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Dana Voelker recognized for research on gendered culture in competitive sports

Dana Voelker, CPASS associate professor and director of undergraduate online education, received the 2020 Diane Gill Paper of the Year Award from the Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, recognizing her research on body image and weight and appearance pressures in competitive sport.

Voelker was honored for her publication, “It’s Just a Lot Different Being Male Than Female in the Sport: An Exploration of the Gendered Culture Around Body Pressures in Competitive Figure Skating,” with Dr. Justine Reel at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

“Supporting the health and development of youth in sport is a cornerstone of my research, and I am incredibly humbled this work was recognized by such a distinguished journal,” Voelker said.

The Diane Gill Paper of the Year Award is given annually to recognize high-quality research that challenges current thinking, offers novel insights and provides relevancy to a timely topic focused on female athletes in sport and physical activity settings.

“Dr. Voelker is an excellent young researcher who has received several awards for her scholarship. She is a passionate professor who cares deeply about her research and the impact it has upon the world,” Jack Watson, CPASS dean said. “This award symbolizes her commitment to leveraging women and girls in sport and physical activity. We are proud of her many accomplishments and all that she brings to CPASS as a wonderful teacher, researcher and service provider.”

Sam Zizzi, associate dean for research, says the publication is noteworthy because it highlights the quality and impact of Voelker’s work. “Dr. Voelker and her colleagues have established an international reputation for elevating the voices of women and girls in sport, and for linking body image concerns to a host of negative outcomes,” Zizzi said. “This timely publication evaluates gendered experiences in figure skating to help researchers and clinicians understand social justice issues linked to gender and power in sport.”

The Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal is the official peer-reviewed journal of the Program for the Advancement of Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity, housed in the Center for Women's Health and Wellness at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. It publishes research across the full range of disciplinary perspectives with aims to facilitate opportunities for girls and women to enjoy and benefit from sports and other physical activities.

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