Today we’re merging two of our classic features, GladiatHer® Wives and GladiatHer® Crush Wednesday, to introduce you to one outstanding woman. She’s a dedicated wife and mother, an entrepreneur and philanthropist and can make a party turn 0 to 100, real quick. To top that all off, she’s a proud graduate of the Real HU. Meet New Jersey’s own, Samantha Romantini Bethea aka DJ Spinvixen…
It’s not everyday that you meet women who change your life. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to do just that. Sydney Satchell has gone from being a Division-I athlete to an amputee and an inspiration for so many in a relatively short amount of time. She has found the strength, courage and wisdom to turn her adversity into life lessons for so many. I’m honored to share this GladiatHer® Grads story with you.Continue reading
If you ever watched USA’s Necessary Roughness, a show thatclaimed to depict the life a sports and entertainment psychologist, and thoughtyou had a good idea of what a sports psychologists is, I’m sorry to tell you,but you’re wrong. Contrary to the show,
sports psychology is filled with well-rounded, hardworking, dedicated
professionals who are committed to their clients and the field of sports
psychology. It’s been a field that’s
interested me for some time, so when I found out that an old college friend of
mine was working in the field I HAD to get an interview with her to get a
realistic look into the practice of sports psychology. Hopefully we can encourage more dedicated,
bright individuals to become involved in a relatively new and growing field.
GladiatHers, meet Ashley Coleman. Ms. Coleman is an adjunct professor at a
private university where she teaches an introductory psychopathology course to
first-year graduate students. What
occupies most of her time is her position as an advanced doctoral student in
Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University.
Ms. Coleman is working toward completing her dissertation on her way to
becoming a clinical psychologist who focuses on sports psychology. Her research areas of interest include
student-athletes, college students, African-American women, resilience and
religion/spirituality. Let’s see what
she has to say.
1. Wow, your work
and studies sound very interesting and demanding. Before we get into that a bit more, can you
explain to our readers how you become a sports psychologist?
To become a
clinical psychologist, one needs to obtain a Bachelor degree, Master of Arts in
Psychology or a related field, and a doctorate…in Clinical Psychology. Then
after accumulating 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience through a
full-time internship and post-doctoral fellowship, one sits for two licensing
exams. The first exam tests general knowledge of psychology and the other exam
tests knowledge of the legal and ethical standards of practice for the state
where the person would like to practice psychology.
psychologist[s]…can provide individual, couples, or group therapy. [They]…can [also] teach, conduct assessment[s],
and provide outreach to the community or consultation to groups or individuals.
psychologist…has been known as someone who helps an athlete improve performance
through development of skills (e.g. goal setting, guided imagery, and anxiety
management). [They] also address concerns that impact the athlete’s well-being and
provide consultation to coaches, teams, and other athletic professionals.
2. Ok, so the
doctorate is in Clinical Psychology and then you specialize in sports
psychology. Gotcha. How did you get into the field? And
what prepared you most for the field?
I have always been that person who people could confide in- and
trust that their business would not be revealed at a later date. There is
something so humbling about being able to witness someone “tell their story”
and feel relief after. I became interested
in psychology as a discipline after one of my favorite basketball players,
Chamique Holdsclaw, suddenly retired from the WNBA due to “personal issues”
which were later revealed to be related to depression.
Two of the things that prepared me the most for the field were
support and guidance…God has placed the right people in my life to help me grow
personally and professionally, which has allowed me to succeed and persevere. One
of my biggest sources of support has been family. My parents supported my
interest in psychology by taking me to career fairs and introducing me to
mental health professionals that mentored me.
Once I became a graduate student, I was blessed to receive
encouragement and support from mentors and supervisors specifically regarding
my interest in sport psychology. I credit my advisor, Dr. Shelly Harrell, for approving
my sport-centered dissertation topic and helping me to brainstorm opportunities
for me to acquire sport psychology related experience. I’d also like to
personally acknowledge USC Chief Sport Psychologist, Dr. Robin Scholefield, for
giving me one of my first opportunities to work with student-athletes at USC.
3. It definitely
sounds like you are a perfect fit! What
school(s) did you attend and what was your first internship in the field?
