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Master of Science in Kinesiology Alumna Wins 2017-2018 Boise State University Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

Ali Ohashi, a Master of Science in Kinesiology alumna, recently won the 2017-2018 Boise State University Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award for the Humanities, Social Sciences, Education and Business. Her thesis project was titled, “Transitioning Out of Sport: Perspectives of Student-Athlete Support or Development Services.”

Ohashi’s thesis project, “Transitioning Out of Sport” explores the implications of student-athletes transitioning out of the environment of support and development services they receive from athletic departments from the perspective of directors and/or associate directors who provide these services of NCAA Division I universities. Ohashi chose this direction of research due to the lack of sufficient research examining the social support system within college athletics, as it is an important resource for student-athletes transitioning out of sport, especially for their successes later in life. Ohashi found no studies exploring the transition student-athletes experience from the perspective of support and development services coordinators housed in athletic departments that provide programming for these athletes.

Ohashi conducted her research by interviewing eight directors and/or associate directors to examine their perceptions about the factors that lead to a successful or unsuccessful transition out of sport. Participants described how their current services and programs helped student-athletes overcome the obstacles of this transitional period. As a result, Ohashi found that directors who observed their student-athletes during their transition out of sport, experienced a successful transition as their services and programs assisted them in coping with the demands of athletic treatment. She also discovered the issues within the process of athletic transitioning arise when there is a lack of career development, a sudden loss of the sport environment, and prior mental and physical health risks. Ohashi conducted that evidence-based services and programs need to be implemented to meet the needs of both current and former student-athletes.

“What I really appreciate about her research is that she focused on learning about the people (support staff in athletics), who are in optimal positions to make an impact on the lives of student-athletes through programming and services” said Shelley Lucas, associate professor for the School of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Kinesiology. “Previous research already shows that some student-athletes struggle with the transition from athletics and Ali’s research contributes to more effectively preparing student-athletes to deal with that transition.”

In addition to this award, Ohashi’s thesis project has been submitted as the Boise State University nominee to the Western Association of Graduate Schools distinguished thesis award competition. This award specifically recognizes distinguished scholarly achievement at the master’s level. “The selection committee was very impressed with the originality and creativity of her research,” said Scott Lowe, associate dean of the Graduate College. “Congratulations. It speaks well of your hard work and the Boise State University Kinesiology Department.”

Read: “Transitioning out of sport: Perspectives of student-athlete support or development services.”