Department of Kinesiology doctoral graduate Meredith Wekesser is a 2023 recipient of the MSU Excellence-in-Teaching Citation. Each year, the university presents the award to six graduate teaching assistants who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and proficiency in fulfilling their classroom duties with attentiveness and expertise.
“We — students, staff and faculty in the Department of Kinesiology at MSU — have greatly benefited from, and truly appreciate, Meredith’s many teaching-related contributions over the last four years,” said Professor Nicholas Myers, who nominated Wekesser for the award.
As a former collegiate swimmer at Truman State University, Wekesser suffered a serious shoulder injury, which ultimately led to her discovering the field of sport psychology and subsequently pursuing her Ph.D. in Kinesiology at Michigan State University.
Now in her final year of the program, Wekesser has been a huge asset to the department, having taught one dozen physical activity and lecture-based courses.
“Teaching has been one of the activities I’ve looked forward to the most in my Ph.D. program,” she said. “It’s great to see students who aren’t that interested in the course be completely bought in by the end. You find that one topic that draws them in and I love to be that resource.”
Wekesser’s research focuses on positive youth development through sport, specifically looking at relationships between coaches and athletes and how a coach’s behavior can support positive experiences in sport. In addition to the Excellence-in-Teaching Citation, she was recently named a recipient of the Outstanding Student Paper Award in Sport Psychology for the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA).
“I really see the value and benefits of youth sport and want to continue to build that positive environment for athletes,” said Wekesser.
During her research, she developed a questionnaire that measures athletes’ perceptions of their coaches’ behaviors—a tool that carries scientific validity and will serve as a resource for other scholars.
Wekesser credits her budding career as an educator and researcher to fellow faculty members and advisors who served as mentors, namely Instructors George Harnick and Mary-Anne Reid, Professor Nicholas Myers and her former Academic Advisor Karl Erickson.
“Getting your Ph.D. is a lot of work on your own, but you never work in isolation. There are so many people that you work with and learn from along the way.”
Wekesser was recognized for this accomplishment at the All-University Awards Convocation on May 8, 2023.