Bio: Alli McKee is a driven, high performer who is passionate about well-being and human performance. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and has a combined background in fitness and performance training and project management. One of Alli’s most notable accomplishments in the fitness industry was co-founding Girls Gone Strong (GGS) in 2011; a movement, resource, and community dedicated to women’s health, strength and empowerment.
In 2019, years after handing off GGS and a chapter in project management, Alli set out to build a program for teenage girls that focused on developing physical strength and mental skills for empowered performance in and out of sport. This program endeavor was tabled however, due to COVID-19, and led Alli to expand her passion for physical performance into her current pursuit of sport and performance psychology (SPP) at UWS.
Alli values a holistic approach in working with individuals and establishing relationships built on care, authenticity and trust. She aspires to advocate for the athlete’s best experience, allowing them to feel fully seen and heard, and coach them through self-awareness, skill development and self-management tools.
Why did you choose UWS?
During the early months of the pandemic, when much was closed and the return to work was unknown, I decided it was an opportune time to further develop my services and career in sport performance with a master’s degree in sport psychology. Considering the times, an online environment was the most practical, and a trusted source in the sport business recommended the SPP program at UWS for its reputation and affordability. Eager to get started, combined with the strong recommendation, my due diligence and intuition, I applied to start at UWS as soon as possible. Timing, my criteria and UWS aligned; it felt like the right fit.
What has been your favorite class/instructor?
I have had positive takeaways from each class and instructor. My favorite course and instructor to date however, is Psych Prep and Mental Skills Training with Dr. Condie. I enjoyed the process of synthesizing the material we had been learning throughout various courses to create a curriculum, topic by topic, over the quarter. We also collaborated with classmates each week, to provide constructive feedback on our work; this added a valuable opportunity for additional perspectives, ultimately enriching our final curriculum products. Another valued piece of the course was to apply the curriculum content in mock consulting scenarios with an athlete. While a bit nerve-racking at first, it was a great experience to learn and grow. Finally, Dr. Condie is such an engaged professor who really helps to guide, collaborate with and support the students in their journey.
What has been your experience with learning in SPP’s online learning environment?
At first, returning to the academic environment was quite an adjustment after completing my undergraduate degree in 2005. It’s been an enjoyable experience and one that feels interconnected despite being remote. I enjoy the year-round quarterly schedule with mini breaks in-between. This keeps me consistent in school mode but allows for a recharge period. The weekly schedule provided by the program is a balance of both structure and flexibility; and the online platform for coursework has also been smooth. I find the courses at UWS challenge me and I’m absorbing a lot. Professors and university staff are helpful and communicative; and I have enjoyed building both networks and friendships with my fellow classmates. Overall, it’s been a very positive experience for an online learning environment.
What has been the most surprising or eye-opening part of attending UWS?
I was pleasantly surprised and appreciate how invested UWS is in providing a top-of-the-line experience for the students; both from an academic perspective and a student experience. UWS promotes social connection between students; encourages students to provide feedback on courses or prospective changes; is attentive to the requirements for accreditation and the Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC®) certification; and provides outside resources and opportunities relative to the field of sport and performance psychology. I feel as though I am a part of a program that is consistently looking to improve and looking out for my best interests as a student.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
Following the completion of my master’s degree, I plan to continue with the SPP doctoral program at UWS, and then attain the Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC®) credential through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). When I entered the program at UWS, I intended to add the mental skills component to my strength and conditioning background and provide both services to teenage female athletes. My goals was/is to help build their foundation of strength and athleticism, knowledge and awareness, well-being and empowerment both in and out of sport. That is still in my heart although as I continue through the program, I am open to working with various demographics, working within an organization, and I would like to get into speaking engagements on the different aspects that contribute to well-being, performance, and success.
What is your favorite activity to destress?
Movement and physical exercise are typically my destress activity of choice. I’ll either go for a run, a long walk or meet up with some friends to train at the gym. I also live at the beach so getting outside near the ocean is soothing to breathe, take in the views and appreciate nature’s beauty. And last, but never least, snuggling my dog and spending quality time with loved ones are ways I destress and fill my tank.