In May 2006, I
received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Howard University
(BISON-You Know)! In May 2009, I received my Master of Arts degree in Clinical
Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine
University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. I decided to remain
at Pepperdine for my pursuit of a Doctor of Psychology (Psy D.), which is an
applied psychology degree.
In 2014, I
completed a year-long full-time pre-doctoral internship at UCLA Counseling and
Psychological Services. Under the supervision of Dr. Nicole Green, I provided
individual…and group therapy to college students (including student-athletes)
and conducted psychological assessments for students with academic and personal
difficulties. Additionally, I provided consultation to coaches, worked
individually with student-athletes, and presented to several teams on various
topics including sexual assault prevention, academic integrity, and coping with
4. It seems like
there are a number of women in your field, why is it important for women to be involved
in sports psychology?
Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, women’s and girls’ participation
in athletics has skyrocketed. Research shows that women athletes face unique
stressors that warrant specific interventions. It’s essential for people to
feel comfortable when seeking help and frankly sometimes women athletes feel
more comfortable discussing their concerns with a female therapist.
5. Sports is a diverse
profession, why is it important for people of color to engage in your line of
Many people of color have a healthy suspicion or mistrust of the
field of psychology given the discipline’s controversial history. The mistrust paired
with the fear of being labeled “crazy” or “inferior” has largely contributed to
the barriers of people of color seeking help from a mental health professional.
I’ve found that some of that stigma can be reduced when clients have the
opportunity to work with a therapist that not only understands his/her cultural
worldview but also shares membership in some of the client’s cultural groups.
6. What are some
of the issues that you see plague female athletes today?
[Some of the biggest issues are finding a] work/life balance;
managing multiple roles and relationships; [planning a career/preparing for
retirement or transition]; and eating disorders/body image concerns.
7. What are some
current projects that you’re working on?
priority and on-going labor of love, blood, sweat and tears, is my
co-authored a chapter with my advisor, Dr. Shelly Harrell and a fellow
student, Tyonna P. Adams, entitled “Toward
a Positive Womanist Psychospirituality: Strengths, Gifts, and the Optimal
Well-Being of Women of African Descent.” The chapter is available in Thema
Bryant-Davis, Asuncion Miteria Austria, Debra M. Kawahara, and Diane J. Willis’
book: Religion and Spirtuality for Diverse Women: Foundations of Strength and
Resilience. It’s available on Amazon.
published! Awesome. Who are some of your
Dr. Shelly Harrell and Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis (psychologists and
professors at Pepperdine University); Dr. Tracy Shaw (counseling psychologist/sport
psychologist); Dr. Pamela Ashe (clinical psychologist); Tina Sloan Green
(co-founder of Black Women in Sport Federation); and since I’ve become an
educator; I can say my mother, Sherry Coleman; she is the best educator that I
9. What advice
would you give to young girls who are interested in your line of work?
Find a mentor! It’s never too early to reach out to people who
you admire. You never know… that person
could possibly connect you with the right people who will play an integral part
10. Ok, so the
question we ask every interviewee, what’s your definition of a GladiatHer?
To me, a GladiatHer is a woman who pursues her goals
persistently without being deterred by barriers imposed by others.
Thank you so very much for giving GladiatHers.com an interview,
Ashley! I sincerely appreciate it. Make sure you keep up with Ashley via her Facebook page!! The interview that I provided is a bit
edited, so if you’d like to read the full interview, click here.
It’s Monday October 28, 2013, and as I sit at my desk, one thing comes to mind—I survived another Howard University Homecoming (HUHC). Trust me, as an alumnus I can tell you that that’s a feat worth celebrating. HUHC is a time to celebrate an institution that has birthed and continues to birth African-American political activists, doctors, lawyers, teachers, theologians, and the list goes on and on. It is a time to celebrate old friendships, milestones and accomplishments. But what really makes HUHC unique from all of the other Homecoming celebrations across the country is the way we celebrate. From the alumni events, to the concerts, to the tailgate, and of course the parties, we celebrate our alma mater in the most epic way possible. People who’ve never spent one day in a Howard classroom look forward to and attend the festivities, and they never leave disappointed.
