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College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


27 Oct
Amy Sidwell

Dr. Amy Sidwell and a student team at Fairmont State University were recently selected as the 2014 Ford Community College Challenge Winners.

The Ford College Community Challenge is designed to empower student-led projects at higher education organizations to catalyze community-building projects that address pressing local needs around the theme ‘Building Sustainable Communities.’

“As a doctoral student in CPASS, I was so fortunate to have professors who encouraged students to recognize health problems are not simply solved by one approach. My doctoral chair, Dr. Sean Bulger, has been a strong advocate for multidisciplinary work to solve health problems related to physical inactivity and poor nutrition.” Sidwell stated.

I’ve carried those lessons with me into my own classes and into my service activities,” She added.

Sidwell and her students created the project titled Bridging the Gap: Sustainable Community Revitalization, which draws upon students’ knowledge of gardening and will help revitalize Oliver Park in Fairmont. The proposed project will install gardens over neglected tennis courts, build a bridge to connect Oliver Park to the City’s 5th Street Park that hosts a summer feeding program. This program will also provide fresh donations to the student pantry.

Sidwell graduated from WVU CPASS with her M.S. and Ph.D. She currently serves as assistant professor, Health & Physical Education at FSU.

27 Oct
Renee Brown

Renee Brown, first year CPASS doctoral student, was awarded a University Provost Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year. Brown is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Physical Education-Teacher Education.

The University Provost Fellowship is awarded to a WVU student who shows academic merit and promise. It offers an annual stipend of $16,000, as well as remission of tuition, graduate health insurance and a college tuition scholarship. Brown was selected as the recipient after a competitive application process.

“If you are willing to make the effort to succeed, WVU will meet you half way to make sure that you do,” Brown stated.

Brown earned her undergraduate degree in sports administration and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Edinboro University in Northern Pennsylvania. During her time at Edinboro, Brown played as a starter for the women’s DII basketball team.

Provost fellows are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA and to give back to WVU and the Morgantown community by completing 80 hours of community service. Brown is currently a volunteer with the adapted PE and Aquatics program lead by CPASS faculty member Andrea Taliaferro.

“It’s a rewarding experience,” Brown added.

The Provost Fellowship has allowed Brown to focus more on her studies and achieve academic excellence. Brown is the first person in her family to pursue her doctorate degree.

“I am the first person in my family to pursue a degree of this prestige. This scholarship has given me more time to focus on my work and studies,” Brown said.

15 Oct
Blom photo

CPASS graduate Lindsey Blom was inducted into the Georgia Southern Athletics Hall of Fame. Blom was honored in July for her athletic accomplishments and impact on Georgia Southern University as a student-athlete, coach and supporter.

“I am humbled and a bit in shock still. I enjoy the ability to be active, learn new skills, and work with others; this is why I still play soccer several times a week,” Blom said.

Blom attended West Virginia University for her master’s degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sports Psychology. She then earned her doctorate in Education from WVU.

“Dr. Jack Watson was an instrumental mentor in my professional development. Under him I had the opportunity to work in my first sport for development program, develop solid research experience, identify my passion for understanding the psycho-social aspects of youth sport, and develop my teaching philosophy.”

I also had the opportunity to coach in the community and really build my coaching skills and experiences. We also developed some great, lasting friendships in the community and through the University,” she added.

In 2009, Blom published “Survival Guide for Coaching Youth Soccer.” This book provides a resource to parents who are asked to coach or want to learn how to coach a sport that they are unfamiliar with.

“I was excited about the opportunity to spread the word about how to coach with a positive approach/style and create an environment that helped children have great sport experiences and enjoy the game of soccer,” she stated.

Blom has achieved success by doing what she loves and offers this advice to students who wish to accomplish their dreams:

“I would offer the hope for students to identify their gifts and follow their passion in order to discover their purpose. When these align, success transpires. Students should then create a vision of what this purpose looks like and focus on the big picture rather than the details of potential obstacles.”

