Friday, June 26, 2020

Debt free education

    Some of you know from my courses I am a big advocate of staying out of debt.  I try to sneak in a lesson, or at least bonus points activities about going through school debt free whenever I can.  It should come as no surprise that this is one of my favorite podcasts.  I recommend this to all my students: Undergraduates, graduates, advisees, in the cafeteria, randomly.  
    I do this because I love you, because I do not want you to be in bondage, because I want you to own your future, and I want you to experience the real freedom that comes with an education without strings.  I have seen so many of you through my years at A-State, and so many before you wish they had heard this earlier.  So let me say it loud and clear.  You pay attention now, apply yourself.  Listen to this podcast and use what you learn.  Come see me if you don't understand, I will give you a hand grasping ideas and brainstorming options.  The Financial Aid and Scholarships office is also there to help you, just remember loans, grants, and scholarships are three different things.  
    Keep your ear to the ground and do not miss out on program, department, and college scholarships.  It is a shame when those go unused and you are going around borrowing money. Make it easier for future you! What other scholarship opportunities are out there? Share links in the comments so other students can see them. Share the wealth!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Sport Management presentation

   I wanted to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended my Sport Management talk on the inaugural day of the 1st International Virtual Congress of Physical Culture and Sport.  The Congress was hosted by the Meritorious Autonomous University of Aguascalientes.  Congratulations on a wonderful first Virtual Congress, and specially for the enthusiasm and ambition of the students and attendees.  It was my pleasure and honor to close your sport management speakers sessions. 
    The conference was a great success.  The Sport Management Session has been viewed over 2700 times on youtube last I checked.  The attendees represented Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, México, Perú, United States, and Venezuela. I am including the links to the inside A-State note of the event, the YouTube video session.  The session is only available in Spanish... for now. My presentation starts at about 2:24:00. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Athlete activism

    Athlete activism may come at a high cost for athletes that support controversial issues.  They face public scrutiny and possible financial backlash as they lose endorsement deals, contracts, their jobs, and even public humiliation.  Still, some athletes are risking it all and supporting Black Lives Matter in light of the recent social developments and injustices the Black community in America faces.  

    Recent research by Schmidt et al. (2018) studied the effect of the type and effort exerted by the athlete in their activism on an endorsed product's brand image and purchase intention.  They surveyed 305 people. Most of them were men and most of them were White.

    They found brand image and purchase intentions were not impacted by athletes activist effort. Namely, it made no difference if the athletes just posted on social media occasionally or were as invested as creating local chapters for the organization they support. Brand image and product purchase intentions remained intact.  On the other hand, more controversial issues, what they called risky activism (i.e. social equality), impacted brand image and purchase intentions differently than safe activism, such as childhood obesity (Schmidt et al., 2018).  
    However, even though there were statistically significant differences between safe and risky activism, the brand image perceptions and purchase intentions under risky activism conditions were still positive, and possibly better than not having an endorser.  This is important for marketing departments to keep in mind. As for athletes, how much effort they put into their activism did not make a difference, what makes mattered was controversial causes, such as racial equity (Schmidt et al., 2018). 
    So, athletes currently trying to support Black Lives Matter with the occasional twitter post will have similar effects on endorsed brands than athletes leading protests, opening local chapters, and making physical displays of support.  More importantly, those out in the streets may send a stronger message to their fan base and the movement as a whole, making the best use of their influence and platform to advance social reform (Matt 25:28). 

    The authors pose important questions in their discussion.  First, what is the impact that organizations' goodwill has on their brand image perceptions and purchase intentions? They present the NBA and Adidas not penalizing players wearing "I can't breathe" shirts during warm ups instead of their official Adidas issued warm up gear.  This is a wonderful Sport Marketing research question to address.  They also present the question of society's views and behaviors towards athletes using their platform for political protests.  This is a great Sport Sociology research question (Schmidt et al., 2018). 

