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:

Nick Galli (Co-Chair) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Northridge. He earned his Ph.D. in the Psychosocial Aspects of Sport from the University of Utah in 2009. His research is focused on psychological resilience in athletes, as well as the body image and eating behaviors of male athletes and athletes with physical disabilities. He has served as a mental coach for a variety of youth, high school, and college athletes. Nick joined AASP as an undergraduate student in 2000. He attended his first AASP conference in Tucson, and has missed only one conference since 2002. Nick has served AASP in a variety of capacities, including as Executive Board Student Representative, member of the Web Content , Student Development, and Diversity Committees, and currently as chair of the Hospitality Committee. In his free time, Nick enjoys racquetball, strength training, jogging, and playing basketball.

Ashley Samson (Co-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 and this is her 5th conference. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys running, yoga, and riding her horse, Ferdinand.

Chris Stanley received his M.S. in Sport & Exercise Psychology from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Loyola University-Chicago. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, teaching mainly courses in human development, sport behavior, and statistics. His research interests include the psychosocial aspects of sport and activity involvement for children, adolescents, and emerging adults. Chris is certified by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) as a Sport Psychology consultant. He is part of a private consulting group, and has worked with many local high school and college athletes and coaches on performance enhancement issues. Chris is married with two children (a daughter named Savannah and a son named Cy). He enjoys playing with my kids and running in his spare time, and typically run a few half-marathons and one full marathon each year.

Dr. Elizabeth M. Mullin is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at William Paterson University. Mullin received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College. She completed her Master’s degree and PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Springfield College. Her research focuses on to examining the effects of heterosexism in athletics and exercise adherence programming in post-menopausal women. Dr. Mullin is a Certified Sport Psychology Consultant from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She holds a 2nd degree black belt in Uechi-Ryu karate and has competed in multiple half-marathons, marathons, and triathlons. She resides in Wayne, New Jersey, with her wife, Lauren, and their three adopted pets.

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 course in advanced social psychology (theme: sport and exercise).  As of ’12 he has now attended the AASP conference five 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.

Fitni Destani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Education at Keene State College in New Hampshire. He received his Ph. D. in the Psychosocial Aspects of Sport from the University of Utah, his M.A. from San Francisco State University., and his B.A. in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. Fitni’s research interests include the impact of motivational climate and caring climate with regards to adolescent’s physical activity levels, motivation, and attitudes in sport and physical education settings. He has consulted with teams and individual athletes in a variety of sports since 2004, including skiing, lacrosse , tennis, figure skating,  track and field, and bodybuilding.  In his spare time, Fitni enjoys participating and watching all sports but, his favorite hobby is fantasy baseball.  He also enjoys many forms of music.

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.  He recently moved to Tallahassee after his retirement from a long career of teaching, primarily in the schools of Palm Beach County, Florida.   During his teaching career, his coaching assignments included bowling, swimming, chess, cross-country, track and field, and wrestling.  He is also a Certified Athletic Trainer, and served as athletic trainer for a number of high school teams in Palm Beach County.  He currently teaches CPR and related classes for CPR Florida.  In addition, he is an assistant coach and athletic trainer for Florida A&M University’s wrestling team (NCWA).  His professional interests 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 recreation, exercise, sport and fitness, along with health and wellness initiatives. 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 wellness. 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 towards a Doctorate in Psychology with a specialization in Sport and Performance from the University of the Rockies. Throughout the years while on various military bases in the states and overseas, Mercedes has worked with professional and amateur athletes, “the week-end warrior”, as well as the novice performer to enhance performance and achieve psychological and physical wellness. Mercedes enjoys various sports, to include football, basketball, baseball, martial arts, and soccer. She regularly participates in yoga, and the Marine Corps Marathon running series throughout the year. Currently Mercedes is using her diverse skills in her own business ExPsych, coaching and training people with mental skill techniques combined with exercise to promote healthy weight loss and weight management, injury rehabilitation, mood disorders, and overall lifestyle wellness. 

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 graduate student in the Psychology Department at California State University Northridge. She is the lab coordinator for the CSUN Sport Psychology Lab and her research focuses on the relationship between motivation and the fear of failure, as well as injury rehabilitation. Her thesis is challenging the construct of playing to win or to avoid losing by examining the relationship between achievement motivation and the fear of failure in a competitive sport setting. She is currently applying for doctoral programs in kinesiology and has plans to become a professor and as well as an AASP Certified Consultant. Stefanee is in the last year of her master’s program at CSUN and is currently teaching an introductory psychology course.

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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