Meet our Research Team

Please join us in welcoming our new Athlete Ally research team!

McKenzie Arbeiter will be graduating this May with her Masters in the School of Kinesiology studying sport psychology. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2017 with her Bachelors degree in Psychology. She is interested in interdisciplinary research combining sport psychology and positive psychology and is focusing her research on increasing well-being in both athletes and coaches. She will be starting her EdD in Counseling and Sport Psychology at the University of Western States in July. She will be going into her 5th year of coaching girls high school and club soccer, and she recently finished her USSF D License through US Soccer. She is excited to start working as a research assistant for Athlete Ally! 

Emma Calow is from Northern Ireland and is a PhD student at Bowling Green State University in the American Culture Studies program. As an interdisciplinary program, her concentration is in ethnicity, gender, and social identity, along with Sport Studies. Her current goal is to never stop learning; she strives to build upon her personal and professional development every day, taking it one step at a time. Her long term goal is to be a part of and contribute into the field of sport research, particularly from a sport for social justice and change perspective. She is tired of seeing and hearing and feeling the discriminatory practices embedded in the hegemonic structures of power and oppression, both in sport and through society at large; so, her goal is to make some noise with like-minded individuals who share the same passion and love of sport so as to make sport (and society) the kind of space it can and should be.

Caitlin Clarke’s work is at the intersection of the Sociology of Health and Science & Technology Studies, focused on the use of exercise interventions as a solution for health issues such as depression and anxiety. I am concerned with how exercise science researchers conceptualize their research participants, the diseases in question, exercise, and the relationship between the disease and exercise. I am interested in the production of knowledge in this area and how it impacts social perceptions of people with mental illness, particularly in relation to the perception of mental illness as an economic burden and the promotion of individualized self-care.

Cassie Comley received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Oregon. As a scholar of lifestyle sport, her work centers on the voices of marginalized communities, examining the ways in which they experience and combat discrimination in sporting spaces. Specifically, she’s interested in Latinx surfers’ strategies for maneuvering traditionally white male-dominated sporting arenas and how they are carving out empowering spaces for themselves in this non-traditional setting. This empirical research has inspired her and two colleagues to start a non-profit for the local Latinx community in Southern California with the intent of providing access as well as the resources to surf. Dr. Comley is passionate about diversifying sport communities and doing work that explores how sporting spaces can be more representative and inclusive for all. In addition to her academic research, she currently works with incarcerated youth for the Orange County Department of Education in Southern California, mentoring and supporting recent high school graduates as they tackle the higher education curriculum. She also works part-time for Orange Coast College as a Sociology and Gender Studies instructor. In her free time, you can either find her in the waves, on a backcountry trail with her pooch or boxing at American Gym.

Bernie Compton (she/her/hers) is a doctoral student in Leadership Studies at Bowling Green State University (OH). She is graduate research assistant for Project IMPACT, where she assists in research and professional development in culturally responsive teaching, field coaching, and universal design learning. Bernie’s research centers on LGBTQ+ inclusion, diversity training, and culturally responsive pedagogy in sport. In addition to her duties in academia, Bernie is the Director of Soccer Operations for BGSU Women’s Soccer and a sport psychology consultant. Within her sport psychology consulting practice, Bernie has worked to integrate LGBTQ+ inclusive trainings for consultants, athletic teams, and athletic administrators to build inclusive practices framed in Cultural Sport Psychology. Previously, Bernie was an instructor of record at BGSU teaching Introduction to Sport Psychology and Mental Skill classes. Bernie holds an M.A. in American Cultural Studies from BGSU (OH) where she developed an LGBTQ+ training program for sport psychology consultants. Additionally, she holds an M.S. in Sport Leadership from Miami University (OH), where she researched gender differences in acceptance of aggression. Bernie graduated from the University of Central Arkansas (AR) with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.

John DeRuff is a rising senior at George Washington University in Washington, DC studying Civil Engineering with a minor in Sustainability. As a member of the Sailing Team at GW, he was elected captain by his teammates for the 2019-2020 season. From San Francisco, CA, he’s sailed throughout California and across the East Coast. Beyond academics and athletics, he is currently leading a project with GW’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders in Yumbe, Uganda to design and build a library to supplement the region’s educational resources. Since publishing his coming out story on Outsports in the fall of 2019, he has been a passionate advocate of LGBTQ+ rights in college athletics. With a diversity of internship experience from Senator Kamala D. Harris, AECOM, and CG/LA Infrastructure, John is incredibly excited to contribute to the Athletic Equality Index and all of Athlete Ally. In his free time, John loves to get outside on his road bike, obsess over coffee, cook, and play “tennis” with his dog, Lucy.

