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Vol 58 No. 2 : February, 2006
Vol 58 No. 2 : February, 2006
Magyar Receives Young Scholar Award

T. Michelle Magyar, a new assistant professor of kinesiology at CSULB, has been selected to receive the Hally Beth Poindexter Young Scholar Award by the National Association for Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education (NAKPEHE).

For the sixth year, the executive board of NAKPEHE held its open paper competition, which is designed to encourage the development of innovative ideas and discussions from the newest members of the profession. Magyar’s paper, titled “Teaching Athletes to Connect and Collaborate: The Power of Peer Leadership in Athletes,” earned her the award.

The paper examines how athletes construct leadership skills through sport participation and how the coach can foster this development. 

“Typically, when we study leadership in sport, we tend to focus on the leadership role of the coach. Rarely, do we consider the learning opportunities athletes have to develop leadership skills through sport participation,” she explained.

In particular, Magyar’s submission highlighted the finding that athletes’ definition of success and personal ability in their sport performances can help explain the individual differences in the construction and use of leadership skills. In essence, athletes who focus on personal mastery as a criterion for success will use communication, respect, motivation, performance ability, effort and collaboration as a motivating force in leading their teammates. In contrast, athletes who are more concerned with demonstrating their superior ability are more likely to use only performance-based skills and negative tactics. She also found that coaches who foster perceptions of favoritism and emphasize normative comparison decrease the salience of leadership skills in their athletes. These findings are significant in identifying athletes who have a dispositional tendency to lead others.

As a result of the win, Magyar received a $250 cash prize and a one-year free membership to NAKPEHE. In addition, she was invited to present her paper during a special session of the organization’s 2006 annual conference, which took place in January in San Diego.

To be eligible for the honor, candidates must be full-time faculty members in the first five years of employment at a college or university setting. Magyar, who was a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA and lecturer at CSULB last year, is in the first semester of her first tenure-track position.

“I was very nervous about applying because it was an open competition,” Magyar said. “There is a sense of vulnerability when you submit your research for peer review so when I found out that I had won, I was absolutely thrilled and relieved to know that my work was judged worthy of this award and considered a valuable contribution to the field of sport psychology.”

Actually, the NAKPEHE award was the second “new faculty” honor for Magyar last fall. In November, she received the Emerging Professional Award from the Western Society for Physical Education of College Women (WSPECW). 

Given annually to acknowledge emerging professionals in higher education, the honor is awarded on the basis of excellence in teaching, creativity and professional contributions. The purpose of the award is to encourage professional involvement with the WSPECW and to stimulate growth and networking through the interaction inherent in this involvement.

“I was very honored to be presented with this award in front of my peers,” Magyar said of receiving the WSPECW honor. “The Western Society is unlike any organization I belong to. It is unique in the sense that the mission is to provide mentoring and leadership for women in higher education. All members are from the western region of the United States and are very supportive of scholarship and research and have a vested interest in building a network of colleagues in an effort to advance the professional development of female faculty in kinesiology.”

Magyar received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Berkeley in 1994, her master’s degree in health and kinesiology from Purdue University in 1998 and her Ph.D. in kinesiology from Michigan State University in 2002.

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