University of Minnesota

Tucker Center Gender Equity Summer Internship Program

Mentoring and providing a quality research experience for students is an integral part of the Tucker Center’s mission. During the internship, students work collaboratively on ongoing gender equity-related projects within a research team which may include a faculty person, graduate students, undergraduates, and high school students depending on the composition of the intern cohort. Interns are exposed to many facets of the research experience including literature review, data collection and entry, data analysis, and synthesizing and reporting results using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Our internship is appropriate for students who plan to (and are serious about) pursuing graduate school. Students will be afforded a unique experience in a "first of its kind" research center. Internships typically run for seven weeks starting mid June through July, for 20 hours per week (10 hours for high school interns). Internships are conducted with a hybrid blend of in person and/or virtual. Interns are not required to be in person, with the exception of a 2-3 day in person retreat at the end of the internship.Through a generous gift of the Live to Give Foundation the summer internship program was established in 2013 to honor the 20th anniversary of the Tucker Center.

The deadline for application submission for the Tucker Center Gender Equity Summer Internship is March 15 of the internship year. Interviews begin ~April 1, and decisions will be made by ~April 15.

Individuals who are not US citizens can apply, but to be eligible the applicant must be currently located in the US and have a visa that allows them to work. Interested students should send a resume/CV, unofficial transcript, and cover letter to:

Dr. Nicole LaVoi, director
Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport
1900 University Ave SE - Cooke 203,
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Former Intern Quotes     Where Are They Now     Listen to Interns   


2023 Summer Interns

image of Sophie Cole Sophie Cole is a rising junior at St. Olaf College majoring in Philosophy and Gender & Sexuality Studies. Growing up in Minnesota playing soccer and ice hockey offered her many opportunities to experience different facets of competitive athletics. After a disabling injury, Sophie was able to apply this experience to a burgeoning coaching career. She has over seven years of youth soccer coaching experience and is passionate about providing young female athletes with a positive environment to move their bodies and build new skills. Sophie also works as a leader in St. Olaf’s Student Support Services for Students with Disabilities program and hopes to increase the accessibility of sport and physical movement for all. Sophie’s areas of interest include the role of athletic identity, encouraging opportunities for female coaches, as well as disability and LGBTQ+ inclusion in athletics. After her undergraduate degree, she plans on pursuing a Master’s in sports ethics/philosophy or sports sociology. She is honored and excited to work with the Tucker Center team this summer!

image of Harper Dunne Harper Dunne is a rising senior at the University of Iowa. She is double majoring in Global Health Studies and Spanish while playing for the varsity Iowa Field Hockey team. After college she plans to apply for a Fulbright research scholarship and then seek her Master’s in Public Health. Specifically, Harper has a passion for health equity, and her career aspirations are to utilize research and advocacy to help make policy changes that improve the health and wellbeing of underserved communities. Alongside her interests in research and health equity, Harper competes for the Hawks, which is a consistently top five program and a regular national championship contender. Her identity as an athlete started early, as she played soccer from ages 3-18, picking up field hockey at age 13, and also competed in track in middle school and high school in Fort Worth, TX. Harper’s passion for helping other girls and women have athletic opportunities was ignited by the incredible mentorship, meaningful friendships, and self-confidence she has gained throughout her sport experiences. Because of her intersecting interests in health, social justice, advocacy, research, and athletics, she cannot imagine a more perfect opportunity than having the chance to work with the Tucker Center!

image of Katherine Norquist Katherine Norquist is a rising junior at Macalester College double majoring in American Studies and Creative Writing. She is a member of the varsity women's basketball team, serving as co-captain since her sophomore year. Growing up as a multi-sport athlete, Katherine learned first-hand about the power of sports — and the community structures that support them — to transform lives, in both personal and systemic ways. Drawing on her life-long love of women’s sports and a commitment to broadening their accessibility and resourcing, Katherine’s interest in studying gender and sports was honed through examination of recent legislative attacks on trans athletes' eligibility to participate in scholastic competition. In 2022, Katherine conducted a semester-long research project on the naturalization of binary biological sex in sports since the passage of Title IX. She imagines sports to be a microcosm through which larger societal change may occur and is thrilled to be a part of the Tucker Center’s summer cohort!

image of Mia Philippi Mia Philippi is a rising senior at Sunset High School in Portland, OR, where she is a member of the varsity basketball team. Growing up playing multiple sports, Mia has always appreciated the life lessons she has learned from competing in sport, and because of this she feels passionately about supporting girls’ and women’s participation in sport. This passion led to her involvement as an advocate for Title IX through the Voice in Sport organization. She is currently working with Voice in Sport Foundation to re-introduce the Fair Play for Women Act this summer, a bill that would strengthen Title IX education, enforcement, and compliance at both the K-12 and collegiate levels. Mia also founded the first Voice in Sport Chapter at her high school where student-athletes advocate for gender equity in their school sports programs, spread awareness and education for Title IX, and volunteer with organizations where they can serve as role models for girls in sport in their community. This model for the Voice in Sport Chapter has been expanded to over 30 high schools and colleges nationwide. This summer, Mia is looking forward to developing her research skills and using data to support the narratives about girls and women in sport with her group of equally passionate women.

image of Syd Pierre Syd Pierre is a rising senior at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, with a major in journalism and a minor in women’s & gender studies. Originally from Minneapolis, she grew up playing hockey and soccer and was a regular Gopher Women's Hockey season ticket holder, which sparked her interest in women’s sports and equity for female athletes. At Ithaca College, Syd is the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The Ithacan, for the 2023–24 academic year. She is also a recipient of the Park Scholarship, a full merit-based, four-year scholarship for students who are dedicated to media and community service. In the past, she has worked as communications intern for the Women's Sports Foundation, as well as a reporting intern for The Ithaca Voice. Her time with WSF rekindled her passion for sports equity and increased her exposure to the variety of issues that impact women’s sports. Syd is thrilled to continue to work alongside like-minded individuals who are passionate about women’s sports and to contribute to the Tucker Center this summer.

