Our Students

Tasha Henderson (B.S., The Ohio State University) After taking SWK 2110 with Dawn Anderson-Butcher in the Summer of 2015, Tasha shifted her focus from medicine to the social well-being of children. Tasha then began the new academic year as an Early Childhood Education major and sought a new research focus working with children. In Spring 2015, she began working with LiFEsports within the CAYCI Initiative as a student research assistant. In almost 2 years working with LiFEsports, Tasha is happy to say that she has met incredible students, teachers, and community members. Working with LiFEsports led to her next educational path—social work! She is in her 1st year of the Masters of Social Work at OSU, she hopes to focus on school social work, early childhood years, and community development. When Tasha is not working in the office or hanging out at our clinics, she can usually be found at the dog park with her new pup named Jet!


Tarkington J. Newman (B.S., Central Michigan University; MSW, University of Michigan) is a third year doctoral student in the College of Social Work who is also earning a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. Under his Graduate Research Associate position for the College of Social Work, he currently serves as the Research Coordinator for the LiFEsports Initiative. Tarkington’s research interest is in sport-based positive youth development amongst at-risk adolescent minority males within urban settings. More specifically, his focus is on the coaching practices of youth sport leaders (i.e., coach) and their ability to intentionally facilitate youth developmental outcomes such as life skill development through the utilization of an experiential learning theory framework. Through his experiential learning-based coaching model, known as Coaching on the Wave, he hopes to further inform coaching education designed for youth development. Prior to joining OSU, Tarkington worked as a school social worker in two urban high schools where he specialized in adventure therapy and crisis intervention. Tarkington also spent nearly a decade coaching competitive track & field and cross country at both the high school and collegiate club levels.


Ellen Williams is a first year MSW student. Ellen first heard about LiFEsports when Program Director, Luke O’Quinn, spoke at her Youth Prevention & Development through Sport class. For the past two summers, Ellen has worked as a Chalk Talk leader during the annual LiFEsports Summer Camp and is currently a mentor to one of our high school students in the Youth Leadership Academy. Additionally, Ellen has spent the past two years working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant for LiFEsports and has worked on multiple research projects. Ellen was awarded 1st place at OSU’s 2017 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum for her research with LiFEsports. She has also presented her research at the 25th annual Simposio Internacional de Inicicao Cientificae Technologica da Universidade de Sao Paulo Conference, Brazil as well as to local representatives at the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus.


Kelsey Thelen is an OSU senior Bachelor of Science in Social Work student. Kelsey was a Health and Fitness coach during the 2018 LiFEsports Summer Camp and is excited to continue working with our campers and youth leaders throughout the next year. Kelsey plans to continue her education in social work after she graduates in May 2019. Kelsey enjoys spending time with her black labrador rescue dog and looks forward to snowboarding in the cold, winter months.

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