For each conference, a small number of Emerging Scholar Awards are given to outstanding graduate students and emerging scholars who have an active research interest in the conference themes. Emerging Scholars perform a critical role in the conference by chairing the parallel sessions, providing technical assistance in the sessions, and presenting their own research papers. The 2021 Emerging Scholar Award Recipients are as follows:
Dr. Aimee Vlachos is a teaching professor at the University of New England. Her research focuses on gender inequality in alternative sports. She is particularly interested in understanding women’s surfing experiences and how these have changed with the increased popularity in the sport of surfing. Her research aims to assess whether an alternative sport, such as surfing, is gender-inclusive and whether dominant groups in sports often receive privilege and are actively trying to protect their members. With surfing being an individual sport, postmodern feminism puts the responsibility for change in the hands of the woman surfer.
Caroline is a PhD candidate within the Department of Community Health & Prevention at Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her master of public health degree from Dornsife in 2015, having concentrated in community health & prevention. She is passionate about social inclusion and human rights relevant to sexual and gender minority populations and her research currently focuses on participation in athletics among these groups and their real or perceived exclusion from sport. Prior to Drexel, Caroline received her BA in both psychology and russian language & culture at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where she competed in Division III ice hockey and track & field.
Chris currently is a PhD candidate in Curriculum and Learning at Werklund School of Education at The University of Calgary. Chris' research addresses the intersection of gender and education, more specifically in masculinity studies with an emphasis on men as allies and activists, physical and health education, and bullying and homophobia in team sport. As Chris has conducted his studies in masculinities and education, he has continued to question normative masculinities and the disruption of power and privilege in the development of men as change agents and pro-feminists.
Dr. Victor Romano has over 20 years’ combined experience as a strength and conditioning coach, applied physiologist, fitness program director, researcher, and professor. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Sport and Health Sciences and Program Chair of Exercise Science at Catawba College. Prior to Catawba College, Dr. Romano was the founding Director for the JCSU HealthPlex, a 20,000sq/ft. Applied Health Research facility for health, human performance, and sport at Johnson C. Smith University. While there he conducted, coordinated, published, and/or presented applied research studies in the areas of health, human performance, and sport that received over $1.4 million in grant funding.
Dr. Christopher Yandle is a former college athletics administrator and award-winning public relations professional. After spending more than a decade at five different NCAA Division I college athletics programs, he transitioned to the education sector in 2016. He earned his B.A. in Public Relations from the University of Louisiana in 2004, his M.S. in Sport Administration from Marshall University in 2007, and his Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University in 2019. A part-time adjunct professor, Dr. Yandle's research focuses include college athlete's academic experiences, amateurism, and mental health among sports information staff members in college athletics.
Eva Wolzok is a full-time PhD student researching community development in expatriate sporting groups at the Graduate Institute of Sport, Leisure, and Hospitality Management in Taiwan. Her principal research interests revolve around acculturation and well-being, community studies, sport and community development, especially social capital development. In her spare time, Eva is an avid sportswoman, exploring everything from swimming to Gaelic football, and, in recent years, has led the Taiwan Gaelic football team when competing throughout Asia.
Pedro Danilo Ponciano is currently the national director of specialized careers at the department of physical education and sports at the Universidad of the Valley of Guatemala. He is PhD student in Education, Sports and Health at University of Vigo, Spain. He has been working in physical education and sport science research since 2015. He has a bachelor's degree in Physical Education, Sports and Recreation from San Carlos University in Guatemala. Graduate education includes a sports training specialization from the International Coaching Program, Leipzig University, Germany and a master's degree in Sport and Olympic Studies with the silver medal award for best research from the University of Tsukuba, Japan. His current research interests are related to Social Psychology, Youth Development, Olympic Studies and Health Literacy.
Oluwaseyi Aina is a PhD student and Associate lecturer at the University of the West of Scotland. She is interested in child rights in mega sporting events, and she is currently assessing child rights in the Olympics, focussing majorly on the Tokyo 2020/2021 Olympic Games. She has a background in International Events and Diplomacy. She currently serves as an editor for the Journal of Education Research and Community Development. She has reviewed books, written articles, also Co–authored a chapter on Disability and Events for The Routledge Handbook of Events (2020). At leisure, she writes poetry and makes music.
Dr Richard Mayne, also known as "The Moving Medic" is a General Practice Academic Clinical Fellow at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland. He previously completed an MSc in Sport and Exercise Medicine and now undertakes research in sedentary behaviour and physical activity. He is passionate about helping people to sit less and move more in order to live longer, happier and healthier lives. He can be followed on social media (twitter, instagram) via the handle: @themovingmedic, as well as online at https://themovingmedic.net/
Captain Christopher Castagno graduated from The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina in 2011 where he was an athlete and cadet. He commissioned into the Army as a tank officer and in 2015 left active duty to finalize his medical school prerequisites. At UNCC, he worked in an Oncoloytic Viral Therapy lab where he had the opportunity to present at the American Society for Virology in 2018. In 2020, he returned to the Army Reserves and matriculated to Paul Foster School of Medicine where he is now actively researching topics in sports medicine, orthopedics, and how injury affects athletic identity.
Laurel Dacus is a first-year medical student at Texas Tech University, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, Texas. She has a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she was also extensively involved in self and social identity research. Her interest in sports began at a young age, but her passion for psychology was established in college and continues to flourish. She and her classmate, another Sports and Society conference attendee, Christopher Castagno, have been actively researching the impact of traumatic sports injury on an athlete’s psychological wellbeing, adherence to sport, and athletic identity.
I enjoyed moderating sessions as I've only done it a couple of times prior to this conference. Moderating gave me an opportunity to be in a more involved role in the conference and now my confidence as a new scholar has grown."
This experience has certainly made me more confident as a scholar and as a chair of conference sessions! I hope that the contacts I established will lead to some fruitful scholarly collaborations in the future."