Psychology and Kinesiology senior presents research at Applied Sport Psychology Conference
Katie Klein, a senior Psychology and Kinesiology major, recently presented research findings at the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Conference in Orlando, Florida. Klein was joined at the conference by two recent 2023 alums, Madalyn Bigley and Evan Darr, along with Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Jessica Ford. Jessica Wolverton, Student-athlete Wellbeing Coordinator, also had research included in the conference.
Katie Klein, a senior Psychology and Kinesiology major, recently presented findings from an independent study at the 36th Annual Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Conference Oct. 18-21 in Orlando, Florida.
Klein of Port Charlotte, Florida, a former member of the Green Terror women’s basketball team, presented a case study that explored the psychosocial factors associated with returning to basketball after multiple injuries to the same leg.
“Being able to conduct this research and being granted the opportunity to share it on a platform such as the AASP conference was amazing,” she says. “This research is very personal to me, and it is an honor to be able to bring more awareness to the sports psychology of injury.”
Klein was joined at the conference by two recent 2023 alums and a faculty member who also presented. A McDaniel staff member also had research included in the conference.
“Notably, it is rare for undergraduate research to get accepted at the annual AASP conference each year, a conference with multi-disciplinary and international reach,” says Jessica Ford, assistant professor of Kinesiology, who attended the conference and advised the students’ research projects. “McDaniel College had student representation on par with much larger academic programs. I am proud of our students!”
During the conference, Ford presented on “Building a Sport Psychology Presence at a Small, Division III, Liberal Arts Teaching College: Reflections on the Process thus Far.”
Madalyn Bigley ’23 of Pueblo, Colorado, who graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Psychology, along with Honors in Psychology, presented “Athletes’ Mental Health as Related to the Perception of Coaches.” Bigley is currently attending a master's program in Exercise and Sport Sciences, with a concentration in Sport Psychology, at Ithaca College.
Evan Darr '23 of Frostburg, Maryland, presented “Evaluating the Effect of Exercise on Emotional Health and Cognitive Function in Neurodivergent Individuals.” Darr graduated summa cum laude with Honors in Psychology and a minor in Biology and received The Argonaut Award for the highest cumulative grade point average during their entire completed course of study. Darr is working as a behavior guidance specialist with Keystone Human Services Head Start program.
“By presenting their first-authored research, McDaniel students were able to see how their work can directly benefit the sport, exercise, and performance psychology community,” Ford says. “They can use this conference to build their professional networks for career/graduate school opportunities as well as learn new information about the field.”
The title of Student-athlete Wellbeing Coordinator Jessica Wolverton’s research was “Affective Forecasting and Social Physique Anxiety among Female Athletes: A Pilot Study.” The study explores “dynamics between elite female athletes and the anxiety they feel in different settings,” she says.
“My interest in student-athlete mental health started back when I was a graduate student at Florida State,” Wolverton says, “and I am thankful to be able to continue this work today in my role as the student-athlete wellbeing coordinator at McDaniel. Through research and advocacy work, I hope to grow our recognition and understanding of the mental health challenges specific to athletes.”
The Association for Applied Sport Psychology is the leading organization for sport psychology consultants and professionals.
The conference was the largest annual sport psychology conference worldwide and featured over 100 workshops, lectures, panels, and symposia for applied practitioners who work with pro and elite athletes; collegiate, high school, and youth sport athletes; and tactical and non-sport performance populations.