University of Minnesota

Tucker Center Gender Equity Summer Internship Program

Mentoring and providing a quality research experience for students is an integral part of the Tucker Center’s mission. During the internship, students work collaboratively on ongoing gender equity-related projects within a research team which may include a faculty person, graduate students and possibly undergraduates. Interns are exposed to many facets of the research experience including literature review, data collection and entry, data analysis, and synthesizing and reporting results using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Our internship is appropriate for students who plan to (and are serious about) pursuing graduate school. Students will be afforded a unique experience in a "first of its kind" research center. Internships typically run June through early August and can range from 10-30 hours per week, depending on the goals of the student. Through a generous gift of the Live to Give Foundation the summer internship program was established in 2013 to honor the 20th anniversary of the Tucker Center.

The deadline for application submission for the Tucker Center Gender Equity Summer Internship is March 15 of the internship year. Interviews begin ~April 1, and decisions will be made by ~April 15.

Interested students should send a resume/CV, unofficial transcript, and cover letter to:

Dr. Nicole LaVoi, director
Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport
1900 University Ave SE - Cooke 203,
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Quotes from former interns     Where Are They Now


2019 Summer Interns

image of Courtney Boucher Courtney Boucher is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, studying Sport Sociology. She is a research assistant in the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport and a graduate assistant in the UMN Department of Kinesiology. Holding an M.S. in Kinesology from the University of Minnesota, Boucher's research centers around women in the occupational coaching landscape and the hiring practices of athletic directors. Boucher has been an assistant hockey coach at her alma mater, Gustavus Adolphus College. A 2015 graduate of Gustavus, she studied chemistry and political science. Boucher currently works closely with the Gopher Women's Hockey team.

image of CeCe Kaufmann CeCe Kaufmann is from Minneapolis, Minnesota and will graduate high school from South High School in the spring of 2020. She is a very involved runner and teammate on both her high school’s cross country and track teams. Since the age of five, she has been involved in various sports including tennis, softball, basketball, soccer, baseball, and nordic skiing. After graduating high school, she hopes to study something related to her interests of exercise science and psychology, while continuing her study of Spanish. Kaufmann is excited to be involved in work that empowers women, and hopes that it inspires other young women like her to become involved in athletics. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, being with friends and family, and reading—especially if it’s a Harry Potter book.

image of Natalie Schad Natalie Schad will be a senior in the fall of 2019 at Smith College, where she is studying environmental science and policy with a minor in exercise and sports studies. At Smith, she is a member of the varsity lacrosse team and on the executive board for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She is also the media chair of the Sports Committee for Inclusion and Diversity, a student-led group that works to spark conversations surrounding diversity and provide a sense of inclusivity for all in Smith's Athletic Department, its programs, and its teams. Schad developed a passion for gender equity in sport through classes that explored the power of sport and its influence on society. She hopes to combine her interests in environmental science and sports sociology into a career in the future. In her spare time, Schad enjoys reading, biking, and playing with her dog.

image of Sarah Silbert Sarah Silbert received a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics with minors in Computer Science and Japanese from Macalester College in the spring of 2017. After graduating, Silbert served one year with City of Lakes AmeriCorps at Northeast Middle School in Minneapolis teaching English language to 6th grade students. She recently returned from a year abroad in Dublin, Ireland where she taught adult English language classes and worked with the Federation of Irish Sport. Silbert is excited to be a part of the Tucker Team and looks forward to utilizing her experiences at the Tucker Center when she returns to Dublin to pursue an MSc in Comparative Social Change at a program run jointly by University College Dublin and Trinity College. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball and coaching track and field.