15 Oct
Adam Katchmarchi

Adam B. Katchmarchi, second year CPASS doctoral student, has received the 2014 National Swimming Pool Foundation Fellowship Award. Katchmarchi was presented with the award in September at the World Aquatic Health Conference in Portland, Oregon, along with a $2,000 award.

Katchmarchi’s research endeavors focus around aquatic risk management and education. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a focus on coaching and teaching studies and a cognate specialization in sport management.

Katchmarchi is a licensed teacher in the state of Pennsylvania, an American Red Cross Trainer in Lifeguarding and a Water Safety and a certified National Swimming Pool Foundation Instructor. Currently Katchmarchi teaches courses in the physical education, Physical Education Teacher Education and Athletic Coaching Education tracks at CPASS.

This award is given to an individual seeking an advanced degree as a full time student with a research focus related to safety around water. Katchmarchi is on the board of directors for two national nonprofits focusing on water safety. He serves as the executive secretary, chair of education and research, and co-coordinator of social media and marketing for the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.

Katchmarchi serves on the education committee and chair of the subcommittee of drowning prevention for the National Water Safety Congress. Katchmarchi is originally from Falls Creek, Pennsylvania.

23 May

College hosts second annual research day

Kimberly | May 23rd, 2014
Research Day

WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences hosted its second annual student and faculty research day on April 24 at the Coliseum, lower level. The event involved input from students, faculty members and the College’s Visiting Committee members who were on campus for their spring meeting. CPASS students and faculty members displayed research that they have presented at state, national and international conferences during the academic year to allow them to share projects with colleagues and guests.

23 May

WVU CPASS celebrates 2014 commencement

Kimberly | May 23rd, 2014
2014 Commencement

West Virginia University hosted a series of individual, personalized ceremonies for each school and college at a variety of venues on the Evansdale Campus and around Morgantown, including the WVU Coliseum, Creative Arts Center and Morgantown Event Center from May 9-11.

The WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences held its 2014 May Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 11, at 2:30 p.m. at the CAC. This year’s keynote speaker featured Gale Catlett, former WVU Men’s head basketball coach and CPASS Hall of Fame member.

Catlett is married to the former Anise Vandervort, a Morgantown native and former WVU cheerleader who earned a Master’s degree from the WVU School of Physical Education. They have two daughters: Krista (married to Ed Neumann) and Kara (married to Thomas Brown). When in West Virginia, Catlett and his wife are usually at their home in Morgantown or on the farm in his hometown of Hedgesville. In winter, they enjoy Florida and Hawaii’s warmer temperatures.

Catlett was inducted into the CPASS Hall of Fame in 1992 and was recognized as the CPASS Outstanding Alumnus in 1999. Catlett served as honorary chair in celebration of the College’s 75th Anniversary while serving as moderator for the keynote event, the Sports Legends symposium. The sports legends panel featured Catlett, Jerry West, Rod Hundley, Rod Thorn, Sam Huff, Chuck Howley and Kristin Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo.

18 Mar
A Morgan award Ashley Morgan, a sports and exercise psychology junior, is one of four students at WVU who has been selected as a candidate for the Truman Scholars Program.

Morgan credits the SEP faculty for their support and mentoring over the years. “I have finally found what I am passionate about,” Morgan stated. “I want to help children stay healthy and live healthy lifestyles.” She specifically mentioned three of her professors who have contributed the most to her academic experience, Dr. Clement, Dr. Watson and Dr. Zizzi.

The scholarship provides $30,000 toward a graduate education. “I would be granted many opportunities throughout my life from this award and have my choice of graduate school programs,” Morgan explained.

Morgan is in the process of applying at the national level. By early May, the Harry S. Truman Foundation will announce the 2014 scholar. Approximately 50-70 students in the nation will be selected.

The Truman Scholarship was created in 1975 as a living memorial to the thirty-third President. The scholarship program supports the graduate education and professional development of youth committed to public service leadership.

“Throughout my education at WVU, I have never once thought I was in the wrong place,” Morgan said.