Sonia Johnson is a second year Graduate Student at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with a Sports Psychology concentration. I intend on entering the field of Sports Psychology and working with student-athletes to maximize their performance inside and outside of their sport. My passion is not only to help create happy and healthy well rounded individuals, but to also provide service for those who feel that their voices are not heard thus keeping them from reaching their full potential.

Marnie Kinnaird loves thinking about what makes teams tick, especially how to foster and sustain supportive, enriching cultures on teams. This led her to a career in recruiting, and she is currently on the recruiting team at Plenty, a vertical indoor farm in the Bay Area. Prior to her professional career, Marnie married her passion for team culture with her interest in using sport as a tool for social justice during her graduate work at the University of Minnesota. There, she earned a MS in Sport and Exercise Psychology and worked as a Research Assistant in the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. Marnie conducted her master’s thesis on resilience in female coaches. She also holds a BA in Kinesiology from Occidental College. Marnie is a competitive distance runner and ran cross-country and track & field for both Occidental College and the University of Minnesota. She currently competes for the Impala Racing Team, an all-women’s elite development running team in San Francisco.

Abigail Kurtz is a graduate student aspiring to do practical research for accessibility and equity. Helping people by way of data collection, writing and community engagement is her aim. She holds a B.S. in Information Science from Clarion University and has worked as a librarian and writing instructor since 2013. Currently she is a student in the sociology program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she also works as a graduate research assistant, applying exchange and rational choice theory to create inclusive undergraduate curriculum.


Joanna Line is currently a PhD candidate in American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) with a focus on sport for social justice and sport psychology. Her current research examines leadership development and leadership education for collegiate student-athletes. Line is also an Assistant Coach of Cross Country and Track and Field Coach at BGSU. Previously, she coached at Smith College and the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. While at Smith, Line earned an M.S. in Exercise and Sport Studies. She earned her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, where she was a seven-time NCAA All-American in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track during her tenure. After graduating, she was awarded a Watson Fellowship during which she trained and competed with teams around the world, in countries including Ethiopia, France, Norway, and Singapore, while researching women’s empowerment through running. She continues to train and compete in races from 5k to marathon.


Val Moyer is a PhD candidate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stony Brook University. Her dissertation critically analyzes international track and field policies on hormone levels, particularly as they operate to exclude trans and intersex women. This feminist science studies, and critical surveillance studies project aims to challenge both the targeted, discriminatory effects of these policies, and the physiological arguments underpinning transphobia in women’s sport. Val ran track and field and cross country for the University of Vermont, where she was also engaged in advocacy for greater LGBTQ inclusion in the athletic department. Prior to her PhD program, she worked for multiple non-profits, including The Aspen Institute’s policy program on reproductive rights, Reading Partners, as well as outdoor education and recreation organizations. Val still loves running and has started competing in sprint triathlons after college.

Mateus Nagime is an audiovisual researcher and journalist, who has recently joined the olympic studies and is queer all around and an enthusiastic wanderer, visiting more than 70 countries in every continent. As an audiovisual archivist, I’ve worked for the three main film archives in Brazil, was a member of the Executive Committee of the ABPA – Brazilian Association of Audiovisual Preservation – and I’ve spoke on a number of international congresses. My Master thesis at UFSCar (Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil) entitled “In search of an early queer cinema in Brazil” helped rewrite Brazilian film history with a queer look on seminal works. I ministered several classes on Film History, Brazilian and Queer Cinema and worked at several Film Festivals, as a member of selection committee (such as Mix Brazil LGBT Film Festival) or as the Curator, such as in the New Queer Cinema series, which toured 6 cities in Brazil. I attended Rio 2016 as a spectator and after that I’ve started to practice Judo, Fencing, Swimming and Taekwondo. I also grew more interested on the intersections between audiovisual and sports, and on how audiovisual can help to spread Olympism and the positive values of sport among LGBTQI+. I am an Editor at Surto Olímpico, one of the main olympic websites in Brazil and I’m enrolled on a second Master’s Degree in Olympic Studies, Olympic Education and Management of Olympic Events by the International Olympic Academy in partnership with the University of Peloponnese, in Ancient Olympia, Greece.

An Nguyen (pronouns: she/her) is a Vietnamese settler living on Treaty 6 territory, a Master of Arts student at the University of Alberta, and a part-time research assistant with Athlete Ally. An is interested in gaining experience and education that will equip her with tools and wisdom to tackle social justice issues in her community. Of primary interest to An is utilizing intersectionality theory as a lens to facilitate inclusion and equal representation of disabled populations in spaces related to leisure, recreation, and sport. Her masters work currently focuses on the intersections of neurodivergence and LGBTQ2Siaa+ identities and aims to make movement more accessible to those at this intersection. She believes living a fulfilling and meaningful life is a fundamental right for all humans, and in working with Athlete Ally she dreams of contributing towards a future world that makes space for human flourishing, in sport contexts of sport, more often than is present today.

