orthopedics, but she is open to gaining interest in other areas of medicine, depending on how her schooling progresses.
4 May
O4ztbQiY Ariel Buric credits her education and mentors at WVU for helping her follow her passion. She recently began working with reserves and active duty soldiers in the National Guard, focusing on health and wellness principles.

“I chose my education based on my interests and the minor for the same reason. I love how the body works as a machine and enjoy teaching people how to use it more efficiently,” Buric explained.

Buric received a group fitness minor with CPASS, while earning a bachelor’s in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition in 2012. She completed a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology in 2014.

“WVU provided me with a great education and excellent resources,” she added.

According to Buric, Nancy Naternicola, CPASS clinical instructor, fitness and wellness, and Danny Bonner and Diana Gilleland, professors, Exercise Physiology, played important roles in her education.
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.