2022 Summer Interns

image of Gina Caravaglia Gina Caravaglia is a rising senior at Ball State University studying psychological science in the honors college. She is a member of the Ball State field hockey team and was selected to be her team’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Representative for two years. Growing up in Glen Allen, VA, Gina played many sports including basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and field hockey. While playing baseball, she was the only female player in her recreational league. Playing baseball and her other athletic experiences sparked her interest and passion for gender equity in sport. Gina is currently pursuing her honors thesis in conducting research on Division 1 field hockey players in her study titled, “The Impact of Post-Collegiate Playing Opportunities on Field Hockey Student-Athletes and their Identity.” Gina is interested in youth sport development and passionate about growing the game of field hockey in the Midwest. She is collaborating with social work professors at Ball State in an effort to introduce the sport of field hockey to Muncie Community Schools. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans on pursuing her master’s degree in either sport psychology or social work. She is honored and excited to join the Tucker Team!

image of Arla Davis Arla Davis is a rising senior at Ithaca College majoring in sports media with minors in both journalism and coaching. She is a member of the varsity field hockey team and serves as co-chair for the college’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council and is president of its chapter of Association for Women in Sports Media. Growing up in a big family full of athletes and coaches, Arla’s love for sports started from a young age and continued to grow as she competed in four varsity sports in high school. However, her passion for women in sport truly bloomed when she started studying sports media alongside other brilliant women in her predominately male classes. Her passion grew further through her experiences working as sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Ithacan, and volunteering as a communications intern with the Women’s Sports Foundation. Arla is looking forward to furthering her research skills and working with individuals who are also passionate about making sport more equitable for women and girls while interning with the Tucker Center.

image of Johanna Glaaser Johanna Glaaser is a graduate student in the Cognitive Science department at the University of Minnesota. Having graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in psychology and neuroscience, she was looking to integrate her passion for athletics while furthering her education. A former All-American track athlete and ice hockey captain at St. Olaf, Johanna experienced the difficulty of transitioning from the structured world of collegiate athletics into post-college life and work and as a result is passionate about advocating for fellow former and current athletes during this transitory period of life, particularly in areas involving mental health. At the start of her graduate studies in 2021, Johanna joined the Tucker Team and helped collect data for the Women in College Coaching Report Card™ as well as helped organize the 2022 Women’s Coaches Symposium. She is looking forward to continuing her work with the Tucker Center this summer and collaborating with new team members!

image of Mahi Jariwala Mahi Jariwala is a rising junior at Monte Vista High School in Northern California and a second-year summer intern at the Tucker Center. She is the founder of She Can Ball, an organization dedicated to empowering female basketball players both on and off the court. Mahi has applied the knowledge she learned last summer as a first-year intern to design and launch free all-girl basketball clinics in her community. She is also the host of the She Can Ball podcast, where she has conversations with inspirational coaches and players from both the professional and collegiate levels. Mahi has been involved with sports for a majority of her life and has played basketball since the 3rd grade. This summer she is looking forward to further developing her research, analysis, and writing skills through investigating how to keep young women involved with sports.

image of Nicole Johnson Nicole Johnson is a master’s student at the University of Denver studying international human rights with a specialization in international sport. Nicole received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Sport Management from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, in 2019. Nicole’s experiences as a gymnast and coach informed her decision to pursue a career in sport and her shift to focus on athlete safety and rights. After earning her undergraduate degree, Nicole worked at the U.S. Center for SafeSport. At the Center, Nicole assisted the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, U.S. national governing bodies of sport, and professional sports leagues in understanding the work of the Center and athlete safety policies. Nicole was involved in the Center for SafeSport’s early research efforts such as the 2020 Athlete Culture & Climate Survey, and has published research on the organization’s unique role as an independent resolution mechanism. Nicole’s research interests include sport governance and the role of sport organizations in protecting and violating human rights. She is excited to contribute to the work of the Tucker Center this summer.

image of Saira Nagda Saira Nagda is a rising senior at West Potomac High School in Northern Virginia. She is a three-season varsity athlete, competing in cross country and track year-round. She also played soccer for eight years and swims competitively. Saira developed a passion for girls and women in sport early into high school, as she observed and experienced some of the disparities in sports that affect women. She amplified this passion through the development of her youth sports nonprofit, “Replay It,” which serves to provide children with opportunities to participate in sports through donations of gently used equipment. She also conducted research evaluating barriers to participation in sports at her high school. Saira is eager to expand upon her current knowledge of the field this summer at the Tucker Center. She is looking forward to researching different aspects she has yet to consider in order to facilitate meaningful change for girls and women in sport.

