Panel Discussion: Increasing Female Participation in Sports

January 23, 2014
The Faculty Club, 716 Columbus (6th floor), Northeastern University

Boston: The Hub for Sport-Based Youth Development

Boston learning from Boston

Over the course of the last three years, Sport in Society has worked extensively with local and national sport-based youth development organizations to identify their organizational challenges and assets.  With this data, Sport in Society has developed a series of collaborative learning forums, webinars, and online resources that are designed specifically for organizations that strive to use sport for positive youth development.  The offerings below are intended to meet these needs by providing solution-oriented meetings, panel discussions, and showcases.  Sport in Society will host bi-monthly panel discussions on relevant topics.  These events will be a 3rd Thursday from 12:00 – 1:30pm at Northeastern’s Faculty Club.  Lunch will be served.

Thursday, January 23rd: Increasing Female Participation in Sports

This panel will examine the need to increase female participation in sports programs, and strategies for doing so.  Featured panelists include:

Katie Hnida, Football Pioneer and Public Speaker

Katie Hnida graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Psychology. She is a pioneer in the world of sports, being the first woman to play, and score points, in a NCAA Division One football game. As a senior, she was named Colorado Sportswoman of the Year as well as Teen People Magazine’s Number One Teen Most Likely to Change the World.

While attending the University of Colorado in 1999-2000, Katie became the first woman to make the football team. She then transferred to the University of New Mexico where she played three seasons for the Lobos. In 2004, Katie spoke out publicly about the sexual harassment and rape she endured while at the University of Colorado. She has become prominent speaker on violence against women and travels the country to share her powerful story at colleges, women’s groups and other organizations.

In addition to speaking, Katie is also the author of “Still Kicking: My Journey as the First Woman to Play Division I Football”, published by Scribner in 2006. Her writing has appeared in publications such as People Magazine and Cosmopolitan. She has appeared on numerous television shows including Larry King Live, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, ESPN, and has been featured in various magazines and newspapers including: TIME, Sports Illustrated, Glamour, People, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post. Katie has continued her football career, most recently becoming the first woman to play professional arena football with the Ft. Wayne Firehawks in 2010.

Justine Siegal, Director of Sports Partnerships at Sport in Society

Justine Siegal is the Director of Sports Partnerships at Sport in Society, where she is responsible for cultivating relationships for academic program expansion, as well as enhancing existing relationships with Major League Baseball and other professional sports organizations.

Justine is the founder and executive director of Baseball for All, an organization that provides meaningful opportunities and instruction in baseball, especially for girls. In 2002, Justine formed the Sparks, the first all-girls team to compete in a national “boys” tournament

For three years, Justine was an assistant baseball coach for Springfield College. She was the only woman coach in the collegiate baseball ranks. In 2009, Justine became first woman to coach first base in men’s professional baseball (Brockton Rox, CanAm League). Later and making history again, at the age of 36, Justine became the first woman to throw batting practice to a MLB team when she threw to the Cleveland Indians on February 22, 2011. She then went on to pitch BP to the Athletics, Rays, Cardinals, Astros, and Mets.

Justine serves as a Coach and Technical Commissioner for the International Baseball Federation. She has coached at the World Children’s Baseball Fair three times. In 2004, Justine sat on USA Baseball’s steering committee for the inaugural Women’s Team USA; that team went on to win gold at the Women’s Baseball World Cup. Justine later served as a consultant to the International Baseball Federation during their bid, to include both women’s and men’s baseball in the Olympics.

Rebekah Splaine Salwasser, Executive Director of the Boston Scholars Athletes Program

Rebekah Splaine Salwasser is responsible for the overall management of the Boston Scholar Athletes program (BSA), a multi-million dollar program whose mission is to support academic achievement through athletics.Mrs. Salwasser drives a wide range of program initiatives, including the vision and strategy for the BSA, and the implementation of the marketing and public relations initiatives. She is also responsible for maintaining and building the BSA brand as a clear leader in Boston’s nonprofit landscape, and for conducting ongoing analysis and reporting of the program’s Key Performance Indicators. Mrs. Salwasser oversees the program’s budget, including the review and approval of all expenditures and purchases to ensure a sound fiscal model.

Additionally, she spearheads the fundraising initiatives, including oversight of all grant writing and donor and Board relationships. Another responsibility for Mrs. Salwasser includes the strengthening of relationships with key community partners, such as Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Presidents of local universities and colleges and professional sports teams, and the Superintendent of Boston Public Schools.

Prior to running the Boston Scholar Athletes program, Mrs. Salwasser was the Community Relations Director for the Boston Celtics for 5 years, overseeing charitable giving and events for the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation.  Before the Celtics, she was the Executive Director of the Charlestown Lacrosse & Learning Center, a small non profit in Boston that provided academic & athletic assistance to local youth. In 2003, Mrs. Salwasser was also a member of the Boston Breakers women’s professional soccer team.

Although Mrs. Salwasser ended her term as a member of the Board of Trustees for Buckingham Browne & Nichols in 2011, she has served on their Alumni Council for the past 7 years to strengthen the relationship between the school and its Alumnus. She is also a Founding Co-Chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s Friend’s Council, where she now sits as a Leadership Committee Member. She also is on the National Advisory Board for Dream Big! Lastly, she is an Advisory Member for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, ‘Together Against Abuse’ fundraising Gala; a member of the Soccer Advisory Board for America SCORES Boston, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Boston Center for Youth & Families Recreation Center at Madison Park.

Dr. Jennifer Mead, Framingham State; Bridgewater State

Jen Mead is currently a visiting lecturer in the Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies Department at Bridgewater State University, and a visiting assistant professor of Psychology and Philosophy at Framingham State University. She formerly taught at New England College and Springfield College, where she received her PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology in 2009.

Jen is an active publisher and presenter in the sports, leadership and positive psychology fields, and has been active within the professional and collegiate sports leadership community, as both an athlete and a coach. Jen currently lives in South Dartmouth, MA.

Please RSVP for this complimentary lunch forum. The event is free but registration is required.