In case you weren’t aware, Howard University is a historically black university founded in 1867 in Washington, DC. With a motto of “Truth and Service” Howard is world renowned for its academic excellence and dedication to serving the African diaspora and local community. In addition to offering 29 undergraduate degrees in 64 majors, Howard has graduate schools of business, pharmacy, social work, medicine, law, dentistry and divinity. Howard is the home of Fulbright and Rhodes scholars and a host of well accomplished alumni like, the Hon. Edward Brooke, Toni Morrison, the Hon. Elijah Cummings, and Debbie Allen, just to name a few. But in addition to its history of academic excellence, Howard has a history of athletic excellence. That’s right, Howard produces leaders with brains and brawn. And as a former Howard athlete I decided to end my HUHC celebrations by sharing a short list of some of Howard’s most accomplished athletes. Trust me, there are many more, but in the interest of brevity, I decided to give just a taste of some outstanding Bison. These individuals have not only excelled in their respective sports, but they have had and continue to have an impact on the global community outside of athletics. Without further ado, meet some of our Bison:
Wycliffe Nathaniel “Bubba” Morton was native of Washington, D.C., who, after a stint in the Coast Guard, attended Howard University from 1954 to 1957, where he earned two varsity letters each in baseball and football. In 1955 Morton became the first black player signed by the Detroit Tigers (though others beat him to the major leagues). In 1972, after an extensive professional career, Morton was hired by athletics director Joe Kearney as head coach of the baseball program at the University of Washington from 1972 to 1976 becoming UW’s first black head coach in any sport.
Jay Walker is an American politician who represents district 26 in the Maryland House of Delegates. He graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in political science. “SkyWalker,” as he was called at Howard, also holds the single-game record of 38 for most pass completions and was selected to the All-MEAC teams of 1992 and 1993. As the quarterback, Walker led the Howard Bison to an undefeated regular season in 1993. Walker was drafted into the NFL in 1994 by the New England Patriots and spent time with the Minnesota Vikings. In 2005, Walker was voted into the Howard’s Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition to his political duties, he is CEO and President of Walker Financial Services, and an analyst for ESPNU Walker.
Rhadi Ferguson is mixed martial arts trainer, strength and conditioning coach, motivational speaker, and black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Ferguson, a four-time national judo champion, competed in judo at the 2004 Summer Olympics in the men’s heavyweight division and was an alternate in the 2000 Summer Olympics. From 1992 to 1997 Ferguson attended Howard University in Washington, DC on a football scholarship and also was one of only a few students in the history of the school to play 3 sports (Football, Wrestling, and Track). Ferguson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and later received his Master of Arts in Teaching degree with a 4.0 GPA from Howard.
Shaka Hislop is a former football (soccer) goalkeeper who played in the top division in England as a member of the Newcastle United team which finished second in the Premier League. Hislop attended Howard and led the Bison to the NCAA Finals as a freshman starter. He graduated with honors with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 2005, Hislop was named the inaugural winner of the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Special Merit Award for his services to football. He has been a pioneer of football’s ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ Campaign and was inducted into Howard’s Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2006, Hislop played a pivotal role in Trinidad & Tobago’s memorable World Cup appearance. He now works for ESPN and regularly provides commentary on Eredivisie, Serie A, and Mexican Liga MX matches.
David Oliver world class is 110m and 60m hurdler. In college as a Bison, Oliver won four consecutive outdoor MEAC 110m hurdles titles, from 2001–2004 and a MEAC indoor champion in the 55m hurdles. He graduated from Howard University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. Since Howard, his career has only progressed. Oliver won bronze medals in the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships. This past August he won gold in the 110m hurdles at the IAAF championship in Moscow. Oliver is also the American record holder in the 110 m hurdles and a four-time U.S. Champion. With a personal best of 12.89 seconds in the 110 m hurdles, Oliver is fourth on the all-time list.
Antoine Bethea is an NFL safety for the Indianapolis Colts and college football at Howard from 2002 until 2006. Drafted in 2006, he is a Super Bowl champion, has been selected for the Pro Bowl twice, and has been named the USA Football/NFL Player’s Association All-Fundamentals Team. While at Howard, Bethea majored in administration of justice. There he earned All-Mid-Eastern Conference honors and was selected to the American Urban Radio Network Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College All-American Team 3 times.