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Dana Voelker, PhD

Director, School of Sport Sciences

Associate Professor

Professional Highlights

  • Certified Mental Performance Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology
  • 2019 Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant
  • 2018 WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teachers
  • 2018 Association for Applied Sport Psychology Dorothy V. Harris Memorial Award


  • PhD, Kinesiology, Michigan State University, 2012
  • MA, Counseling, Michigan State University, 2010
  • BA, Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 2007


  • Diane Gill Paper of the Year, Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 2020
  • Researcher of the Year, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, 2020, 2018
  • WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching, 2018
  • Dorothy V. Harris Memorial Award, Association for Applied Sport Psychology, 2018

Areas of Expertise

  • Positive youth development and the youth sport experience
  • Body image and eating disorders in sport
  • Leadership development in sport

Research Interests

  • Weight and appearance pressures
  • Body image and eating disorders
  • Dysfunctional exercise and intuitive movement
  • Barriers and supports to women and girls in sport
  • Leadership development
  • Pedagogical and curricular design


  • Certified Mental Performance Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology, 2013-Present

Committees and Memberships

  • Member, West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute
  • Member, Association for Applied Sport Psychology

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Dana K. Voelker is an Associate Professor of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology and Director of the School of Sport Sciences. She came to WVU in 2014 after serving two years as a faculty member at The College at Brockport, State University New York where she began her professional career. Through her research, Dr. Voelker aims to inform the psychosocial well-being and performance of youth in sport by minimizing the risks while maximizing the benefits of their participation. Within this work, she has focused on understanding how sport environments positively and negatively affect youth’s relationship with their bodies, food, and movement as well as effectively intervening toward high quality youth sport experiences, particularly for girls and women. Related to her interests in teaching and learning, she has also examined pedagogical innovations involving global collaboration and active learning to support higher education curricula. Dr. Voelker's work has been funded by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Steelcase Education, Saudi Arabian Ministry of Sport and Leader’s Development Institute, and Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Voelker earned her PhD in kinesiology with an emphasis in the psychosocial aspects of sport and physical activity and her master's degree in counseling from Michigan State University where she was a University Distinguished Fellow. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Penn State University where she was a member of the women’s ice hockey team.