    I challenge you to think above and beyond what they have proposed and come up with your own questions.  For example, from a Sports Communications perspective,  we could research the ways athletes are using their influence for political protests on and off the field, and what types of causes athletes are most vocal about.  Now, a high order thinking question for my students.  Do you see a practical scenario where a good endorsement fit and a great marketing team can leverage an endorsement deal into a win-win-win? This win-win-win scenario will be one where the social movement is advanced, the athlete gains contracts and visibility, and the brand image and purchase intention increase. Leave your research or scenarios ideas in the comments. 


Schmidt, S. H., Shreffler, M. B., Hambrick, M. E., & Gordon, B. S. (2018). An experimental examination of activist type and effort on brand image and purchase intentions. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 27(1), 31-43.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Sexual Harassment of Gender and Sexual Minority Athletes

    Sexual harassment can present in many forms.  Sometimes it constitutes intentional actions, some ties they are unintentional. It can also be verbal, not-verbal, or physical. A recent study explore the consequences of verbal and non-verbal gender-harassment by coaches in Finland.  The author specifically studies psychological ill-being amongst gender and sexual minority sport participants.  Additionally, the author analyzed differences in harassment according to sex and sexual orientation. 

    It is important to distinguish a couple of key concepts to appropriately contextualize this research.   First, sex is defined as physiological structures and processes, such as chromosomal configurations, hormonal disposition, internal and external reproductive organs, etc.  On the other hand, gender is defined as a non-binary social construction, and gender identity is the degree to which a person considers themselves male, female, or androgynous.  In this context, gender and sexual minorities are those individuals whose gender identity, expression, or reproductive development differs from the norm. 

    Also important to recognize is the difference between verbal and non-verbal sexual harassment. Verbal sexual harassment includes comments such as derogatory sexual remarks, sexual jokes, requests for intercourse, rumor spreading, or other statements undermining performance or self-respect.  Non-verbal sexual harassment includes sexually suggestive facial or body signals, such as leering, winking, howling, or kissing sounds. 

    The results indicate both non-verbal and verbal harassment affect gender and sexual minority males ill-being indicators disproportionately.  In a nutshell, the more frequent the harassment, the more stress, psychosomatic symptoms, and depressive symptoms.  This was not the case for women, possibly because the heteronormativity of male sports promotes a heterosexual masculine culture.  This same culture may be more tolerant of lesbian athletes. 

    This article has important implications for coaches education.  Additionally, for opening spaces where coaches can safely and educationally discuss and explore their values, prejudices and fears about gender and sexuality. The authors also suggest proper training may include role playing, communication skills, recognizing harassment behaviors, and intervention strategies.  Author also mentions it is important to train coaches to encourage athletes to disclose their sexual orientation and harassment incidents.  I would just caution that this has to be done in a way that does not become a harassing event on its own.  Finally, there are implications for policy and sport psychologists also discussed. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Kokkonen, M. (2019). Associations between sexual and gender-based harassment by a coach and psychological ill-being amongst gender and sexual minority sport participants in Finland. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 13(2), 259-273.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Comps success strategies

    Comprehensive exams, or comps, as we lovingly refer to them, have a way to make some students feel anxious and inadequate.  I keep getting frantic phone calls as comps gets near. The questions go something like this: What are professors looking for? What are the expectations from our answers? What should we expect? As with every one of my posts, this does not apply across the board.  Other professors and other programs have different expectations, but here are a few things you can do to make sure you have done your absolute best when you show up on comps day. 

1) Check your policies
    First and foremost you need to know what comps are and if they are required for your degree. Here is a hint for M. S, Sport Administration students, unless you are doing a thesis, comps are required.  The graduate bulletin will give you general guidelines, but each program will have specific requirements. 
    After checking your undergraduate bulletin, get in touch with your program coordinator and/or advisor about the procedure to sign up or register for comps.  Some require up to 2-3 months notice to allow you to register, so plan ahead and follow their steps thoroughly to ensure registration.  Ask nicely for written documentation of your registration in case you require proof or clarification at a later time.  One of the issues I have seen students face over the years is being unaware all together that they had to take comps to complete their degrees, trying to register too late, or missing them all together on the semester they plan to graduate because they were unaware of the protocol. 