2018 Summer Interns

image of Sarah Cummings Sarah Cummings will be a senior in the fall of 2018 at Ithaca College, where she is studying Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in sports studies. After this upcoming school year Sarah intends to go into the field of sports marketing, with hopes to later further her education in sports sociology or law. Sarah grew up with a passion for sports, playing soccer, basketball, and softball. While her competitive career has ended she still enjoys intramural sports and playing pick-up basketball while at school. Sarah has been inspired by the research done at the Tucker Center and looks forward to being a part of such an innovative group.

image of Hannah Silva-Breen Hannah Silva-Breen received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Exercise Physiology from Gustavus Adolphus College in the spring of 2018. Currently, she coaches girls basketball for the Minnesota Suns and is a certified group fitness instructor. In the future, Hannah plans on going back to school to continue studying and researching psychology and sport. Since helping Dr. LaVoi develop and complete the Head coaches of women’s collegiate teams: A comprehensive report on NCAA Division-III institutions, 2017-18 report card the previous year, Hannah is excited to be back at the Tucker Center. She is looking forward to another summer assisting in one-of-a-kind research on sport and gender equity!.

2017 Summer Interns

image of Melissa Koop Melissa Koop is from Roseville, MN and received her undergraduate degree in the spring of 2016 from the College of Saint Benedict. She graduated with a major in mathematics and a minor in exercise science and sports studies. During her time at St. Ben’s she played for the Blazer volleyball team, coached and refereed Junior Olympic volleyball, participated in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, worked as the manager of the Campus Recreation, and interned as a Junior Olympic Volleyball Tournament assistant coordinator. With her varied involvement in sports and her academic background in exercise science and sports studies, she was encouraged to work for the Tucker Center to help better the experience of the next generation of athletes. Melissa will be pursuing her Master’s Degree in Sports Law and Business at Arizona State University in the fall of 2017, and is eager and grateful to work with and learn from the inspiring scholars at the Tucker Center.

image of Hannah Silva-Breen Hannah Silva-Breen will be a senior in the fall of 2017 at Gustavus Adolphus College, where she is studying psychology and exercise physiology. Hannah will also be applying to graduate schools in the fall, hoping to enroll in a clinical or counseling psychology doctoral program. Although Hannah enjoys many sports, basketball has been her favorite, exemplified through her competitive play into her first year at Gustavus. Since retiring from playing competitively, Hannah is now an assistant coach for a girls’ AAU basketball team which has sparked her further interest in gender equity and sport. Hannah is extremely excited to be apart of an elite team working in the Tucker Center and believes this experience will help her pursue a career in sports psychology. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys knitting and napping with her cat, Shirley.

2016 Summer Interns

image of Caroline Heffernan Caroline Heffernan is the 2016 Borton Summer Fellow and a doctoral student in sport management at the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. Caroline graduated with a degree in psychology from Bryn Mawr College, where she played field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. After graduation, she served as Bryn Mawr's Assistant Field Hockey Coach and attended Temple University, where she earned a Master's Degree in Sport & Recreation Management. Her dissertation will focus on how men and women can work as allies within sport organizations to create more opportunities for women in leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, cooking and exploring with her friends.

image of Matea Wasend Matea Wasend is the 2016 Tucker Center Summer Gender Equity Intern. She studied English and Media Studies at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Since graduating in 2012, she has held a variety of positions in communications and nonprofit development in addition to coaching with Saint Paul Blackhawks Soccer Club. Matea’s passion for sport and working with young female athletes led her to the Tucker Center’s summer internship; she will also begin pursuing a master’s in Sport Sociology under Tucker Center Co-Director Dr. Nicole LaVoi in the fall. Matea is excited to be involved in work that empowers and inspires female coaches and their young athletes. In her time away from work she loves to play soccer, run and hike—all preferably in the company of her dog.