2021 Summer Interns

image of Ramira Ambrose Ramira Ambrose will be a senior in the fall of 2021 at Wayzata High School in Minnesota. Ramira competes in varsity soccer and varsity track at Wayzata HS and club soccer year-round. She truly loves all aspects of her sports and wants to advocate gender equality for girls and women in sport. Ramira was mentored by Dr. LaVoi in her junior year of high school in which she researched the inclusion of Women and Women of Color Head Coaches in the NCAA Division I Power Five Soccer Conferences. With her continuation of working with the Tucker Team this summer, Ramira is looking forward to expanding her research to other sports and to advocate for Women and especially Women of Color head coaches. As a female athlete of color, Ramira values the significance of same race and gender role models and hopes to share this passion through research at a one-of-a-kind facility.

image of Jacque Davis Jacque Davis grew up as a deep lover of sports, but it wasn’t until she held her college degree in her hands that she realized exactly the impact sports had had on her life. No one in her family had gone to college, let alone graduated, and yet because of sport she was able to do so while becoming an athletic All-American for one of the founding collegiate women’s wrestling programs in the U.S. Ignited by this, Jacque has spent the past decade passionately amplifying girl's and women's sports initiatives by serving as the Women’s Director to a youth sports nonprofit named Beat the Streets, amplifying women’s sports initiatives by sitting on the boards of several youth sports organizations, and serving as an assistant coach for Team USA Women’s Wrestling at the Cadet and Junior Pan Am and World Championships. In 2020 Jacque founded Shape the Game, LLC, a sports impact consultancy, in an effort to assist SBYD organizations to increase their capacity, efficiency, and impact. Starting the summer of 2021, she will be pursuing her master’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development at the University of Minnesota and is excited to join the Tucker Team.

image of Anna Goorevich Anna Goorevich received a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a Judaic Studies minor from Franklin & Marshall College in May of 2021. Anna played on F&M’s Women’s Soccer Team and was an active member of F&M’s Student-Athlete Leadership Council Executive Board. Originally from Gaithersburg, MD, Anna’s passion for gender equity in sports was first sparked by spending many summer nights throughout her childhood at the Maryland SoccerPlex watching the NWSL’s Washington Spirit play. Anna has pursued many research projects on gender and sports while at F&M, including a winter of 2020 project in which Anna examined England’s girls’ soccer development programs and presented a paper entitled “There’s Satisfaction in Seeing a Girl Properly Hit a Challenge Against a Lad: Female Soccer in England’s Regional Talent Clubs” at multiple conferences. Anna recently completed an honors thesis entitled “‘Just Different’: Anson Dorrance, Gender, and Athletic Coaching” in which she analyzed University of North Carolina Soccer Coach Anson Dorrance’s coaching methodology. This Fall, Anna will attend the University of Stirling in Scotland to earn a master’s degree in Sport Management under the Fulbright/University of Stirling Award in Health, Well-Being, and Sport. Anna is particularly interested in research regarding youth sports, sport-access inequality, sport policy/governance, and coaching. Anna is excited to contribute to the Tucker Team’s mission of creating more inclusive and empowering environments for all athletes.

image of Mahi Jariwala Mahi Jariwala is a rising sophomore at Monte Vista High School in Northern California. She is currently a member of the varsity basketball team and intends to pursue basketball at the collegiate level. Mahi's desire to empower female athletes emerged after watching several peers drop out of sports combined with negativity directed towards WNBA players on social media. To combat this issue and create equal opportunities for female athletes, Mahi created She Can Ball, a podcast meant to inspire female athletes to become the best versions of themselves both on and off the court. Through conversations with inspirational coaches and players from both the professional and collegiate levels, Mahi shares cutting-edge insights with teenage hoopers while also discussing relevant social issues. She is looking forward to investigating the high drop-out rates plaguing teenage female athletics at the Tucker Center. Mahi also plans on applying her findings to design and launch camps for underprivileged female hoopers.

image of Cecelia Kaufmann Cecelia Kaufmann is a rising sophomore at Macalester College studying computer science and geography with a minor in data science. She is a third-year Tucker Center Summer Intern and is excited to be a part of a team for another year of learning and growth! A lifelong athlete, she grew up playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and softball, and throughout high school competed for her school’s track and cross-country teams. She has also been a lifelong sports fan, attending University of Minnesota Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, and Minnesota Lynx games with her family. This summer she is looking forward to continuing to develop her research skills and working with Dr. LaVoi and the team to dream up and create new ways to analyze Tucker Center data, all with the common goal of creating change in the landscape for women and girls in athletics, and ultimately for all in sports and physical activity.

image of Liz Kim Liz Kim received a Bachelor of Science in Psychological Science from Ball State University in May of 2021. She is captain of the Women's Golf Team and works as the Diversity and Inclusion Intern for Ball State Athletics and represents Ball State on the Mid-American Conference Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Liz grew up playing sports but found a passion for gender equity in sport after being surrounded by inspiring female role models in college. These role models sparked her passion for coaching and using sport to empower women. Liz works as a golf instructor at Golf Study Collective coaching junior girls and aspires to grow the love of the game. She will be pursuing her master’s degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Ball State University starting in the fall of 2021 and is excited to join the Tucker Team to contribute to the mission of accelerating change for girls and women in sport.