2) Read your study guide thoroughly 
    It does not hurt to ask for a study guide. Some professors may provide one, some may not, but you can always ask.  The earlier you do this in anticipation of your exam, the better.  Think a month or two in advance, not years, as questions are likely to change between semesters.  Here is a study guide I have given out in the past.  Still reach out before comps as this may not be the my most updated copy, but it will give you an idea of what my study guides look like. 
    Once you have obtained a study guide from a professor, read it thoroughly.  You may have to read it more than once for it to truly sink in.  At this stage you are not studying yet (because you still have a couple of months before comps, remember?). You are just making sure you understand what the guide says.  This is your roadmap to answering those common questions I mentioned earlier by yourself.  It tells you what is expected of you, and exactly what the professor is looking for.  Take the time between the first time you read your study guide and subsequent readings to reflect about your courses content and how you may answer questions. 
    I really mean read it thoroughly.  One of the most common mistakes I see students making time and time again is answering the question incompletely.  This happens when you do not read the study guide thoroughly.  Many times, we present you with a question that has multiple layers, and you must answer all of them thoroughly and accurately.  What happens sometimes is a student will start answering a question, get half the way through, and move on to the next question because they do not thoroughly read the question. 

3) Ask clarifying questions
    While you are thoroughly reading your study guide the first time make notes on questions, or sections of questions, you do not entirely understand.  These may become clearer on subsequent readings of your study guide, or as you are reflecting on your course content.  They may even become clearer as you let the questions and possible ways to answer them marinate in your head a few days.  If they do not, shoot your professor an email or give them a call and ask them those specific clarifying questions.  The more specific the question the more help and direction you are likely to get. The broader the question the more likely you will be redirected to the study guide.   In my many years as teachers I have seen a couple of students answer the wrong question.  This could be avoided completely if you ask clarifying questions at the appropriate time. 

4) Join a study group
    A lot of my students have found success joining a study group for support, clarification, and accountability.  Some of them meet in person if they are able, and some of them meet online using WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, zoom or google hangouts.  I have even joined some of them when they have those clarifying questions I just wrote about.  I join professor groups myself when I have big, intimidating projects that need support, bouncing ideas off, and accountability. I highly recommend them.  
    This is not a substitute for picking up your notes and making time to study by yourself, I am recommending it as a supplement.  However, it can help you stay motivated and engaged.  It can also be helpful if you are missing some notes, need quick clarification, or need to commiserate about how your professors are trying to make your life miserable even when you are done with all your courses ;P 

5) Relax
    I cannot overstate this.  If you have done all the steps above, there really is not much more you can do.  Stressing about it the day of the exam or the days or weeks leading up to it is not going to work in your favor.  Find a healthy way to relax that works for you.  Some people like yoga, meditation, or nature walks.  I personally like CrossFit.  I do not endorse nor support the racist and inappropriate statements and behavior made by their founder and CEO lately, but throwing heavy weights around and screaming to loud music during workouts works like magic at reducing my anxiety.  Go ahead quiet lifters, roll your eyes. 

    I hope this post stripped away some layers of anxiety for you.  I will be expecting your specific questions when you are preparing for your own comps if you are in my program.  If you have any other useful suggestions I would love if you add them to the comments below.  Good luck. Go get'em!


Friday, June 12, 2020

Internship weekly reports

    Hello interns! I am so excited that you have made it all the way to your M. S. Sport Administration internship.  Here is where the rubber meats the road and you put all the content you have been learning about for the past one to two years into practice.  It can be very rewarding... and very frustrating, so I have made this post to try to help you navigate one of your internship class requirements: The weekly report.  