Francesca Principe has her bachelor’s degree in exercise science from St. Olaf College where she also played collegiate ice hockey. She received her M.S. in kinesiology, emphasis in sport psychology, from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Currently, she works on the learning and development team for a health coaching company and provides mental skills coaching to sport teams in the area. She is passionate about sports, how sports affect individuals, and how sports affect our society as a whole. She is excited to be a part of Athlete Ally to continue to grow awareness in the role we all play in sport inclusion and believes that sports should be a place for all individuals to grow, develop, and make lasting friendships.

Laura Rusk is a junior political science and philosophy undergraduate student at Elmhurst College with an interest in law, public policy, and public service. I am passionate about making the world a more inclusive place for marginalized groups. Determined to leave my mark on the world.




Emma Scheetz is graduating in May 2020 from the Ohio State University with a B.S. in Sport Industry and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. During her undergraduate career, her passion for improving equality in sport lead her to work with Major League Girls as their marketing and social media intern. Emma was also involved in the student activism group Advocates for Women of the World as a part of the Equitable Education Committee, where she worked to improve the educational environments of women around the globe through planning and executing community events focused on fundraising and education. In the future, she aims to attend graduate school to continue her studies regarding gender and sexuality in sporting contexts. Currently, she resides in Columbus, OH where she plays recreational ice hockey and enjoy a healthy dose of crafting in her spare time.

Marisa Schlenker is currently finishing her masters in political science and public administration at Konstanz University, where in addition to studying conflict management and peace building, she has researched the drivers of CSR in professional football. She has supported research on sustainable practices within the football industry with the Responsiball project and more recently the Positive Sport Summit. In 2018, she was the lead researcher and evaluator with the Global Goals World Cup EU Erasmus + project which combined social activism, the sustainable development goals, football and female empowerment. She earned a masters in sport for conflict resolution and sustainable development from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya ( UOC) and a bachelors in political science and Spanish literature and language from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is a member of Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI) and the football4climate working group.

Ryan Socolow is a graduate of Endicott College with a B.A. in Sociology and Gender Studies. He is completing an M.S. degree at Springfield College focusing on Sport and Exercise Psychology with a research emphasis on transgender athletes. Ryan played lacrosse at Endicott College, winning 4 Conference Championships and anchoring the team to the program’s first NCAA tournament win. He founded the college’s GSA and was president for 4 years while also working as a certified writing tutor. Ryan has coached lacrosse at the high school and collegiate levels while presenting across the US and internationally on LGBTQ+ athletes and inclusion efforts. He has seen every episode of The Simpsons and is powered by naps and lean proteins.

Nancy Tran graduated from Georgia State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. Throughout her undergraduate career, she was an active learner and leader in her community and gained over two years of experience assisting and leading research projects. Currently, she is a Human Resources Generalist at Marriott International and is actively seeking opportunities in Research and related areas to further my knowledge in Research and its methodologies to help improve our world.


Jenna Weiner is a Research Assistant at Athlete Ally. She graduated with an M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno after receiving her B.A. in Atmospheric Science from UC Berkeley. Her research and work focuses on LGBTQ inclusion in sports, specifically transgender and non-binary inclusion policies. Jenna also advocates for LGBTQ inclusion as a speaker, trainer, and an organizer. She has given a TEDx talk on reimagining gender inclusivity in sports, co-facilitated trainings on LGBTQ inclusion, and helped organize support groups for transgender and non-binary students. Outside of work, Jenna plays ultimate frisbee and has written about her experiences as a transgender ultimate player. In ultimate, she has helped lead significant policy change efforts for transgender and non-binary inclusion, and has worked as a reporter and commentator.

Elizabeth West, graduating class of 2020 from Roger Williams University with an Anthropology and Sociology major and Biology and Criminal Justice minors. My senior thesis details the changes in anthropological ethnography from the 1990s until 2019 on LGBT+ topics. I am so excited to be afforded the chance to work for something near and dear to my heart, as a queer-identifying previous captain of a fencing team.



Sam Winemiller is a scholar of sport studies with a social justice orientation. His work is founded broadly in the feminist cultural studies tradition, with a specialization in qualitative methodologies. The goals of Sam’s research are to explore inequities in the practice and mediatization of sport and recreation, and to explore how people might treat each other with more consideration and kindness in these spaces. He received a Ph.D. in Kinesiology and Sport Studies from the University of Tennesee in 2020, a master’s degree in Sport Management from the University of Florida in 2017, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Central Florida in 2014. He taught undergraduate Sport Management courses for three years in UT’s Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies as a Graduate Teaching Associate. Sam’s personal involvement in recreation and sports includes outdoor pursuits such as snowboarding and hiking. While originally from Nokomis, Flordia, Sam spent six years working in various capacities at Lutheridge Camp and Conference Center in Arden, North Carolina, including as supervisor of Lutheridge’s Outdoor Adventure Program.