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Helping UVA Student-Athletes Flourish

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Helping UVA Student-Athletes Flourish

The Contemplative Sciences Center has added 23 members to its Citizen Leaders Fellowship which promotes leadership and personal development among UVA students. It is comprised of the Citizen Leaders and Sports Ethics Community Impact Fellowship for student-athletes and the International Student Citizen Leaders Fellowship for  students who have come from outside the US. To date, these two programs have created community-focused projects which have impacted the lives of 3,500 UVA students. 

Read about the Citizen Leaders and Sports Ethics Community Impact Fellowship in the article below; it includes biographies of the 2022-2023 cohort.

Previously, CSC hosted a separate student athlete and international student fellowships. You can read about the International Student Citizen Leaders Fellowship here.

 


A Partnership with Virginia Athletics

In 2020 CSC and UVA Athletics launched a new annual leadership program for student-athletes called the Citizen Leaders and Sports Ethics Community Impact Fellowship.

This new program offers UVA student-athletes an opportunity to develop the kind of personal and professional skills they’ll need to flourish in their lives after UVA. At the same time it empowers them to address the unique issues facing fellow student-athletes, particularly the strain of balancing competitive sports pressures with academic responsibilities and social and emotional well-being.

Selected fellows identify a specific, pressing challenge to the well-being or flourishing of their teammates or the larger community of student-athletes at UVA. During the fellowship year they design and implement projects to address those challenges with evidence-based tools such as mindfulness meditation and other contemplative practices. They also assess the impact of their projects using effective research measures, such as surveys, interviews, or focus groups.

Providing student-athletes with exceptional learning experiences that will help them reach their fullest potential on and off the playing field is part of UVA Athletics’ Master Plan and its goal for the new Center for Citizen Leaders and Sports Ethics.


PRESS


Sandy Hausman, “UVA Program Trains Mindful Student Athletes,” RADIO IQ, November 20, 2020 (3:21).


Whitelaw Reid, “Empowering Student-Athletes Is at the Heart of an Exciting New Fellowship,” UVA Today, October 23, 2020.

CSC-UVA Athletics' Partnership Promotes Flourishing for Student Athletes On and Off the Field.”


THE 2022-2023 FELLOWS

Sam Bond is a second year student on the UVA Football team from Fredon, NJ.  For his project he is working alongside fellow CItizen Leader Logan Kutler, on establishing a leadership council for high school student athletes to develop leadership and communication skills and prepare them to become citizen leaders in their communities.



 
Virginia Bossi is a fourth-year student on the UVA Women’s Golf team.  She is from Como, Italy and is majoring in Foreign Affairs.  For her project she is creating a student athlete organization called Global Hoos.  This organization is for international student athletes and provides a place and space for students to gather together for workshops, special events, and informal meetings with the goal of  promoting a greater sense of belonging and  increasing their social, emotional, academic and professional well-being. 

Abby Cebula is a second-year student on the UVA Cheer team.  She is from Weston, MA and is majoring in Commerce and Psychology.  The focus of her project is to empower student-athletes regardless of gender or sport to advocate for equitable access to resources that will help them flourish in the classroom, on the field, and beyond their experiences at UVA. 

Noah Chizmar is a second year student on the Men’s Lacrosse team.  He is from Bel Air, Maryland and is majoring in Commerce.  For his project he is piloting alongside fellow Citizen Leader Sydney Hartgrove and UVA Athletics sports psychologists  a new system that allows for small groups of student athletes to meet at least once a semester with a sports psychologist to help student athletes prioritize mental health and gain access to early mental health intervention resources. 

 
George Fulton is a second-year student on the Men’s Lacrosse team.  He is from Boston, MA and is majoring in Leadership and Public Policy.  For his project he is working alongside fellow Citizen Leader, Matthew Nunes,  on creating greater social cohesiveness in the student athlete population by bringing student athletes together from across different teams by bonding student athletes together through their jersey numbers or honorary jersey numbers.

