Hospitality Committee

New members, both students and professionals, join the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) every year. These new members are often invited by peers and advisors to travel to and participate in the annual conference. However, once they pay their annual dues and registration fee, and arrive at the AASP conference, they are essentially on their own to meet others and begin networking. Socially and professionally, this may feel like a daunting task. It is the charge of this committee to welcome all new members and first time conference attendees in a way that sustains membership as well as participation in the association’s annual conference.

MISSION: The Hospitality Committee will provide social and professional reception to all new members, in order that they feel welcomed and informed regarding the association and the annual conference.

Hospitality Committee members are:

Ashley Samson (Chair) is an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Northwestern State University in northern Louisiana and then moved to Dallas, TX to pursue her Master's degree in Sport Psychology from the University of North Texas. Ashley then returned to Louisiana to complete a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Psychological Sciences from Louisiana State University. As an assistant professor at CSUN, Ashley teaches courses in sport psychology and sociology and works with the athletic department of the university as an athlete consultant. She has worked with distance runners, soccer players, track and field athletes, and equestrian athletes. Her research primarily examines motivation in athletes and how it can impact engagement, adherence, and performance in the sport and physical activity setting. Ashley has been a member of AASP since 2006. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys running ultramarathons, yoga, and competing in 3-day eventing on her horse, Storm Watch.

Rachel Arnold graduated from Loughborough University (UK) with a first class honors BSc degree in Sport and Exercise Science in July 2008. Following this, Rachel continued her studies at Loughborough, achieving a distinction in her MSc degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology in August 2009. Rachel began her PhD in October 2009 and is due to finish in October 2012. Rachel’s research focuses on the psychology of sporting excellence. More specifically, her research is based on the following areas: Performance Leadership and Management; and Performance Environments and Cultures (e.g. organizational stress). Rachel has been an AASP member for four years and has attended two AASP conferences (Providence, RI; Waikiki, Hawaii). Rachel is a sports fanatic and regularly competes in Field Hockey.

Mark P. Otten is an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He received a B.A. in statistics with a minor in psychology from the University of California, Davis, and then went on to receive his Ph. D. in quantitative psychology from UCLA in 2007. For his dissertation, he tested a structural equation model to predict successful "clutch" performance under pressure, based on psychological variables such as perceived control. He continues to make performance issues a primary focus of his research at CSUN. In addition to undergraduate and graduate statistics classes, Mark teaches a senior-level capstone course in sport and exercise psychology. As of '14 he has now attended the AASP conference seven times. An avid tennis player, Mark also volunteers coaching the UCLA club tennis team, which won the 2011 Tennis on Campus national championship under his direction.

Dr. Joan Steidinger, a licensed clinical and sports psychologist with offices in Mill Valley and San Francisco. She is a designated  as a Certified Consultant by the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP);  the international professional organization of sport and exercise psychology.   Dr. Steidinger has worked with sport psychology clients for 20 years and been in private practice for 28 years. She has worked with both pro and amateur athletes in such sports as running, cycling, soccer, football, softball, basketball, boxing, tennis, triathlon, and golf. She has graduate degrees from CSPP-Berkeley, University of LaVerne, and the University of San Diego.   Dr. Joan played competitively in badminton and tennis in high school.  She was a competitive ultrarunner, Ride and Tie equestrian competitor, and double century cyclist. She was on the first Tamalpa Runners Club's ultra running team that placed first in the Pacific Region's Ultra Grand Prix series.

Jerry Holt, CC-AASP, holds an M.S. in physical education from Florida A&M University and a Ph.D. in sport psychology from the University of Idaho. After a long career of teaching, primarily in the schools of Palm Beach County, Florida, he has now "retired" to Tallahassee. During his teaching career, his coaching assignments included bowling, swimming, chess, cross-country, track and field, and wrestling. He presently works in the Candidate Empowerment Center at Florida A&M, preparing prospective teachers to take their state certification examinations. He also serves as certified athletic trainer for the university high school athletic teams, as well as for Florida A&M's wrestling team (NCWA). In addition, he teaches CPR and related classes for CPR Florida. His professional interests in sport psychology include coping with stress and anxiety, and psychological aspects of acute self-resolving injuries.