2015 Summer Interns

Maddie Kornfeld will be a senior this fall at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she is studying psychology and American studies. As a long-time soccer player and member of the women's soccer team at Macalester, Maddie is passionate about women's empowerment through sport and physical activity. Upon learning about the Tucker Center through a college course, Maddie said "I was immediately drawn to the Tucker Center not just for the focus on gender equity, but for the dynamic ways in which the research is made accessible to the community." She is thrilled to be part of the team at the Tucker Center and engage with research on gender equity issues. This summer, Maddie worked on verifying, analyzing and reporting data for the 2014-15 Women College Coaching Report Card, as well as helped edit reference lists for Dr. LaVoi's forthcoming book, Women in Sport Coaching. After finishing her senior year, Maddie hopes to study issues concerning social structures that influence social relationships across gender, race, (dis)ability, and sexuality. In addition to playing soccer, she enjoys reading, attempting to cook, and hiking and running around her home state of Colorado.

Anna Posbergh is from Stillwater, MN and is entering her senior year at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a major in English, and minors in Mathematics and Coaching. Though three areas are seemingly unrelated, the range reflects the breadth of interests. After Anna completes her undergraduate career at the University of Minnesota, she intends to either teach English abroad for a year, or enter into a graduate program for English. Aside from her scholastic studies, coaching is a huge passion of Anna's, particularly at the high school level with both track and strength & conditioning.
   This passion served as the foundation for Anna's interest in the Tucker Center, as much of the research done in the Tucker Center directly affects her coaching career and life, as well as her coaching colleagues. Anna first heard about the Tucker Center through the center's co-director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi through her Sport in a Diverse Society class. In response to having the opportunity of working with the Tucker team, she says, "The phenomenal work and research that comes out of the Tucker Center is a testament to the enthusiasm and professionalism of everyone involved." Tis summer, Anna iw working to code and analyze Dr. LaVoi's Division III Women in College Coaching Report Card for the 2014-15 academic year, and will be creating a national database of Division III athletic directors.
   Anna hopes that her work at the Tucker Center will allow her to empower other women coaches, raise awareness of the gender concerns and issues that reside in the world of sport, and overall, become a better and more knowledgeable advocate for equality and women's rights.

2014 Summer Interns

Elizabeth Labedz Elizabeth Labedz is a long-time admirer of the Tucker Center, and is thrilled to be contributing to the program and research agenda this summer! She became passionate about sports as a way to empower girls—especially when it comes to body image, leadership, and life skills—after experiencing their powerful impact on her own childhood. Elizabeth earned her bachelor's degree in Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois in 2007, but was frustrated by how little her academic studies translated and applied to making real change for girls and women. The applicability of the Tucker Center's research in directly impacting girls and women in sport is one of many reasons she admires the TC! As a coach, Elizabeth has used research from Tucker Center conferences and symposiums to improve her girls' sports after-school program, to make empowering posters of female athletes, and to build curriculum for her up-and-coming girls' sports camp, "GRRRL Camp." GRRRL Camp is a non-profit that pairs sports with workshops about health, leadership, body image, and social justice to solidify the important lessons that can be learned from playing sports.

During the 2013-14 school year Elizabeth served as a Program Coordinator for Playworks, which is a national non-profit that believes organized play can enhance team building, increase learning capacity, and teach conflict resolution skills. For the fall of 2014, Elizabeth is excited to move on to working at Jefferson Elementary as the support person for students who are homeless or highly mobile. She is also excited to continue coaching and building her girls' sports after-school program. To stay active, she is currently a member of a women's footy (Australian football) team while working towards her M.Ed. in Applied Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport management at the University of Minnesota.

This summer, Elizabeth worked on the following:

  • Learned how to code and analyze data for the continuation of Dr. LaVoi's report card project on female coaches
  • Worked on multiple literature reviews about issues that affect female coaches
  • Helped find additional readings for Dr. LaVoi's "Nine for IX" discussion guides project
  • Created and maintained a database of television stations and contacts with Dr. Kane to hopefully get the TC's "Media Coverage and Female Athletes" video aired across the country

Lauren Slagel The Tucker Center welcomes Lauren Slagel as a summer 2014 intern. Lauren graduated in May from St. Olaf College as a Biology and Exercise Science double major and competed on the St. Olaf Collegiate Triathlon team where she served as a co-captain. Upon hearing about the Tucker Center, Lauren says "I was ecstatic. The Tucker Center offers such tremendous opportunities. It is a wonderful place doing such amazing research in support of girls and women in sport. It is a great opportunity for me." Lauren has a passion for health and fitness that blossomed from her own positive experiences with sport and physical activity.