image of Sophia Liles Sophia Liles is a rising senior at Scripps College where she studies psychology and anthropology. She has worked as a research assistant in the Neuropsychology of Decision Making Lab (Claremont, CA), the Elder Justice Research Lab (West Lafayette, IN), and the Teens and Technology Lab (West Lafayette, IN). Sophie grew up playing soccer, basketball, and running cross-country and track and now competes on the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps cross-country and track teams. In addition to being an athlete herself, Sophie is an avid sports fan and enjoys watching any and all athletic competitions. Sophie has been passionate about gender equity in sports since middle school, when she frequently complained to her basketball coach that the school uniforms included the word “lady” in front of the school mascot. Sophie is excited to further her research skills at the Tucker Center due to the Center’s groundbreaking dedication to investigating the impact of sports on women, a topic that has fascinated her since childhood.

image of Maxine Simons Maxine Simons is a rising junior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities from Brooklyn, New York. She is currently majoring in sport management with a double minor in political science and business law. She is a member and treasurer of the University of Minnesota Women’s Club Lacrosse team as well as a member of the Sports Management Association. A lifelong multisport athlete and avid sports fan, Maxine has developed a keen interest for women in sports and gender equity. When Maxine is not doing schoolwork or being physically active, she enjoys listening to music, going to coffee shops, cooking, and watching movies. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, she plans on attending law school and pursuing sports law and gender advocacy. She is very excited to take part in impactful Tucker Center research that empowers women and girls and works to create meaningful change.

2020 Summer Interns

image of Sam Benzing Sam Benzing will be a senior in the fall of 2020 at The College of Saint Scholastica where she is studying Exercise Physiology and Psychology. She is Captain of the Women’s Nordic Ski Team as well as President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. A student athlete since middle school, Sam developed an interest for women in sport and intends to make a career out of this passion. Her current ski coach, Maria Stuber, founded the Women’s Ski Coaching Association (WSCA) which solidified Sam’s interest in a career of coaching as well as researching women in sport. Sam remembers a time when she and a teammate felt that it was weird of them to ask their head coach to consider hiring a female coach. She doesn't want athletes of any age or level to feel that they have to ask for representation and is excited to be a part of a research team that is showing how crucial representation is. When Sam is not completing school work or exercising, she can be found hanging out with dogs and baking. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, Sam hopes to pursue a ski coaching position and eventually attend graduate school.

image of Cecelia Kaufmann Cecelia Kaufmann is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is super excited to be returning for her second summer as a Tucker Center Gender Equity Intern! She just graduated from Minneapolis South High School and will be a college freshman in the fall. She has been physically active for her entire life, and is looking forward to continuing her passion for sports into college where she plans to study a mix of exercise science (possibly pre-physical therapy), neuroscience, gender studies, and to continue her study of Spanish. Last summer at the Tucker Center she worked on the collection, coding, and analysis of data from NCAA Women Coaches Academy graduates and finding employment patterns within the coaching profession. This summer she is looking forward to her continued involvement in a one-of-a-kind research facility that inspires and empowers girls and women across the globe and getting the Tucker Center’s mission out to high school students. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, and playing with her animals.

image of Paige Richmond Paige Richmond received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a Psychology minor from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in May of 2020. She played saxophone for four years in the Minuteman Marching Band and was the president of her band service sorority. She was involved with research in the UMass Physical Activity & Health Lab, and completed an honors thesis entitled “The Effect of Gender Norms on Subjective and Objective Measures of Physical Activity.” Richmond will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall to pursue her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology. She is interested in the intersection of chronic and infectious disease and using physical activity to prevent disease. Richmond is excited to contribute to meaningful research that empowers women. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her cat and cooking, and looks forward to exploring the bike trails of the Twin Cities area.

image of Greta Sirek Greta Sirek is a rising junior at Middlebury College in Vermont. She is a neuroscience major and global health minor on the pre-med track, with a specific interest in women’s health and holistic and culturally inclusive healthcare. She has benefitted from participation in sport all her life; she continues to run competitively for the Middlebury Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Greta believes in the ability of sport to unite communities, empower girls and women, and promote gender equality. She is very excited to further the mission of the Tucker Center.

2019 Summer Interns

image of Courtney Boucher Courtney Boucher is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, studying Sport Sociology. She is a research assistant in the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport and a graduate assistant in the UMN Department of Kinesiology. Holding an M.S. in Kinesology from the University of Minnesota, Boucher's research centers around women in the occupational coaching landscape and the hiring practices of athletic directors. Boucher has been an assistant hockey coach at her alma mater, Gustavus Adolphus College. A 2015 graduate of Gustavus, she studied chemistry and political science. Boucher currently works closely with the Gopher Women's Hockey team.

image of Cecelia Kaufmann Cecelia Kaufmann is from Minneapolis, Minnesota and will graduate high school from South High School in the spring of 2020. She is a very involved runner and teammate on both her high school’s cross country and track teams. Since the age of five, she has been involved in various sports including tennis, softball, basketball, soccer, baseball, and nordic skiing. After graduating high school, she hopes to study something related to her interests of exercise science and psychology, while continuing her study of Spanish. Kaufmann is excited to be involved in work that empowers women, and hopes that it inspires other young women like her to become involved in athletics. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, being with friends and family, and reading—especially if it’s a Harry Potter book.

