Psychology students win awards for proposals

Five Psychological Studies Masters students who have concentrations in Sport Psychology were chosen to represent Seton Hall at the North Atlantic Sport Psychology (NASP) Conference in Philadelphia on March 23-24.

Photo via Facebook/Dr. Sandra Lee

Their program director, Dr. Sandra Lee, who is also a professional psychology professor, explained that the student posters and proposals were carefully selected.

“The students, and their research topics, were chosen by conference organizers and peer reviewers, based on quality and importance. This was a professional conference,” Lee wrote in an email. “For each individual student, we submitted a proposal according to the conference guidelines. The proposals are then reviewed and selected by peer reviewers – persons in the sport psychology field.”

Lee also said that the students’ presentations had a basis from the graduate courses at SHU.

“Each of the five proposals that we submitted was based on a research topic or paper that the student had researched or presented in one of my graduate courses,” she said.

The five students representing Seton Hall were: Phenaysza Riley, Ryan Sliwak, Taia Thomas, Ivanna Vinnick and Kim Wernerspach.

Vinnick, who never attended the conference before, explained her presentation.

“I had done a literary review on boundaries in sport psychology, specifically how time and space play a role on boundaries and dual-relationships,” she said. “In the general psychology field, sessions are usually scheduled for 45-minutes and occur in an office setting.  In sport psychology, sessions are commonly unplanned and can occur for any amount of time.”

Sliwak was unable to attend the conference, but he remembered his experience from attending it last year as a student.

“The conference was extremely accommodating and understanding and still allowed my poster to be hung and presented,” Sliwak said. “I had attended this conference last year just as a student, and it was extremely beneficial and useful.”

His research consisted of the predicaments counselors face when they are working with athletes who are involved with domestic violence.

“There has been minimal discussion regarding ethical dilemmas for the sport psychologist in treating cases of domestic violence. These included: mandated treatment of the athlete; confidentiality; who is the client – athlete, team or institution; Dual relationships; and informed consent,” he said.

Lee expressed her sentiment that the posters presented at the conference were relevant for athletes and their organizations.

“You can see by reading the topics and titles of the posters that these students chose current and important topics – of concern to athletes and their organizations,” she said. “One of the posters – ‘Sexual Exploitation in Sport’- won second place in the poster awards contest.”

Kaitlyn Quinn can be reached at

Author: Kaitlyn Quinn

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