Lauren has volunteered with the Girls on the Run program, led fitness classes for Somali and Hispanic women, and created an empowerment program for St. Olaf students pairing discussion, education, and directed workouts in her role as a Peer Educator for the St. Olaf Wellness Center. During the summer of 2013 Lauren completed an internship at the Mayo Clinic's Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center and brings those experiences to the TC. In her personal life, Lauren enjoys staying active by biking, swimming, and running with friends.

Lauren looks forward to being part of the Tucker Center team. She hopes to help make a difference in the landscape of sports for girls and women. She will continue her studies in a Master of Public Health program at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2014.

This summer, Lauren worked on the following:

  • Worked with Affiliated Scholar Dr. Chelsey Thul coding and inputting data for the project, "Creating Culturally Sensitive Apparel for North African Adolescent Girls"
  • Assisted Dr. LaVoi with her creation of discussion guides for the espnW "Nine for IX" film series
  • Created posters for Dr. Kane to promote and boost the Tucker Center to students and visitors of Cooke Hall where the TC is housed
  • Helped Dr. Kane with the reference list for her upcoming manuscript on the impact of her seminal continuum article, "Resistance/transformation of the oppositional binary: exposing sport as a continuum," published in 1995

2013 Summer Interns

Elora Koepcke

The Tucker Center welcomes Elora Koepcke as a summer 2013 intern. Elora recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin—Madison with degrees in psychology and biology. She is now in pursuit of a master's degree from the University of Minnesota's School of Kinesiology. Currently, she works as an associate consultant for a private organizational psychologist in the Twin Cities, volunteers at the Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, and recently finished up her first season as an assistant coach for the Minneapolis Alpine Ski Team. Additionally, she looks forward to coaching girls' soccer this summer for Keliix Intra Soccer Club.

Elora says she "has always been a female dedicated to sport, be it soccer, gymnastics, skiing, or road biking." She adds that after taking on the coach's perspective, she is now even more "motivated to continue my education toward understanding, and promoting active and healthy lifestyles in youth." Regarding her goals, Elora says, "I would like to explore how sport is capable of founding such a positive and healthy attitude in an individual's life, and determine how that experience, and physical activity in general, can successfully be integrated into the lives of all young people and adults. The ingenuity of the Tucker Center's focus on the female in sport, and the varying perspectives of research would be an exciting way to assimilate knowledge that points toward defining this goal."

With her passion and enthusiasm for sport and people, we are happy to bring Elora to the Tucker Center to contribute to the breadth of research being implemented.

Emma Leyden

The Tucker Center welcomes Emma Leyden back as a summer 2013 intern. Emma just finished her junior year as a psychology major at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota. When she found out about the Tucker Center, Emma says, " I felt an instant click with the institution's mission, mainly because for my whole life I have identified as a female athlete, and I have been constantly asking questions about what that means in today's world." Emma has always been passionate about sports. She is a member and co-captain of the Macalester women's basketball team, and has been coaching basketball to 8th-11th grade girls. This year, Emma also helped create a program at her school for young girls in the local community to have the opportunity to watch women's sports while paired up with female athlete mentors in college.

Emma is excited to build on the experience she had last summer as a Tucker Center intern. She hopes to continue to learn more about how she can make a difference in gender equity in sports, and she is excited to be a part of groundbreaking research. She is eager to further immerse herself in an environment that seeks ways to get women and girls more actively involved in sports and ultimately level the playing field.