image of Natalie Schad Natalie Schad will be a senior in the fall of 2019 at Smith College, where she is studying environmental science and policy with a minor in exercise and sports studies. At Smith, she is a member of the varsity lacrosse team and on the executive board for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She is also the media chair of the Sports Committee for Inclusion and Diversity, a student-led group that works to spark conversations surrounding diversity and provide a sense of inclusivity for all in Smith's Athletic Department, its programs, and its teams. Schad developed a passion for gender equity in sport through classes that explored the power of sport and its influence on society. She hopes to combine her interests in environmental science and sports sociology into a career in the future. In her spare time, Schad enjoys reading, biking, and playing with her dog.

image of Sarah Silbert Sarah Silbert received a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics with minors in Computer Science and Japanese from Macalester College in the spring of 2017. After graduating, Silbert served one year with City of Lakes AmeriCorps at Northeast Middle School in Minneapolis teaching English language to 6th grade students. She recently returned from a year abroad in Dublin, Ireland where she taught adult English language classes and worked with the Federation of Irish Sport. Silbert is excited to be a part of the Tucker Team and looks forward to utilizing her experiences at the Tucker Center when she returns to Dublin to pursue an MSc in Comparative Social Change at a program run jointly by University College Dublin and Trinity College. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball and coaching track and field.

2018 Summer Interns

image of Sarah Cummings Sarah Cummings will be a senior in the fall of 2018 at Ithaca College, where she is studying Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in sports studies. After this upcoming school year Sarah intends to go into the field of sports marketing, with hopes to later further her education in sports sociology or law. Sarah grew up with a passion for sports, playing soccer, basketball, and softball. While her competitive career has ended she still enjoys intramural sports and playing pick-up basketball while at school. Sarah has been inspired by the research done at the Tucker Center and looks forward to being a part of such an innovative group.

image of Hannah Silva-Breen Hannah Silva-Breen received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Exercise Physiology from Gustavus Adolphus College in the spring of 2018. Currently, she coaches girls basketball for the Minnesota Suns and is a certified group fitness instructor. In the future, Hannah plans on going back to school to continue studying and researching psychology and sport. Since helping Dr. LaVoi develop and complete the Head coaches of women’s collegiate teams: A comprehensive report on NCAA Division-III institutions, 2017-18 report card the previous year, Hannah is excited to be back at the Tucker Center. She is looking forward to another summer assisting in one-of-a-kind research on sport and gender equity!.

2017 Summer Interns

image of Melissa Koop Melissa Koop is from Roseville, MN and received her undergraduate degree in the spring of 2016 from the College of Saint Benedict. She graduated with a major in mathematics and a minor in exercise science and sports studies. During her time at St. Ben’s she played for the Blazer volleyball team, coached and refereed Junior Olympic volleyball, participated in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, worked as the manager of the Campus Recreation, and interned as a Junior Olympic Volleyball Tournament assistant coordinator. With her varied involvement in sports and her academic background in exercise science and sports studies, she was encouraged to work for the Tucker Center to help better the experience of the next generation of athletes. Melissa will be pursuing her Master’s Degree in Sports Law and Business at Arizona State University in the fall of 2017, and is eager and grateful to work with and learn from the inspiring scholars at the Tucker Center.

image of Hannah Silva-Breen Hannah Silva-Breen will be a senior in the fall of 2017 at Gustavus Adolphus College, where she is studying psychology and exercise physiology. Hannah will also be applying to graduate schools in the fall, hoping to enroll in a clinical or counseling psychology doctoral program. Although Hannah enjoys many sports, basketball has been her favorite, exemplified through her competitive play into her first year at Gustavus. Since retiring from playing competitively, Hannah is now an assistant coach for a girls’ AAU basketball team which has sparked her further interest in gender equity and sport. Hannah is extremely excited to be apart of an elite team working in the Tucker Center and believes this experience will help her pursue a career in sports psychology. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys knitting and napping with her cat, Shirley.

2016 Summer Interns

image of Caroline Heffernan Caroline Heffernan is the 2016 Borton Summer Fellow and a doctoral student in sport management at the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. Caroline graduated with a degree in psychology from Bryn Mawr College, where she played field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. After graduation, she served as Bryn Mawr's Assistant Field Hockey Coach and attended Temple University, where she earned a Master's Degree in Sport & Recreation Management. Her dissertation will focus on how men and women can work as allies within sport organizations to create more opportunities for women in leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, cooking and exploring with her friends.

image of Matea Wasend Matea Wasend is the 2016 Tucker Center Summer Gender Equity Intern. She studied English and Media Studies at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Since graduating in 2012, she has held a variety of positions in communications and nonprofit development in addition to coaching with Saint Paul Blackhawks Soccer Club. Matea’s passion for sport and working with young female athletes led her to the Tucker Center’s summer internship; she will also begin pursuing a master’s in Sport Sociology under Tucker Center Co-Director Dr. Nicole LaVoi in the fall. Matea is excited to be involved in work that empowers and inspires female coaches and their young athletes. In her time away from work she loves to play soccer, run and hike—all preferably in the company of her dog.