 
Eleanor Grabcheski is a third-year student on the UVA Rowing team.  She is from Montclair, NJ and is majoring in History.  For her project she is working on broadening student athlete’s work within the Charlottesville community by expanding community service opportunities to Charlottesville Public Schools and community food pantries and kitchens. 

 

 
Sydney Hartgrove is a second year student on the UVA Women’s Softball team.  She is from Hampstead, NC and is majoring in Economics.  For her project she is working alongside fellow Citizen Leader, Noah Chizmar, to pilot with UVA Athletics sports psychologists a new system that allows for small groups of student athletes to meet at least once a semester with a sports psychologist to help student athletes prioritize mental health and gain access to early mental health intervention resources. 

Aeris Kim is a third year student on the UVA Cheer team.  She is from Manassas, VA and is majoring in Economics as a Pre-med student.  For her project she is creating additional volunteer  opportunities for student athletes to come together from different teams and build stronger, inclusive, and supportive relationships while serving the local community.

 
Logan Kotter is a first year student on the UVA Football team.  He is from Ashburn, VA and is planning on majoring in Commerce.  For his project he is working in partnership with fellow Citizen Leader, Sam Bond, on establishing a leadership council for high school student athletes to develop leadership and communication skills  and prepare them to become citizen leaders in their communities. 

Thomas McNeal is a second year student on the UVA Men’s Lacrosse team.  He is from New Hampshire and is majoring in Kinesiology.  For his project, he is creating an organization for student athletes studying medicine to come together to share ideas, gain access to essential resources to navigate the journey of applying to medical school, discover internships, connect to mentors, and most importantly gain support from fellow student-athletes. 

Matthew Nunes is a second year student on the Men’s Lacrosse team.  He is from Woodlands, TX and is majoring in Leadership and Public Policy. For his project Matthew is working alongside fellow Citizen Leader George Fulton on creating greater social cohesiveness in the student athlete population by bringing student athletes together from across different teams by bonding student athletes together through their jersey numbers or honorary jersey numbers.


Umberto Pela is a first year student on the UVA Men’s Soccer team.  He is from Milan, Italy and is planning to major in Commerce.  For his project he is working with the UVA Athletic Department to design and implement a wellbeing assessment to better understand what additional resources UVA student athletes need to flourish across a multitude of dimensions of their lives on and off the field. 

Abby Tadder is a second-year student on the Volleyball team.  She is from San Diego, CA and is majoring in Commerce.  For her project she is creating a series of programs aimed at easing the transition for incoming first year and transfer students to UVA  by helping them establish meaningful and deep connections with each other and the larger UVA student-athlete community. 

THE 2021–2022 FELLOWS

Hailey Barnett is a fourth-year student on the UVA Women’s Rowing team. She majors in Biology and minors in African American Studies. Hailey is working on a three-prong fellowship project: (1) providing anti-racist education resources to student-athletes, (2) spearheading collaborative development of stepping stone memorials to UVA’s enslaved labors, (3) facilitating more local giving opportunities for UVA’s student-athletes.


Cole Kastner is a second-year student on the UVA Men’s Lacrosse team. He aspires to major in Commerce. For his fellowship project, Cole is focused on creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for first-year Men’s Lacrosse players through a peer mentorship program—to assist these new players in navigating the unique stressor and challenges facing student-athletes.


Diana Ordoñez is a fourth-year student on the UVA Women’s Soccer team. She  aspires to play professional soccer upon graduation. For her fellowship project, Diana is focused on developing a community of support for UVA’s Latinx/Hispanic student-athletes by organizing an affinity group to meet regularly throughout the year.


Devon Whitaker is a second-year student on the UVA Women’s Lacrosse team. For her fellowship project, Devon is focused on cultivating greater team chemistry and more supportive relationships among her teammates. She’s also working on assessing and addressing  the various stressors they face.


Read about the 2020-2021 Citizen Leader Fellows