The SHARP Center is led by representatives from both the Women’s Sports Foundation and the University of Michigan. They are some of the world’s most well-respected academics and experts on Title IX, youth sports participation, female-specific kinesiology, injury and injury prevention and the myriad of other issues affecting girls and women in sports today.
Women’s Sports Foundation
Kathryn Olson, Women's Sports Foundation CEO
Kathryn Olson was named chief executive officer of the WSF in April, 2010, having served as a board trustee since 2005. She is the former SVP, chief marketing officer of Shutterfly. Prior to Shutterfly, Ms. Olson was SVP, chief marketing officer of LeapFrog Enterprises, a developer of technology-based learning products. She was in senior marketing roles for the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and Nordstrom, after a decade with The Quaker Oats Company, including several years with Gatorade Europe.
Ms. Olson previously served in board roles with Chicago Community in Schools, the Association of National Advertisers, and the Women’s Board of the Joffrey Ballet. She is on the board of Regen Living, a creator of electronics powered by light.
Kathryn Olson earned her MBA from the University of Chicago.
Donald F. Sabo, SHARP Executive Leadership Team, Senior Sport and Health Policy Advisor, WSF Director, Center for Research and Physical Activity, Sports & Health, D’Youville College
Professor Sabo is a nationally recognized expert on Title IX. As a former WSF trustee, he directed the development of the first national policy on sexual harassment in athletic settings. He is a former president of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport. He has directed, codirected, and/or authored many nationwide research studies and he has edited or authored eight books.
He is a frequently invited speaker at colleges, universities, and conferences. He is an eye-to-eye scholar, an avid keynoter, and a public intellectual who is regularly quoted in national media such as USA Today, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Shape, Glamour, Dallas Morning News, US News and World Report, and Working Woman Magazine. He has appeared on television shows such as The Today Show, The Oprah Show, and The Phil Donahue Show. He is a public health advocate, a parent and fitness enthusiast, and a former NCAA Division I-A defensive football captain.
Dr. Sabo holds a PhD in sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1980).
Marjorie A. Snyder, SHARP Executive Leadership Team, Research Director, WSF
Marjorie Snyder is currently a consultant in nonprofit management, research, and education and serves as the research director for the WSF. Previously she served as the WSF chief program and planning officer. During her nearly 22 years with the WSF she twice served the organization as interim CEO. She has authored papers, book chapters, and research reports on women in sport and presented at conferences and conventions across the United States and internationally. She has frequently been featured in the news as an expert on women’s sports in media outlets such as ABC World News, CNN, NPR, and the New York Times, USA Today, the LA Times, and other major media outlets.
Prior to earning her doctorate degree, Dr. Snyder was an assistant professor of physical education and head coach for women’s basketball, field hockey, and tennis at Hope College and the head women’s basketball and field hockey coach at Kalamazoo College. In January, 2006, she received the Girls on the Run International “Sole Mate” Award in recognition of creating positive change in her community. In 2003 she received the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports Pathfinder Award. She is a charter member of the Kalamazoo College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Dr. Snyder earned an MS in kinesiology from UCLA (1980) and a PhD in psychology of human movement from Temple University (1989).
Chris Voelz, Steward/Ambassador, Women's Sports Foundation
Chris Voelz, former president of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, is an influential leader in intercollegiate athletics. Prior to her arrival at the WSF, Voelz served as the director of Women’s Athletics at the University of Minnesota for 14 years. At Minnesota, Voelz oversaw 12 women’s sports and the construction of multiple new facilities, including the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium for soccer, the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium for softball, and the Ridder Arena for hockey. Under Voelz, the Lady Gophers increased their endowed scholarships from one to 25.
Voelz began her career in collegiate athletics at the University of Oregon as the head volleyball coach. She later became the senior associate athletic director at Oregon. Voelz has served on numerous NCAA committees, including the Gender Equity Task Force, the Volleyball Committee, and the Gymnastics Committee. For her extensive work in athletics, Voelz has received many awards, including the NACWAA District 6 Administrator of the Year Award in 1994, the National Association of Girls and Women in Sports Honor Award, the Governor’s Leadership Award, the Founding Feminist Award and the Minnesota NAGWS Pathfinder Award. She has been inducted into both the Illinois State University and University of Minnesota Halls of Fame and she was recognized as one of the top 10 women of influence in the nation in women’s sport by Fitness Magazine. Voelz was president of NACWAA when the members of NACWAA wrote the gender equity language adopted by the NCAA as the official definition.
University of Michigan
Ronald Zernicke, Professor and Dean, School of Kinesiology
Dean Zernicke’s research focuses on the adaptation of bone to exercise, diet and disease, and joint injury and osteoarthritis. With more than 570 research publications and three books, his research has been supported by high-profile organizations such as the Arthritis Society of Canada, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Alberta Ingenuity Fund, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research among others.
Dean Zernicke earned his PhD in biomechanics and anatomy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. (1974).
Katherine M. Babiak, Codirector, SHARP, Associate Professor, Sport Management
Professor Babiak is an internationally recognized scholar in the area of sport management. In particular, her expertise lies in the areas of organizational governance and leadership, sport policy, social responsibility and individual and organizational philanthropy both in professional and Olympic-level sport. Professor Babiak’s work has examined issues related to ethics, social responsibility, justice, diversity, and representation in sport. She has examined athlete representation and involvement in decision making around policies and issues that affect them. Her most recent funded project examines athlete philanthropy, and uses gender as a variable to explore differences in focus, mission, and involvement of athletes in their own charitable foundations.
Professor Babiak was recognized as a research fellow for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society and has worked with the Sports Philanthropy Project as well as Athletes for Hope on various research projects related to corporate and individual social responsibility in sport. She has also lectured nationally and internationally on topics related to corporate social responsibility, the Olympic Games, athlete philanthropy, and athlete representation and involvement in decision making in international sport federations and Olympic committees.
Professor Babiak earned her PhD in leisure and sport management from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (2003).
Carol Boyd, Deborah J. Oakley Collegiate Professor of Nursing, Professor of Women’s Studies. Research Professor, Substance Abuse Research Center
Professor Boyd is an internationally recognized scholar in the studies of gender, vulnerable populations, and risky health behaviors (e.g. smoking, misuse of medications, alcohol abuse, and other substance abuse). She is noted for mixed-method studies, including evaluation research for the State of Michigan and for Michigan schools. Her most recent studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health, are school-based and focus on adolescent and young adult populations and their lifestyle behaviors, with a particular focus on the medications they are prescribed and how they are used and misused.
Professor Boyd received her PhD in nursing with an anthropology cognate from Wayne State University (1987).
TJ Truskowski, Director of Advancement, School of Kinesiology
T.J. Truskowski brings more than 10 years of experience in fund-raising, development, and strategic planning in higher education and cultural institutes. Prior to joining the School of Kinesiology, T.J. was a regional director in the College of Engineering. In the course of his duties, he partnered with the Center for Entrepreneurship to develop a funding model and help direct a fund-raising plan for a 60,000+ square-foot addition to the George Granger Brown Building for the Mechanical Engineering Department.
TJ Truskowski received his BA in public relations from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from Davenport University.