2015 Summer Interns

Maddie Kornfeld will be a senior this fall at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she is studying psychology and American studies. As a long-time soccer player and member of the women's soccer team at Macalester, Maddie is passionate about women's empowerment through sport and physical activity. Upon learning about the Tucker Center through a college course, Maddie said "I was immediately drawn to the Tucker Center not just for the focus on gender equity, but for the dynamic ways in which the research is made accessible to the community." She is thrilled to be part of the team at the Tucker Center and engage with research on gender equity issues. This summer, Maddie worked on verifying, analyzing and reporting data for the 2014-15 Women College Coaching Report Card, as well as helped edit reference lists for Dr. LaVoi's forthcoming book, Women in Sport Coaching. After finishing her senior year, Maddie hopes to study issues concerning social structures that influence social relationships across gender, race, (dis)ability, and sexuality. In addition to playing soccer, she enjoys reading, attempting to cook, and hiking and running around her home state of Colorado.

Anna Posbergh is from Stillwater, MN and is entering her senior year at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a major in English, and minors in Mathematics and Coaching. Though three areas are seemingly unrelated, the range reflects the breadth of interests. After Anna completes her undergraduate career at the University of Minnesota, she intends to either teach English abroad for a year, or enter into a graduate program for English. Aside from her scholastic studies, coaching is a huge passion of Anna's, particularly at the high school level with both track and strength & conditioning.
   This passion served as the foundation for Anna's interest in the Tucker Center, as much of the research done in the Tucker Center directly affects her coaching career and life, as well as her coaching colleagues. Anna first heard about the Tucker Center through the center's co-director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi through her Sport in a Diverse Society class. In response to having the opportunity of working with the Tucker team, she says, "The phenomenal work and research that comes out of the Tucker Center is a testament to the enthusiasm and professionalism of everyone involved." Tis summer, Anna iw working to code and analyze Dr. LaVoi's Division III Women in College Coaching Report Card for the 2014-15 academic year, and will be creating a national database of Division III athletic directors.
   Anna hopes that her work at the Tucker Center will allow her to empower other women coaches, raise awareness of the gender concerns and issues that reside in the world of sport, and overall, become a better and more knowledgeable advocate for equality and women's rights.

2014 Summer Interns

Elizabeth Labedz Elizabeth Labedz is a long-time admirer of the Tucker Center, and is thrilled to be contributing to the program and research agenda this summer! She became passionate about sports as a way to empower girls—especially when it comes to body image, leadership, and life skills—after experiencing their powerful impact on her own childhood. Elizabeth earned her bachelor's degree in Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois in 2007, but was frustrated by how little her academic studies translated and applied to making real change for girls and women. The applicability of the Tucker Center's research in directly impacting girls and women in sport is one of many reasons she admires the TC! As a coach, Elizabeth has used research from Tucker Center conferences and symposiums to improve her girls' sports after-school program, to make empowering posters of female athletes, and to build curriculum for her up-and-coming girls' sports camp, "GRRRL Camp." GRRRL Camp is a non-profit that pairs sports with workshops about health, leadership, body image, and social justice to solidify the important lessons that can be learned from playing sports.

During the 2013-14 school year Elizabeth served as a Program Coordinator for Playworks, which is a national non-profit that believes organized play can enhance team building, increase learning capacity, and teach conflict resolution skills. For the fall of 2014, Elizabeth is excited to move on to working at Jefferson Elementary as the support person for students who are homeless or highly mobile. She is also excited to continue coaching and building her girls' sports after-school program. To stay active, she is currently a member of a women's footy (Australian football) team while working towards her M.Ed. in Applied Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport management at the University of Minnesota.

This summer, Elizabeth worked on the following:

  • Learned how to code and analyze data for the continuation of Dr. LaVoi's report card project on female coaches
  • Worked on multiple literature reviews about issues that affect female coaches
  • Helped find additional readings for Dr. LaVoi's "Nine for IX" discussion guides project
  • Created and maintained a database of television stations and contacts with Dr. Kane to hopefully get the TC's "Media Coverage and Female Athletes" video aired across the country

Lauren Slagel The Tucker Center welcomes Lauren Slagel as a summer 2014 intern. Lauren graduated in May from St. Olaf College as a Biology and Exercise Science double major and competed on the St. Olaf Collegiate Triathlon team where she served as a co-captain. Upon hearing about the Tucker Center, Lauren says "I was ecstatic. The Tucker Center offers such tremendous opportunities. It is a wonderful place doing such amazing research in support of girls and women in sport. It is a great opportunity for me." Lauren has a passion for health and fitness that blossomed from her own positive experiences with sport and physical activity.

Lauren has volunteered with the Girls on the Run program, led fitness classes for Somali and Hispanic women, and created an empowerment program for St. Olaf students pairing discussion, education, and directed workouts in her role as a Peer Educator for the St. Olaf Wellness Center. During the summer of 2013 Lauren completed an internship at the Mayo Clinic's Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center and brings those experiences to the TC. In her personal life, Lauren enjoys staying active by biking, swimming, and running with friends.

Lauren looks forward to being part of the Tucker Center team. She hopes to help make a difference in the landscape of sports for girls and women. She will continue her studies in a Master of Public Health program at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2014.

