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Grant Awarded to Springfield College Psychology Professors

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Psychology Professors Judy Van Raalte, Al Petitpas, and Britt Brewer are the recipients of a $10,000 one-year NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant focused on student-athlete career development.

Research has shown that student-athletes lag behind their non-athlete peers in regard to career readiness, often failing to recognize how sport-related skills can aid in career preparation. The professors will use the grant funds to refine an evidence-based career-development pilot program designed specifically for college student-athletes. A controlled field trial will be conducted to test the pilot program’s effectiveness. The program is expected to help student-athletes understand how qualities acquired in sport pertain to the workplace, enhancing their career readiness.

“Student-athletes develop a number of skills, such as leadership, communication, teamwork, time management, and self-motivation, all of which are highly valued in the workplace,” said Van Raalte. “Our project will help student-athletes to identify skills they have learned through sport and understand how such assets can transfer to the world of work.”

Prior research has shown that student-athletes have limited access to campus resources like career centers due to academic and athletic obligations. To complement on-campus career-planning resources, Van Raalte and her colleagues have created the website supportforsport.org to host the content they will create for student-athletes.

“Providing web-based psychoeducational materials that are available for program use by a range of campus professionals who work with student-athletes may offer solutions to some of the limitations of career center-focused approaches,” said Van Raalte. “This is exciting research that can directly benefit student-athletes. I am thankful that the NCAA selected our project for funding, and my colleagues and I are thrilled to get started on this project.”

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