Students attend the Minnesota State, Mankato Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology graduate program from all over the region, nation, and world. Current and past students have hailed from Florida, California, Idaho, Utah, Ohio, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and many other states. Internationally, students have joined the program from Mexico, Canada, Israel, South Africa, Ireland, Sweden, Italy, Latvia, and the Czech Republic. Students bring a range of perspectives and sport and performance experiences that make the classroom an exciting space to learn, grow, and develop as sport and exercise psychology professionals.

Below are our current first and second-year graduate students and profiles about their backgrounds and career interests.

Second Year Cohort

Alison Zigler headshotMy name is Alison Zigler. I was born and raised in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado. I competed on the cross country and track and field team while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Science with a minor in Spanish. Starting in high school, I had a strong interest in sport psychology and would lead visualization and motivation sessions for my team. This passion carried into my undergraduate studies as I worked under the licensed psychologist in the athletic program. Now, at MNSU, I am thrilled that I get the opportunity to grow my knowledge and learn how to conduct sport psychology sessions with a variety of athletes. In the future, I am hoping to combine my knowledge of sport psychology with mental health counseling so I can work holistically with athletes to improve their athletic performance and overall well-being. 
Alison Zigler

Allison Koenig headshotMy name is Allison Koenig. I grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin- a suburb of Milwaukee. I completed by undergraduate studies at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut where I studied psychology and minored in Spanish. I captained the Division I Women's Rugby team and played on the U18 and U20 USA National Teams. In addition, I have been coaching high school ice hockey for a number of years. I was introduced to sports psychology in my collegiate athletic years and immediately grew an interest in the field as it combined my passion for psychology and love for sports. My goal is to gain certification as a mental performance consultant and work with athletes to improve performance and grow as individuals. I am an advocate for mental health and would love to combine all my passions into helping athletes in a holistic way.
Allison Koenig

Lois Page headshotMy name is Lois Page. I am from England, and I came to the USA to play tennis and complete an undergraduate degree in Psychology at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. I have played tennis for over 15 years, and I am now completing my last season as part of the MNSU team. Having a passion for Psychology and playing competitive tennis brought me to Sport Psychology. I want to use my experience and knowledge to help athletes perform at their best and use their mental game to its full potential. I would especially love to work with tennis players because it is such a mentally challenging sport where a player's mindset can make or break a match.
Lois Page

David Jansen headshotMy name is David Jansen. I am from the little town, Cologne in Germany. I completed my undergraduate at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter Minnesota, where I majored in psychology and minored in History & Religion. Throughout my 4 years at Gustavus, I was playing soccer on the varsity team, which helped me to identify my passion for sport psychology. For me, I believe that sport & exercise psychology is the next step to become a better athlete or human being. Every day, there is stress or emotions around us and to perform on the highest-level individuals need to be aware and prepared for those situations. That's exactly where mental performance training begins, and I want to use my opportunity to guide people towards more mental resilience, wellness, and a more successful life. For the future, I want to gain more experience in the field that and hopefully reduce the stigma around mental health and male student-athletes.
David Jansen

Alexis Edmundson headshotHello! My name is Alexis Edmundson. I grew up in Hastings, Minnesota. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Movement and Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA. Growing up, I played many sports, but I was most passionate about figure skating. I had the wonderful opportunity to integrate mental skills training into my figure skating and it made a huge impact. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to work in the field of sport psychology. I am passionate about the lifelong benefits of mental skills training, and I am excited to continue growing my knowledge base. In the future, I would like to become a Certified Mental Performance Consultant and work with youth to collegiate athletes and performers.
Alexis Edmundson

Nate Grimm headshotMy name is Nate Grimm, and I was born and raised in Fremont, Nebraska. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska at Kearney where I earned my bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in coaching. There, I also coached track and field at the high school level. My enthusiasm toward sport and coaching combined with my knowledge of psychology lead me to the field of sport and performance psychology. With this degree, my goal is to work with student­athletes to enhance their mental performance, skills, and overall satisfaction with their sport and performance. Many understand the importance of physical training in sport. I want to be an advocate and resource that works to normalize the importance of mental skills training.
Nate Grimm

Emily Peterson headshotMy name is Emily Peterson. I was born and raised in Broomfield, CO before moving to Rice Lake, WI in 2015. I completed my undergrad at the University of Minnesota Duluth, receiving degrees in psychology and French. I've been involved in gymnastics throughout my life as an athlete and coach. While in gymnastics, my team worked with a mental skills coach, who introduced us to the incredible connection between mind and body. The mental training made a huge impact on my attitude, confidence, and ability to overcome fear. The best part of this training was that I was able to transfer these skills to other areas of my life. Learning these essential skills at a young age is something I am grateful for. In the future, I will help youth athletes and other performers develop these same skills, helping them improve not only their sport performance but their life performance as well.
Emily Peterson