This summer, Lauren worked on the following:

  • Worked with Affiliated Scholar Dr. Chelsey Thul coding and inputting data for the project, "Creating Culturally Sensitive Apparel for North African Adolescent Girls"
  • Assisted Dr. LaVoi with her creation of discussion guides for the espnW "Nine for IX" film series
  • Created posters for Dr. Kane to promote and boost the Tucker Center to students and visitors of Cooke Hall where the TC is housed
  • Helped Dr. Kane with the reference list for her upcoming manuscript on the impact of her seminal continuum article, "Resistance/transformation of the oppositional binary: exposing sport as a continuum," published in 1995

2013 Summer Interns

Elora Koepcke

The Tucker Center welcomes Elora Koepcke as a summer 2013 intern. Elora recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin—Madison with degrees in psychology and biology. She is now in pursuit of a master's degree from the University of Minnesota's School of Kinesiology. Currently, she works as an associate consultant for a private organizational psychologist in the Twin Cities, volunteers at the Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, and recently finished up her first season as an assistant coach for the Minneapolis Alpine Ski Team. Additionally, she looks forward to coaching girls' soccer this summer for Keliix Intra Soccer Club.

Elora says she "has always been a female dedicated to sport, be it soccer, gymnastics, skiing, or road biking." She adds that after taking on the coach's perspective, she is now even more "motivated to continue my education toward understanding, and promoting active and healthy lifestyles in youth." Regarding her goals, Elora says, "I would like to explore how sport is capable of founding such a positive and healthy attitude in an individual's life, and determine how that experience, and physical activity in general, can successfully be integrated into the lives of all young people and adults. The ingenuity of the Tucker Center's focus on the female in sport, and the varying perspectives of research would be an exciting way to assimilate knowledge that points toward defining this goal."

With her passion and enthusiasm for sport and people, we are happy to bring Elora to the Tucker Center to contribute to the breadth of research being implemented.

Emma Leyden

The Tucker Center welcomes Emma Leyden back as a summer 2013 intern. Emma just finished her junior year as a psychology major at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota. When she found out about the Tucker Center, Emma says, " I felt an instant click with the institution's mission, mainly because for my whole life I have identified as a female athlete, and I have been constantly asking questions about what that means in today's world." Emma has always been passionate about sports. She is a member and co-captain of the Macalester women's basketball team, and has been coaching basketball to 8th-11th grade girls. This year, Emma also helped create a program at her school for young girls in the local community to have the opportunity to watch women's sports while paired up with female athlete mentors in college.

Emma is excited to build on the experience she had last summer as a Tucker Center intern. She hopes to continue to learn more about how she can make a difference in gender equity in sports, and she is excited to be a part of groundbreaking research. She is eager to further immerse herself in an environment that seeks ways to get women and girls more actively involved in sports and ultimately level the playing field.

Brenda Senger

The Tucker Center welcomes Brenda Senger as a summer 2013 intern. Brenda is currently an undergraduate in the School of Kinesiology at the U of MN with a minor in neuroscience. Professionally, she holds a position as a teaching assistant in a multicultural literature class and another as a communications assistant in Kinesiology's eLearning + Digital Strategies program. In addition, Brenda is the president of the Undergraduate Student Board in the College of Education and Human Development. When she complete her undergraduate career in 2014 she hopes to move on to graduate school in the field of kinesiology.

Brenda says she is "passionate about the opportunity to be part of the Tucker Center team" and to put to work her abilities with media presentation, organizational planning, conflict resolution and team communications. Inspired by Tucker Center co-director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi's "Sport in a Diverse Society" class to reflect more on woman's role in sport, Brenda is eager to broaden her skillset with the Tucker Center this summer collaborating on research on girls and women in sport toward implementing opportunities for women in athletics in general.

2012 Summer Interns

Emma Leyden

The Tucker Center welcomes Emma Leyden back as a summer 2013 intern. Emma just finished her junior year as a psychology major at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota. When she found out about the Tucker Center, Emma says, " I felt an instant click with the institution's mission, mainly because for my whole life I have identified as a female athlete, and I have been constantly asking questions about what that means in today's world." Emma has always been passionate about sports. She is a member and co-captain of the Macalester women's basketball team, and has been coaching basketball to 8th-11th grade girls. This year, Emma also helped create a program at her school for young girls in the local community to have the opportunity to watch women's sports while paired up with female athlete mentors in college.

Emma is excited to build on the experience she had last summer as a Tucker Center intern. She hopes to continue to learn more about how she can make a difference in gender equity in sports, and she is excited to be a part of groundbreaking research. She is eager to further immerse herself in an environment that seeks ways to get women and girls more actively involved in sports and ultimately level the playing field.

Alyssa Ruhland

The Tucker Center welcomes Alyssa Ruhland as a summer 2012 intern. This fall Alyssa will be a senior majoring in psychology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Alyssa grew up in Minneapolis and throughout her life has always been active in sports. Currently, she is a senior captain for the women's ice hockey team at Holy Cross.

Through interning at the Tucker Center, Alyssa desires to gain insight and understanding into the many benefits—and also issues—associated with girls and women in sport. She also wants to learn structured research methods and understand their practical implications. Her plan is to gain experience in this field to better prepare her for future graduate studies in clinical psychology.

