St. Bonaventure University

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Future professionals present at state virtual professional development conference

Mar 18, 2021

Four physical education majors from St. Bonaventure University gave a presentation titled “Making a Difference through Coaching Every Day” at a state conference this week.

making a difference coaching flyerThe students, Brianna Burgess, Elizabeth Burke, Chelsey Vincent and Hayley Tasselmyer, co-presented with Dr. Paula Scraba, associate professor of physical education at St. Bonaventure, and Bill Collins, director of training for Special Olympics New York.

Their presentation March 16 was among a series of virtual professional development programs sponsored by the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (NYSAHPERD), which is the governing professional organization for the physical education and sport studies programs at St. Bonaventure.

Out of hundreds of presentations submitted, the students’ proposal was among the top 50 selected for the virtual conference sessions held throughout the month of March.

The students are officers in the campus Physical Activity Club (PAC) as well as the newly recognized Special Olympics College Club. Burgess, a senior, is the head women’s basketball manager. Tasselmyer, a senior, is a member of the women’s swim team. Vincent is a junior rugby player. Burke, a senior, has been involved in Team Bona’s, club softball and the Medical Emergency Response Team.

Their presentation focused on how being a coach leaves a legacy of teaching life lessons through sport. The session helped coaches explore the social skill competencies and techniques of coaching and game/event management, with an emphasis on an inclusive sports model that places athletes with and without disabilities on the same team.

Participants were asked the question, “Will you take the path for coaching to be a dedicated privilege, creating a unique experience that touches the life of each one of your athletes?” The St. Bonaventure students shared their coaching experiences and the initiatives developed with SBU and Special Olympics that encourage participation, enhance education and expand community awareness in Western New York.

Special Olympics New York is the largest chapter of the parent organization in the United States, serving more than 63,000 athletes with cognitive and intellectual challenges.

Several other physical education majors and PAC members attended the conference and helped coordinate group discussions during the session, including seniors Mia Cote, Savannah Gonsiorek, Andrea Hill and Eric Senior, and juniors Matthew Jacobs and Adam Stradtman.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.