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Sport Management student uses research opportunity to expand undergraduate experience

Caitlyn Lyons, sport management major with minors in communication studies and business administration, began an internship with the Pittsburgh Penguins last spring.   

“I knew this would be a major influence on my professional development, however, my professor, Dr. Floyd Jones, saw more for me. After some discussion, a little persuasion, and a whole lot of encouragement I agreed to take part in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) this July. 

Lyons says under the mentorship of Dr. Jones, the pair conducted a study entitled Camp FeWi: addressing the decline in female sport participation. Camp FeWi operates as an ‘earn and learn’ program out of urban Pittsburgh. The six-week camp merges mentors with general participants while exposing female adolescents to non-traditional sports such as tennis, golf and rugby. 

“The study is aimed to understand and address the factors that hinder female youth sport participation. Exposing youth to sport has benefits relative to overall health, skill development, and long-term career benefits,” Lyons said. 

“Conducting research has enhanced and influenced my undergraduate career. After being exposed to this area of study I hope to continue doing research to even pursue a Ph.D.,” she added. 

Lyons, from Sparta, NJ, says the skills she has learned through the experience have proven of use to other sport organizations. “One thing I have learned in college is you must challenge yourself to grow. This challenge proved to be beneficial for myself and my professional development,” she said.  

Lyons plans to graduate in May 2020. She says that she chose WVU after a campus tour. 

“President Gee spoke about West Virginia being your home away from home; and I did just that. Finding a place that feels like home is an essential part of choosing the right university. WVU combines that feeling with excellent academic programs and a vast array of extracurricular organizations to join,” Lyons said. 

“CPASS offers a unique learning experience. With smaller class sizes students can build relationships with the other students in your major. It’s easy to connect with the professors as well. CPASS perfectly combines innovative coursework with professional development experiences. 

"The college sets students up for successful careers in the sport management and sport science industries. Plus, there is an extensive network of WVU and CPASS alumni who proudly represent their alma mater,” she said. 

Lyons says her favorite thing about Morgantown is that it is home to the Mountaineers. “The atmosphere is something you need to see to understand. The entire town is WVU. It’s a unique college experience getting to live in a ‘college town.’ Morgantown defines a ‘college town,’” Lyons said.   

Lyons advises students new to the university to get involved. 

“As a student, you are provided with all the tools you could ever need to be successful. You just need to find them and take advantage of them. Get involved in your major’s club. Join Greek life or other on-campus organizations. Get to know your professors; they want to see you succeed. College is over before you know it; don’t wait,” she added. 
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