2010 Summer Interns

Salma Hussein

Salma Hussein, majored in Public Health and Youth & Leadership Studies, and was also a member of the U of M's McNair Scholars cohort. The McNair program is designed to provide minority, disabled, or low-income undergraduate students with the research skills necessary to gain admission to—and successfully complete—their graduate study. Hussein was mentored by TC co-director Dr. Nicole LaVoi and Ph.D. student Chelsey Thul as part of Thul's award-winning research project, "Program Evaluation and Interests of Somali Adolescent Girls and Women." Hussein was a key participant in the overall project and was actively engaged in her own research as well. A member of the Somali community in Minneapolis, she provided valuable cultural insights for LaVoi and Thul. Thul's research project on females in the Somali community is part of an ongoing line of research being conducted by Tucker Center scholars. It examines barriers, antecedents, and correlates of physical activity among Somali females in the Twin Cities Metro Area. In her subproject, Hussein evaluated an all-female basketball program in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood supported by the Confederation of Somalis in Minnesota. Her findings were used to generate culturally relevant physical activity opportunities for Somali girls and women, and to increase the physical activity behaviors and participation rates of this underserved population. In 2010 Hussein planned to pursue a graduate degree in public health, social work or a related field so that she can "bring the fruits of science to the poorest communities to help them move from dependency to independency through education."

2009 Summer Interns

Kelli Blankenship Kinesiology undergraduate, women's hockey team member, and McNair Scholar, Kelli Blankenship completed her research project, "Not All Sport Parents Are 'Out of Control': The Happy Side of Youth Sport," while working as a summer intern in the Tucker Center.

Alicia Johnson, undergraduate at Minnesota State University-Mankato and Tucker Center summer intern, helped research assistant Austin Stair Calhoun and Tucker Center co-director Nicole M. LaVoi expand their research project, "Examining Online Intercollegiate Head Coaches' Biographies: Reproducing or Challenging Heteronormativity and Heterosexism?" The initial study, which included only Big 10 coaches, was expanded to include a nationwide sample of Division I head coaches. Results from the initial study will be featured in the fall newsletter of It Takes A Team—an educational program sponsored by the Women's Sports Foundation and designed to end homophobia in sport.

2008 Summer Interns

Sarah Hammon

I am a senior psychology major with a topical minor in sports psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. I have been competing in and watching a variety of sports my entire life. This past summer I interned at the St. Paul Children's Hospital Exercise Medicine Clinic. After completing my internship, I realized my interest is in the impact of sport and exercise on children's overall health and well-being. I was introduced to the Tucker Center through Chelsea Rodd, and ever since I have been intrigued by the research this great institution has produced. At the moment, I am trying to get as much exposure to the literature related to youth and sports psychology as possible, and I believe the Tucker Center is the perfect place to start. As an intern, I am looking forward to learning first-hand about the many areas of research related to girls and boys in youth sports. I am hoping that the Tucker Center will help me narrow down my research interests for graduate school because at the moment they seem nearly endless.

Jill Haom

I am a junior majoring in kinesiology, exercise science. I am looking to attend graduate school, where I am undecided, but I am interested in sport sociology. I hope to utilize my education to benefit my family as well as my Hocak people; without them I would not have the opportunities in higher education that lie before me.

I am a mother and a wife; I have a two wonderful children, one 18-month-old son named Justice and one step-son, who is eight, named Ty-Anthony. I have been married for four years, and am honored to share my companionship with such a great person and friend.

I currently am a Program Assistant at the University of Minnesota in the Group Fitness Department. I am participating in TRIO program, McNair Scholars and will have the opportunity to work in the Tucker Center.

My educational journey continues to challenge me in many ways that will be beneficial to my interests and functionality. I want to continue to show my appreciation for knowledge by keeping an open mind and partaking in every opportunity to learn and grow so I can assist the next generation. I believe that the education of next generation is the key to eliminating ignorance and help in evolving society. 

Terrence A. Jordan II

Terrence A. Jordan II is an undergraduate student in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. As a student he has devoted himself to effecting positive change in persons of all ages. His drive is not only to become a researcher and scholar in the area of sport and exercise psychology, but to be effective in applying the tools and strategies he studies to help people. Coaching girls basketball has drawn him into the desire to study girls and women in sport. Currently, his research interests are the barriers to participation in women's sports, coaching education, and deviance in the African American male athlete. As a part of the Tucker Research Team, Terrence plans to make lucid and insightful contributions by being engaged in research practices. During his apprenticeship, Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi will act as a mentor as he plans to gain a better understanding of research methods and conundrums within the field.

Upon receiving a B.S. in Kinesiology, Jordan plans to further his education by attending graduate school and studying in the area of sport psychology. During his spare time he loves playing basketball, traveling, reading, and drawing.

Erin Morris

I am currently finishing my junior year at Whitman College as a sociology major and sports studies minor. Sports have always been a big part of my life, leading to my interest in the sociology of sport. When I'm not studying I enjoy both playing and coaching hockey as well as playing several intramural sports and working as an electrician and occasionally as a lighting designer for Whitman's theatre program. I am excited to delve deeper into sports studies this summer with my internship at that Tucker Center for which I will be receiving the Whitman Internship Fund, a grant which is given to select students who are pursuing internships that further their educational or career goals.