John Gorvin is an independently licensed psychologist in Massachusetts since 1992, and has been in private practice since 1998. He received his Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL in 1990. He also completed a Neuropsychology Re-certification program through the Fielding Institute in 2005. He maintains his practice in Wakefield, MA conducting psychological and neuropsychological assessments of teens and adults. He is also the Assistant Track and Cross Country Coach at the Austin Preparatory High School in Reading, MA. John has been certified as a running coach by the USA Track and Field and Road Runners Club of America. John has been a distance runner since 1982, and has completed nearly 400 road races, including 24 marathons, and 27 half-marathons. He has also run the Mt. Washington (NH) Road race ten times, a 7.6 mile road race ascending over 4000 feet at an average grade of 11 %. 

David Udelf

Mercedes Ashby is an exercise and sport trainer with over 25 years of experience working for the U.S. Military, corporate and private industry in exercise, sport, fitness, health and wellness . Throughout the 25 years she accompanied her husband, a U.S. Marine, stationed overseas and within the United States. Mercedes has worked with active duty military personnel, family members, along with the civilian population using exercise, fitness and wellness interventions to promote and enhance psychological and physical wellbeing. Mercedes has a Master's of Science in Exercise Science, and Health Promotion, along with a graduate certificate in Sports Psychology from California University of Pennsylvania. Presently, Mercedes is working on her dissertation on "How military experience influences the obesity trend among retired veterans" to complete the requirements for a doctorate in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of the Rockies. Her goal is to help individuals use exercise, fitness, health and wellness strategies to manage lifestyle challenges. 

Erica Woekel, Ph.D., is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher/junior faculty at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Honolulu.  She examines home-based physical activity promotion, motivation, and body image change in new mothers.  Erica completed her PhD from Oregon State University focusing in sport and exercise psychology, sociology, and body image.  Erica’s passion is in teaching individuals to focus on their health and wellness while continuing to motivate them to strive for healthy behavior changes and positive self-image in their lives.  She has taught over 8000 students in her career with regards to incorporation of fitness, nutrition, and healthy behaviors throughout the lifespan.  Erica was a collegiate volleyball player and a semi-professional contemporary dancer that has choreographed, judged, and coached at a regional, state, and national level. Erica joined AASP in 2007 and has been the Northwest Regional Student Representative as well as involved in the Mentorship Match Program and the Hospitality Committee. Erica has two children, Charlie (7) and Wyatt (5) and a very supportive husband, Freddie and likes dancing, biking, running, gardening, and playing at the beach.

Stefanee Van Horn is a Sport and Exercise Psychology doctoral student at West Virginia University, where she is also working towards a master's in counseling. She received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside and a M.A. in Experimental Psychology from California State University, Northridge. Her current research interests are in the psychology of injury, more specifically reinjury anxiety in the rehabilitation and return to sport process. As a graduate teaching assistant, Stefanee teaches multiple undergraduate courses each semester, such as sport psychology, sport sociology, and professional development. She has plans to become a professor as well as an AASP Certified Consultant.

Nicole Pacheco is a licensed clinical psychologist and performance optimization coach and consultant for Professional Edge in Springfield, Illinois. She is board certified in biofeedback (BCB) by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance, Titlelist Professional Institute (TPI) certified, and a PeopleMap Personality Questionnaire certified trainer. She received her Master's and Doctorate degrees from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Arts from Millikin University where she studied piano and cello. She is the peak performance coach and consultant for the Springfield Junior Blues NAHL hockey team. She works with amateur and professional athletes, performers, and business professionals who want to learn how to thrive both mentally and physically under high pressure situations. Nicole enjoys the biking, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her husband, baby son, and two dogs.

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