Master’s student in sports management examines the career path of female sports administrators in Latin America | CPASS media hub
Yamile Gonzalez made history by becoming the first graduate student to successfully complete a master’s thesis in sports management at West Virginia University.
Gonzalez arrived at WVU from Guadalajara, Mexico in the fall of 2019. She first enrolled in the traditional industry track of the CPASS Masters in Sports Management program. After a year, she chose to go on to the thesis course. “In the traditional stream, I didn’t have to write a master’s thesis, but I chose to do so because I wanted to learn how to conduct research,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez’s master’s thesis “The Gender Imbalance in Sports Leadership in Latin America” examined the gender disparity in leadership within sports organizations across Latin America. Gonzales has studied how social and human capital, socio-cultural aspects of each country in the region, and power-based discourses affect the advancement of women’s careers in sports management.
Gonzalez conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 high-ranking officials, all female sports administrators serving as president, vice-president or general secretary of a National Olympic Committee, National Paralympic Committee or sports federation in seven Latin American countries. .
“With this master’s thesis, I wanted to leave a small contribution that could serve to advance research on gender imbalance in Latin America,” Gonzalez said. She plans to apply for a doctorate.
Writing a thesis has been a challenging and rewarding experience, especially in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Gonzalez used the academic waivers granted by the CPASS to make this possible. “My academic journey at WVU was possible because of the support I received through academic waivers. Otherwise, it would have been next to impossible financially,” she said.
Gonzalez’s master’s thesis committee included professors from three colleges: Gonzalo Bravo, advisor, and Sean Bulger of CPASS; Cheyenne Luzynski of Eberly College and Melissa Sherfinski of the College of Education and Human Services.
Gonzalez encourages prospective students to consider the thesis track. “The resources available at West Virginia University, including its faculty, provide an excellent starting point for giving master’s students the opportunity to learn how to conduct research and explore sports industry issues. which have many important implications for society,” Gonzalez said.
For over forty years, the on-campus Master of Sports Management program has had a clear industry focus, where students are prepared to succeed in the highly competitive sports industry. In 2018, the CPASS Faculty of Sports Management launched the thesis follow-up option for students who wanted to continue their studies and possibly pursue doctoral studies.