    This is how I like my weekly reports formatted and how much detail I like on them.  This may not apply to other professors in our program.  Always check with your instructor and make sure you read your feedback and make adjustments as required before turning in your next assignment so your grades take an upward trajectory as the course goes on.  
    The basic elements are: 1) Your name, 2) the name of the organization or department where you are interning and the name of the internship supervisor, 3)  the dates for that week, 4) The number of hours you worked that week, 5) the total cumulative internship hours.  Some students find this tricky. This just means to add up your internship hours from week 1 to date.  Let's say this is week 3 of your internship, and you have worked 10 hours each week. You will report 10 hours for #4, which is the number of hours worked for the week, and 30 hours for #5, which is the number of hours total (10 in week 1 + 10 in week 2 + 10 in week 3 = 30 hours total).

    On to the meat and potatoes of the form. In #6 you give me a description of your responsibilities and activities during the week. I want you to be thorough. I know the form says brief, but it is a misnomer.  the more detailed you are the better.  It should include a) your perspectives of the activities, b) lessons learned during the week, c) describe how this weeks activities contribute to your internship objectives, and d) describe how this weeks activities contribute to your career goals.  Here is a good example from a student who previously got full credit.  What questions do you have? Please post them below so students coming after you can see the answers. 

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Paralympic female athletes

    I just read the most fascinating article in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.  The authors did research on good coaching attributes from the perspective of current and retired Paralympic female athletes.  They interviewed 8 Canadian Paralympic female athletes who had an impressive average record of competing in 4 Paralympics and winning 8 Paralympic or Pan Am medals (Alexander et al., 2020) 

    The findings were so interesting. Positive coaching behaviors were those that improved athletic performance or well-being, and included supporting the athletes on a personal level, improving performance by transmitting important and innovative knowledge.  The negative behaviors were those that hurt their performance or well-being.  Those included addressing their gender or their disability inappropriately (Alexander, 2020).  The inappropriate gender references is where I come in. 

    The athletes also had coaching preferences.  For example, some liked their coaches to be creative, others liked when the coach transferred able-body knowledge to the parasport context.  Some mentioned the need for female coaches, but recognizing it would be unfeasible due to their scarcity.  The authors make brilliant theoretical contributions, practical implications and suggestions for future research based on their study's limitations (Alexander, 2020).  I highly recommend you to read the article on your own if you are interested in getting more detailed information. 

    Now to the nitty-gritty.  Some research participants were routinely slapped on the butt.  This in addition to their gender being addressed inappropriately (Alexander, 2020).  The authors cite research stating people with disabilities are more likely to be mistreated, and women are more likely to be harassed (Kirby et al., 2008; Wachsmuth et al., 2017, as cited in Alexander, 2020).  Research also shows gender and sexual minorities are harassed disproportionately in sports (Kokkonen, 2019).  So sexual minorities (think GLBTQIA+) with disabilities are in double jeopardy.  

    As our future leaders in the sport industry, you should not just be up to date with the most recent literature in marketing and management.   You should also read the sociology, psychology, and other sport sciences literature to be well rounded.  It is your job as a citizen of the world to be socially responsible and know statistics like the ones mentioned here.  After knowing they are more vulnerable to mistreatment, I hope you would now be more likely to treat your superiors, peers, subordinates, clients, etc with respect if they have any of the characteristics mentioned here.  I also encourage you to be a proactive bystander and report or intervene when you witness incivilities towards them. 

Alexander, D., Bloom, G. A., & Taylor, S. L. (2020). Female Paralympic athlete views of effective and ineffective coaching practices. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology: Psychology of Sports Coaching, 32(1), 48-63. doi:10.1080/10413200.2018.1543735

Kokkonen, M. (2019). Associations between sexual and gender-based harassment by a coach and psychological ill-being amongst gender and sexual minority sport participants in Finland. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 13(2), 259-273. doi:10.1123/jcsp.2018-0035

How can I help?

