Portfolio II

Corbatto, Debi
December 2014
I have been fortunate in the past year, to have been given opportunities to progress both
academically and professionally. I have been able to spend additional time at the Olympic
Training Center working with elite athletes. This was valuable to me as I was able to observe
various coaches interacting with the athletes. After completing my final paper for qualitative
research methods concerning the elite athletic coaches’ perceptions of flow in elite athletes, I
was quite interested to observe the methods that coaches use to create a context for peak
performances to occur.
In addition, I took a class on the fundamentals of peak performance given by the Flow
Genome Project. Fascinating research on the neurobiology and neuropsychology of flow! These
two activities have led me to strengthening my interest in the mind/body connections of peak
performance. This connection led me to an internship opportunity for the summer with
SenseLabs- a company using qualitative electroencephalogram to increase focus and
performance with elite athletes. I am investigating the products use as a way to measure flow as
an outcome measure for my research.
In the academic realm, I have been serving on the university Well-Being Learning
Community. This is a group of academics from various areas of the university that are working
toward a thriving community through the translation and application of the science around wellbeing. This has been a very stimulating group to participate in. Much of the science surrounding
well-being has direct academic impact on my interest in flow theory.
One of the gaps addressed in Portfolio 1 was the lack of formal presentation and/or
teaching experience. I have addressed this gap by offering to speak at various
organizations and have been getting great feedback on my presentations. I am presenting
on our Center for Sports Performance as well as technique specific methods of achieving
top performances. I don’t have the flexibility between work and school to complete any
formal teaching, but as my coursework ends, this can be addressed as well. In addition, I
would like to find places to begin publishing some work. As I dive deeper into my
Educational Psychology course progression, I can see that my pilot study may end up
being a document that can be submitted for possible publication.
My courses have continued to be valuable to me and have informed my
development. I am now much more prepared to read and interpret research. My position
with the athletic department is greatly informed by the translation of current performance
research into application in our athletic endeavors. Having this strong base in research has
been a collaborative win for both the athletic department, as well as strengthening my
academic work.
The courses in research methods, particularly, have continued to influence my
work. As I take each research methods course, I am able to explore my topic from a
different perspective. Of particular note are my courses in qualitative research as well as
mixed-methods research. Both of these courses opened my eyes to the impact of my
personal way of knowing as a lens for my research. I know understand that I don’t need
to ignore this lens; rather I should use it to plan and conduct my research in a more
powerful way.
Corbatto, Debi
December 2014
My intellectual goals are still registering an interest in flow, but through a different
perspective. I was interested in operationalizing flow, but am really interested in how the
context of an athlete’s experience changes their experience – particularly whether flow
can be manipulated by a coach through changes in coaching methods or contexts. The
flow genome project, I participated in was really instrumental in changing my thought
process about flow from a phenomenon that was either “on” or “off” to an understanding
of the cyclical nature of flow. This is a paradigm shift for me to make with my research
interests. I am excited to see where this model takes my research.
My professional goal remains intent on working with young adults seeking elite
performances. I have met with some advisors at other universities who are strongly
suggesting that a full-time teaching position may not be the best fit for me. I am exploring
options for opening a “peak performance” center that will offer athletes, coaches and
researchers the ability to look at various components of peak experiences and work at
improvements in their individual domains. This option would also allow me to continue
working, consulting and speaking with elite athletic groups.
I am still interested in maintaining an academic affiliation and as such, I met with
a contact at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in November. His advice to
me was to continue my program of studies, while continuing to progress my professional
vitae in the areas of human performance. He would like to introduce me to other
academics at the university and I will maintain this contact as well as nurture any future
connections he makes for me.
In all, it was a highly productive year for me. I am thankful for the academic
opportunities I have been afforded and will continue working toward the completion of my
doctorate. It is my expectation that I should be finishing my coursework in the spring of 2016.