Second-year PhD student Christine Wegner recently won the North American Society for Sport Management’s (NASSM) 2014 Student Research Competition.
NASSM strives to promote, stimulate, and encourage study, research, scholarly writing, and professional development in the area of sport management — both theoretical and applied aspects.
Wegner’s winning paper, titled Black Girls Run: Identity Creation Within a National Running Group for Black Women, was based on a survey conducted by the School of Tourism Hospitality Management’s (STHM) Sport Industry Research Center’s (SIRC) in February 2013 on members of Black Girls Run!, an organization that aims to fight obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles and running events among African-American women. Wegner studied how members of Black Girl Run! identify with the organization and with running and how the identifications changed over time.
She found that the longer women remained in the organization, the more strongly they identified with it, just as they identified as runners, as they began to run more outside of Black Girls Run.
NASSM’s Student Paper Review Committee evaluated each submission through a blind review process based on relevance or significance of the topic, theoretical bases, methodology, discussion and interpretation, and clarity of writing.
“I think that my research is important,” Wegner said. “I’m glad that it can be shared with others at this level, because it’s something that has to get out there.”
Wegner’s area of research focuses on organizational identity formation and the utilization of sport for social change on a contextual level. She has also worked with other organizations through SIRC, such as Students Run Philly Style, which trains students to run half or full marathons and strives to reduce rates of obesity, decrease juvenile delinquency and improve students’ school attendance and academic performance.
“Looking back, I can see ways in which the program has improved my skill set,” Wegner said. “Both STHM and the Fox School have been very supportive.”
The Fox and STHM Young Scholars Forum initially funded the project on which Wegner’s paper is based. Wegner also received grant funding from Texas A&M.
Prior to joining STHM, Wegner received her MS in Education from Brooklyn College and her BA in Latin from Vassar College.
— Alexis Wright-Whitley