        Just like Todd Winn, I also want to silence my privileged voice.  I may not be as privileged as White, able-bodied, middle-class, heterosexual, Christian men (Goodman, 2001). You see me.  You see my gender.  You see my brownness.  You hear my accent and my broken English at times (Take the mis-spelling in my picture as an example.  Someone pointed it out to me. It was not intentional).  I stick out like a sore thumb when I walk into a room; and I know, that whether I like it or not, there may be some people there who are uncomfortable by my mere presence.  They will feel better if I "went back to where I came from", or quit "taking jobs away form hard working Americans".  Well, as a highly educated, employed, brown, middle class, English-speaking, green-card holder, protestant, I recognize my privilege and thank the good Lord for it.  

    I also see this troubled times are not about women, and not about brown people, and not about immigrants.  Right now is about our Black brothers and sisters, many of whom are my students and fellow professors and staff members.  They are suffering deep in their soul with a pain I pray I may never understand.  It is about standing with them, or kneeling, or taping our mouths, as the case may be.  It is about listening.  It is about stepping back and putting our wants aside for their sake, and the sake of this great country.  A wise, wise book reads: "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand" (Mark 3:24).  So how about we unite?  If we can't show support without compromising our values,  maybe we need to reevaluate them.  Here is one gamers perspective on it. 

    As a non-black, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in social media is not enough.  So tell me how I can help you make my classroom and my office environments where you can thrive and feel safe in these trying times, Black students and White students alike.  Black students, how can I help you feel heard and supported?  White students, how can I help you hear you Black peers without hurting you or putting you on the defensive? Help me answer the question "How can I help?" 

Goodman, D. J. (2001). About privileged groups. In Winter Roundtable Series: Promoting diversity and social justice: Educating people from privileged groups (pp. 13-36). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781452220468.n2 SAGE Books - About Privileged Groups

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Meet your prof

    This post does not have anything to do with school or advising, but hopefully it will help some of you relate to your profs.  

Do you know what your professors are up to? Well, I do not know what everyone else does outside school, but I can tell you what I do.  I am a follower of Christ, a wife, mother of 3 children and 2 pups. My oldest is all grown up and out of the house. My two youngest are girls, and they are toddlers now (Natalia, 4 is pictured above). I try to spend every minute I can with my husband and the kids. I read the Bible in Spanish every morning, record it, and upload it to SoundCloud and Facebook.  You know what is interesting? I understand it at a different level when I read it in my mother tongue. I am sure there is research on that. 

    Speaking of research, I am sure you have probably seen me bare my soul in a lesson (or a video, if you are an online student), or a few, over a semester, or a few.  If you haven't yet, go find one of my research articles. I am not sure I can tell you enough times how passionate I am about studying sexual harassment, its impact, causes, triggers, and possible interventions before and after it happens. I mostly study it in the context of sport, but I occasionally step out when I see an opportunity to make a statement or have positive impact.  Talk about baring my soul! I do it some more there. 

    I look forward to getting to know all of you, not just my advisees, more in depth. Please take advantage of my office hours and any and all other opportunities for interaction.  If you want to connect on social media, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  The Sport Management Club is another wonderful resource to get to know the Sport Management Faculty and your peers. You will also learn about cool volunteer and internship opportunities coming up.  What about you? What are you up to? 

Choosing your major

Everyday I get to come to work is a blessing, and that is how I want you to feel too.  Imagine if you get to do what you love every day, and you even get money for doing it?!?!  I have been thinking about how to help you get there.

I remember when I used to lose sleep over picking my major. I was paralyzed in fear. I felt like the rest of my life was at stake, and it was as big a decision as getting married, or having children.  Well intentioned people had so many suggestions.  My uncle wanted me to be an accountant, my mom wanted me to go into medicine, my dad though, he asked me: What do YOU want to do? and once I decided he was my biggest cheerleader!