Article by Drew Allen
11 Dec

Coach Matt O’Neil, ACE May 2013 graduate, has grown his career in the last six months as the coach of multiple competitive and high school swimming teams in the Cleveland area. O’Neil credits his success to the inspiring lessons the professors at CPASS provided him while earning his degree.

After graduation O’Neil was offered a position as the head swim coach at a country club where he coached 80 kids during multiple practices per day.

“I was using my knowledge that I learned in school to have them as well prepared for the end of the season as possible,” O’Neil states.

Although the swimmers worked hard O’Neil’s first season as coach did not go as planned, with the team earning a 3-5 record. Going up against teams that had double the number of swimmers, O’Neil’s determined team rounded out the season with a third place finish at the championship meet. This was a significant accomplishment since in previous years the team was unable to finish better than sixth place.

Following his position with the country club O’Neil started working as the diving coach for three high schools, as well as helping his old coach with 14 other high schools in the area.

“I am so excited that I finally have my own divers to mold, hopefully into college athletes,” says O’Neil.

O’Neil is making the most out of his ACE degree to establish a career based on the incredible education the professors provided to him.

“I have taken much of what we discussed in Dr. Dieffenbach’s training theories class to give the kids the best opportunity to improve, mainly focusing on balance and coordination. I am straying away from doing what they’ve always done and going toward what should make them the best according to theory,” explains O’Neil.

O’Neil is using the ACE program to reach his goal of eventually becoming a Division I coach. He gives credit to Drs. Ziatz, Flett, Dieffenbach and others for guiding him in how to be successful in his career.

“Every single day both at my job and while I’m coaching I constantly use what I was taught by Dr. Ziatz. My kids now know that attitude is the most important thing to bring to practice and that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ even in such an individual sport,” O’Neil adds.

Article by Cassandra LoPiccolo
10 Dec
Leigh A Bryant_Digital Photo Leigh Alison Bryant, sport and exercise psychology graduate student, was recently elected as the student representative for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

The AASP, founded in 1986, is an organization that promotes the ethical practice and development of science in the field of sports psychology. Bryant assumed the position at the organization’s recent annual conference in New Orleans.

Bryant’s primary responsibilities include promoting AASP at the student level. “This opportunity has allowed me to serve in a more direct, authoritative role after contributing to various student initiatives and committees,” explains Bryant.

The student representative position has opened numerous doors for her, allowing her to communicate with professionals and other AASP student members. Bryant’s new networking opportunities include practitioners who work with athletes and the Army and psychologists who are registered under the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry.

According to Bryant, being at WVU has helped her prepare for this position. She sought advice from several SEP faculty members, including Dr. Clement and Dr. Watson, before accepting the position. The faculty helped her estimate how much time and energy her new role would require and what she could possibly gain from the experience.

Based on the faculty mentorship and guidance she felt she was making the right decision on accepting the assignment. Bryant knew when she applied WVU that the SEP program and University would support conference attendance and professional development.

Bryant is grateful for the chance to attend the conference with other SEP graduate students and faculty.

“This opportunity will challenge me to learn more about myself as a leader, colleague and member of the organization. I hope to provide clarity to my peers about the profession’s marketability and training through the efforts of the executive board,” she adds.
Article by Tyler Le
10 Dec

Landon Johnson, a sports management major, has spent the 2013 fall semester interning at University of Maryland under the Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Operating Officer Kelly Mehrtens. Mehrtens has been working for twenty-three years in the athletics administration. She also serves as the chief liaison to the President’s Office, Vice-President for Administration, Controller’s Office and Legal Affairs. Working with Mehrtens has made this experience rewarding for Johnson, who recently began the sports management program.

“On a daily basis I attend internal operation and leadership meetings, assist with the student-athlete advisory committee’s leadership development program and research different information pertaining to the ACC and The Big 10.”

Johnson feels that the CPASS sports management program has helped him to gain a stronger understanding of what goes on behind the scenes in sports. Johnson credits the program’s emphasis on the value of time and research. He has carried this knowledge over into his internship.

“Sports management at WVU allows me to educate myself while getting experience in the field.”

Article by Drew Allen