Brenda Senger

The Tucker Center welcomes Brenda Senger as a summer 2013 intern. Brenda is currently an undergraduate in the School of Kinesiology at the U of MN with a minor in neuroscience. Professionally, she holds a position as a teaching assistant in a multicultural literature class and another as a communications assistant in Kinesiology's eLearning + Digital Strategies program. In addition, Brenda is the president of the Undergraduate Student Board in the College of Education and Human Development. When she complete her undergraduate career in 2014 she hopes to move on to graduate school in the field of kinesiology.

Brenda says she is "passionate about the opportunity to be part of the Tucker Center team" and to put to work her abilities with media presentation, organizational planning, conflict resolution and team communications. Inspired by Tucker Center co-director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi's "Sport in a Diverse Society" class to reflect more on woman's role in sport, Brenda is eager to broaden her skillset with the Tucker Center this summer collaborating on research on girls and women in sport toward implementing opportunities for women in athletics in general.

2012 Summer Interns

Emma Leyden

The Tucker Center welcomes Emma Leyden back as a summer 2013 intern. Emma just finished her junior year as a psychology major at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota. When she found out about the Tucker Center, Emma says, " I felt an instant click with the institution's mission, mainly because for my whole life I have identified as a female athlete, and I have been constantly asking questions about what that means in today's world." Emma has always been passionate about sports. She is a member and co-captain of the Macalester women's basketball team, and has been coaching basketball to 8th-11th grade girls. This year, Emma also helped create a program at her school for young girls in the local community to have the opportunity to watch women's sports while paired up with female athlete mentors in college.

Emma is excited to build on the experience she had last summer as a Tucker Center intern. She hopes to continue to learn more about how she can make a difference in gender equity in sports, and she is excited to be a part of groundbreaking research. She is eager to further immerse herself in an environment that seeks ways to get women and girls more actively involved in sports and ultimately level the playing field.

Alyssa Ruhland

The Tucker Center welcomes Alyssa Ruhland as a summer 2012 intern. This fall Alyssa will be a senior majoring in psychology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Alyssa grew up in Minneapolis and throughout her life has always been active in sports. Currently, she is a senior captain for the women's ice hockey team at Holy Cross.

Through interning at the Tucker Center, Alyssa desires to gain insight and understanding into the many benefits—and also issues—associated with girls and women in sport. She also wants to learn structured research methods and understand their practical implications. Her plan is to gain experience in this field to better prepare her for future graduate studies in clinical psychology.

2011 Summer Interns



2010 Summer Interns

Salma Hussein

Salma Hussein, majored in Public Health and Youth & Leadership Studies, and was also a member of the U of M's McNair Scholars cohort. The McNair program is designed to provide minority, disabled, or low-income undergraduate students with the research skills necessary to gain admission to—and successfully complete—their graduate study. Hussein was mentored by TC co-director Dr. Nicole LaVoi and Ph.D. student Chelsey Thul as part of Thul's award-winning research project, "Program Evaluation and Interests of Somali Adolescent Girls and Women." Hussein was a key participant in the overall project and was actively engaged in her own research as well. A member of the Somali community in Minneapolis, she provided valuable cultural insights for LaVoi and Thul. Thul's research project on females in the Somali community is part of an ongoing line of research being conducted by Tucker Center scholars. It examines barriers, antecedents, and correlates of physical activity among Somali females in the Twin Cities Metro Area. In her subproject, Hussein evaluated an all-female basketball program in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood supported by the Confederation of Somalis in Minnesota. Her findings were used to generate culturally relevant physical activity opportunities for Somali girls and women, and to increase the physical activity behaviors and participation rates of this underserved population. In 2010 Hussein planned to pursue a graduate degree in public health, social work or a related field so that she can "bring the fruits of science to the poorest communities to help them move from dependency to independency through education."