Figuring it out seemed daunting, but it was actually surprisingly simple.  It was not easy, and doubt creeped in occasionally, but it was simple.  In this blog post I will share three tips for choosing a major: 1) know yourself, 2) know the job, and 3) find a cheerleader.

1) Know yourself
There are many personality tests that can help you identify what you enjoy doing, your God given gifts, or tasks that come easy to you.  You should think about taking them.  Some of them cost money but are well established and used often, like the Myers-Briggs personality type test, the DISC assessment, or strength finder.  There are also some free resources to get your started. like the limited free version DISC test, or this quiz.  I am unfamiliar with this college, but sport management ranked 4th, so the quiz is somewhat accurate.  Finally, if you want a quick assessment you can do right now you may want to answer Christy Wright's 5 E questions.
1) What do you ENJOY doing?
2) What comes EASY to you?
3) What do you EXCEL at?
4) What do other people ENCOURAGE you to do?
5) What ENERGIZES you?
You may have more than one answer to each question, but chances are there is something(s) that appears multiple times.  That would be a good starting point.

2) Know the job
My very artsy teen, who is not particularly interested in math would excel as an art major. After doing some research on salaries, he realized he did not like art enough to sacrifice the lifestyle he wants. So he moved on to research professions that "are" better (in his 15 year old mind). So he announced he was going to be an electrical engineer.  When my husband asked him what types of jobs he would do his response was: "I don't know, change lightbulbs?"  Clearly he focused his research on salaries, and paid no attention to course requirements or job descriptions.  Needless to say, electrical engineering got crossed off the list once he realized it went past changing lightbulbs and the amount of math that was going to be involved. Here is what I recommend you to look into when picking a major:
1) Job descriptions - does the job align fit your personality?
2) Course requirements - Do the classes in the major play to your strengths? You can look at your university's undergraduate (or graduate) bulletin for this.  Here is the one for A-State.
3) Potential earnings - Will this job be able to support.your lifestyle?
4) Unemployment rates - This will help you determine how hard it will be to find a job upon graduation.

3) Find a cheerleader - or many!
College can be challenging at times, no matter your major.  You may.get discouraged, doubt yourself, or need a little push.  Sometimes you may not even remember how that major plays to your strengths, or why you thought you would enjoy it. Take a second to think back and talk to people who support you and are in a position to advise you before you drop out or drift off to another major.  Your decisions need to be purposeful and deliberate so you do not graduate not knowing what to do with your degree. If you have any questions reach out, hopefully we (either me or someone in this community) can help.

In conclusion, Choosing a major can be a daunting task.  You need to first try to figure yourself out to the best of your ability, that way you can find a major that plays to your strengths and fits your personality.  Finally, we all doubt ourselves, specially in such important decisions, so surround . yourself with people who know you and can advise you wisely.

Welcome to college survival

Welcome welcome!

Exciting stuff is going on that is leading to the start of this blog.  This is a blog created to help disseminate information to my A-State advisees, but really all prospective, current, and maybe even former college students out there that need a little push, advise, perspective, or support.  I am excited to be here for you.

You might be a proactive high school student looking for ways to get the best out of college, or maybe you do not know where to to start, so you googled and stumbled across this blog.  Maybe you are a parent looking for some resources for your children. Maybe you are already in college and think you picked the wrong major, or need some motivation, or have forgotten why you thought this was a good idea in the first place.  You may even already be a professional and just want some resources to stay on top of your work.  Either way, this blog is for you.  I hope to encourage you, be helpful, give you some perspective, and start a virtual community to rally around you and support you.

In this blog you will encounter posts regarding sport management (as that is the major I advise), but also general college and professional advise.  The content will range from picking your major, to deciding to stay in a major, getting the most out of your classes, internship advise, career advice, among others. I am by no means an experts in all of those areas, but I will do my best, and I trust that the community that will subscribe to this blog will also provide valuable insight and information we can all use.

So, why are you here? are you a high school student, parent, college student, or college graduate? And what type of posts would you find most helpful?