Bio – Melissa I. White, EdD, is an elementary school teacher and varsity track and field coach. She received her undergraduate degree from Bethany College in West Virginia. She has taught 6th grade for 15 years and has been coaching track and field for 13 years. Her areas of expertise are the pole vault and javelin where she has coached a state champion in each. Dr. White has recently used her sport psychology training to become the mental performance coach for a varsity football team. Her role allowed her to meet with the team on a weekly basis and implement a leadership program. This program encouraged a team philosophy while implementing mental skills training.
Why did you choose UWS? Why did you choose your program/concentration?
I chose UWS, because I felt that it was the best option for me to achieve my goal of attaining the Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) certification. I chose the sport and performance psychology program, because I wanted to be able to help my athletes have an edge as they competed. Through coaching, I noticed that the main emphasis on training was only the physical side and there was not a mental component. This enticed me to want to expand my ability to fully train the athlete. I found this program and felt that it was the missing piece to the puzzle.
How did your time at UWS prepare you for your career and life?
My time at UWS completely prepared me for my work with athletes. The courses and professors pushed me to develop my knowledge base as well as gain practical experience working with athletes. I was able to bring up scenarios I was experiencing with athletes and have a professional guide me through the process of dealing with the situation. The 40-week practicum allowed for application of all of the courses I had completed. This aspect of the course pushed me as I implemented mental skills with athletes in different sports.
What was your favorite part about the online format of the program?
The online format was something that I was used to from my master’s program. One thing that I think added a lot of value to this UWS program was the Zoom sessions that were implemented. This was a component that made the course seem more personal and allowed time to work through cases with the professor and my classmates.
What made you decide on this education and career path?
I saw a need for mental skills to be introduced and implemented for athletes. There were a lot of people and options for physical training, but the mental side of sport was lacking. They could look anywhere and find a personal trainer or pitching coach or gymnastics clinic, but there was nowhere, where they were able to enhance the mental side of training. I wanted to be that resource for them.
What has been/was your favorite class and instructor?
I have honestly enjoyed all of my courses at UWS. I found value in each of them and the takeaways from each course created a well-rounded education. My two favorite professors were Dr. Vince Lodato and Dr. Stephen Walker. I had both of them for several classes and their impact on my education has been invaluable. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to learn from professionals in the field with such a diverse background. Their knowledge base and experiences have given me an education that has prepared me for my future career.
What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
My favorite thing to do to relieve stress is to take my Australian Shepherd, Wendy Lou, for walks, hikes, agility and other types of training with her. She is currently working towards her therapy dog certification so that she will be able to assist me with my clients.