Nicole LaVoi2015 Rising Alumni

Nicole LaVoi photo

Nicole M. LaVoi is one of the most cited and rising scholars in sport sociology and psychology in the US. Dr. LaVoi is co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium and has been recognized for the many facets of her research and outreach activities in a variety of contexts across the country—most frequently delivering research-based educational workshops to coaches at all levels of competition and youth sport parents. She is not only a scholar, but an activist for women's sports. Currently she serves on national advisory boards for Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics, espnW, and the Alliance of Women Coaches which provides professional development and networking opportunities for female coaches, and is part of the teaching faculty for the NCAA Women Coaches Academy.


Senior Lecturer and Associate Director,
University of Minnesota Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport

CEHD Degree

M.A., Kinesiology;
Ph.D., Kinesiology

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

Earning two graduate degrees (I'm a Double Gopher!) from CEHD and having access to some of the top scholars in multiple disciplines within a world class land-grant institution has helped me to achieve and exceed my professional goals.

What's a "fun fact" about you?

I won an NCAA Division III National Championship for women's tennis with my Gustavus teammates.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

My mentor Dr. Steve Wilkinson (deceased Jan, 2015), former men's tennis coach at Gustavus Adolphus College, has been most inspirational to me in my work as a coach, teacher, researcher, advisor and also in my personal development. Dr. Mary Jo Kane has influenced me as a researcher and advocate for girls and women in sport.

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in the College of Education & Human Development (CEHD)?

I took a class from Jim Rest during my master’s program that later influenced my desire to pursue research in moral development and sport at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Sport & Character. Mary Jo Kane's class on Women in Sport & Leisure was also very influential in developing my interest in gender issues in sport.

What gets you excited about work?

I'm excited by doing work that makes an impact or a difference. I also love translating my work into public scholarship that is accessible, whether that be writing a blog, designing an info graphic or giving a talk to a public audience that is engaging. Getting students to think critically excites me.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An archaeologist or a meteorologist, and later a sport journalist.