2009 Summer Interns

Kelli Blankenship Kinesiology undergraduate, women's hockey team member, and McNair Scholar, Kelli Blankenship completed her research project, "Not All Sport Parents Are 'Out of Control': The Happy Side of Youth Sport," while working as a summer intern in the Tucker Center.

Alicia Johnson, undergraduate at Minnesota State University-Mankato and Tucker Center summer intern, helped research assistant Austin Stair Calhoun and Tucker Center co-director Nicole M. LaVoi expand their research project, "Examining Online Intercollegiate Head Coaches' Biographies: Reproducing or Challenging Heteronormativity and Heterosexism?" The initial study, which included only Big 10 coaches, was expanded to include a nationwide sample of Division I head coaches. Results from the initial study will be featured in the fall newsletter of It Takes A Team—an educational program sponsored by the Women's Sports Foundation and designed to end homophobia in sport.

2008 Summer Interns

Sarah Hammon

I am a senior psychology major with a topical minor in sports psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. I have been competing in and watching a variety of sports my entire life. This past summer I interned at the St. Paul Children's Hospital Exercise Medicine Clinic. After completing my internship, I realized my interest is in the impact of sport and exercise on children's overall health and well-being. I was introduced to the Tucker Center through Chelsea Rodd, and ever since I have been intrigued by the research this great institution has produced. At the moment, I am trying to get as much exposure to the literature related to youth and sports psychology as possible, and I believe the Tucker Center is the perfect place to start. As an intern, I am looking forward to learning first-hand about the many areas of research related to girls and boys in youth sports. I am hoping that the Tucker Center will help me narrow down my research interests for graduate school because at the moment they seem nearly endless.

Jill Haom

I am a junior majoring in kinesiology, exercise science. I am looking to attend graduate school, where I am undecided, but I am interested in sport sociology. I hope to utilize my education to benefit my family as well as my Hocak people; without them I would not have the opportunities in higher education that lie before me.

I am a mother and a wife; I have a two wonderful children, one 18-month-old son named Justice and one step-son, who is eight, named Ty-Anthony. I have been married for four years, and am honored to share my companionship with such a great person and friend.

I currently am a Program Assistant at the University of Minnesota in the Group Fitness Department. I am participating in TRIO program, McNair Scholars and will have the opportunity to work in the Tucker Center.

My educational journey continues to challenge me in many ways that will be beneficial to my interests and functionality. I want to continue to show my appreciation for knowledge by keeping an open mind and partaking in every opportunity to learn and grow so I can assist the next generation. I believe that the education of next generation is the key to eliminating ignorance and help in evolving society. 

Terrence A. Jordan II

Terrence A. Jordan II is an undergraduate student in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. As a student he has devoted himself to effecting positive change in persons of all ages. His drive is not only to become a researcher and scholar in the area of sport and exercise psychology, but to be effective in applying the tools and strategies he studies to help people. Coaching girls basketball has drawn him into the desire to study girls and women in sport. Currently, his research interests are the barriers to participation in women's sports, coaching education, and deviance in the African American male athlete. As a part of the Tucker Research Team, Terrence plans to make lucid and insightful contributions by being engaged in research practices. During his apprenticeship, Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi will act as a mentor as he plans to gain a better understanding of research methods and conundrums within the field.

Upon receiving a B.S. in Kinesiology, Jordan plans to further his education by attending graduate school and studying in the area of sport psychology. During his spare time he loves playing basketball, traveling, reading, and drawing.

Erin Morris

I am currently finishing my junior year at Whitman College as a sociology major and sports studies minor. Sports have always been a big part of my life, leading to my interest in the sociology of sport. When I'm not studying I enjoy both playing and coaching hockey as well as playing several intramural sports and working as an electrician and occasionally as a lighting designer for Whitman's theatre program. I am excited to delve deeper into sports studies this summer with my internship at that Tucker Center for which I will be receiving the Whitman Internship Fund, a grant which is given to select students who are pursuing internships that further their educational or career goals.