Octavia Cheatom is a junior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Kinesiology and African American Studies. Her research interests are centered on sport sociology and the impact that culture has on those who participate in sport. Ms. Cheatom plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy.
My dream is to be a co-owner of a private practice where professional and collegiate athletes can receive rehabilitative treatment, which will include physical therapy, acupuncture, and psychology.
Invisible Pioneers: Exploring the Experiences of African American Female Athletes during the Late Civil Rights Era
Abstract: Experiences of African American women in sport have been largely overlooked by sport sociologists. Given the scarcity of literature and the push for authentic representation, this study used focus groups and individual interviews to collect firsthand accounts of six African American women who participated in sport in a Metropolitan area during the 1960s and 1970s. After transcribing, and coding the interviews using inductive content analysis, several themes emerged. Preliminary results explore the meaning of sport participation, and why these experiences were valuable, memorable and necessary, to the participants. Results also highlight how the roles and relationships of family members, friends, and mentors were related to the experiences of these women. Study results give voice to the pride these women felt about their accomplishments and the enduring relationships that developed from their sport participation. Hopefully, this study will provide inspiration for African American girls and women to engage in physical activity. Download poster. [PDF]
Dr. Jennifer Bhalla focuses her research interests in the field of sport psychology and sociology at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She received her Master of Science in Exercise and Sport Studies from Smith College in Massachusetts where she also coached soccer. Having a desire to study the inner workings of sport, she attended University of Virginia, Charlottesville where she received her Ph.D. focusing on positive youth development, as well as cultural and parental influence on sport participation. While continuing her research and teaching, she is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health to help address the issue of physical inactivity and obesity in youth.