Izzy Mattecheck headshotMy name is Izzy Mattecheck. I was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I completed my undergraduate studies at Minnesota State University­ Mankato in Sports Management with a minor in Psychology. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to sport psychology in my athletic career and believe it is the key to not only improving performance but also other areas of life. As I move forward in my career, I plan to earn my CMPC certification and open my own private practice to assist performers in taking their game to the next level.
Izzy Mattecheck

Ben Harding headshotMy name is Ben Harding. I was born in Alberta, Canada but grew up all over Arizona where I was involved in a large variety of sports, but heavily involved in the martial arts world. I completed my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology where I also transitioned my sport profile into the world of weightlifting, Mixed Martial Arts and Jiu-Jitsu. Having spent many years involved in learning how our brain interfaces with our body, I'm very much invested in utilizing sport, exercise, and performance psychology to not only increase performance, but also to build up the mind as a whole in order to increase mental toughness and protect against factors such as burnout and decreased sport enjoyment.
Ben Harding

Andy Metcalf headshotMy name is Andy Metcalf. I'm originally from La Crosse, Wisconsin, where I played football, basketball and baseball growing up and through high school. I went on to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where I earned my bachelor's degree in Psychology. While completing my Psychology degree I was fortunate enough to play football for the university as well as play for an amateur baseball team in the summers. I have always been drawn to the world of sports and always been curious about how people's minds work, and I think Sport and Exercise Psychology is the perfect marriage between the two. In my future, I hope to become a licensed mental health counselor and mental performance coach so I can help people in various settings.
Andy Metcalf

Kinzee Miest headshotHello! My name is Kinzee Miest. I grew up on a farm about 10 miles outside of St. James, MN. In the spring of 2022, I graduated Cum Laude as a first-generation college student from Gustavus Adolphus College with degrees in Communication Studies and Psychological Science with Honors. During my undergraduate studies, I competed for 4 years as a varsity cross country and track & field runner and my performance was transformed when I was introduced to mental skills. The skills I learned helped me build confidence and perform to higher standards than I had ever imagined, and I am passionate about helping others achieve the same. In the future, I aspire to be a CMPC and would love to use my knowledge and experience specifically to help girls and women develop life-long mental skills to use in their schools, athletics, and workplaces.
Kinzee Miest

Hayden Allen headshotMy name is Hayden Allen. I am from the small town of Blackfoot, Idaho. I completed my undergraduate studies at BYU - Idaho. I graduated with a degree in pre-clinical marriage and family studies with a minor in psychology. As a former football player and track athlete, I am passionate about sports. I combined that passion with my interest in mental health counseling to find sports psychology. I love to learn about how mental skills training can greatly improve an athlete's performance and enjoyment in their sport. I also like how these skills can not only be applied to sport performance, but all aspects of life as well. In the future, I plan to become a certified mental performance consultant and licensed counselor. I am interested in both the mental health of an athlete and helping them reach their athletic potential.
Hayden Allen

Abigail Page headshotMy name is Abigail Page, and I was born and raised in Mankato, MN. I completed my undergrad here at MSU with a bachelor's in psychology and a minor in communication studies. Growing up I had the opportunity to play gymnastics, dance, soccer, golf, and curling. I still play curling competitively to this day. While in curling I have gotten to meet some sports psychologists and fell in love with the field. I believe that in order to be an elite athlete you need to have the right mindset and that starts with sports psychology. As I continue my education here, I hope to increase my depth of knowledge for sports psychology and how to help athletes better their performance. My goal is to one day work with Olympic and/or Professional level athletes. If you want to become the best version of yourself on and off the field/court or just in life, sports psychology is your next step and with that, I hope to see you giving it a try soon! 
Abigail Page

Libby Miller headshotMy name is Libby Miller. I lived in many states while growing up before settling in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I then graduated from the University of South Dakota where I majored in both psychology and kinesiology and sport management- exercise science. I also had the opportunity to complete a year-long athletic training internship with the USO Division I football team. Before attending higher education, I was a multi-sport athlete that strived to perform at my best, and that is when I found my passion for sport psychology. My favorite aspect of sport and performance psychology practices is that all mental tools taught are specialized for each team and the individual athlete we work with. In the future, I would love to integrate my experience with injured athletes into my work as a sport psychology professional. My major career goals are to open my own practice and create learning opportunities for adolescent athletes by doing outreach in the community.
Libby Miller

First Year Cohort

Ashlyn Rakos headshotMy name is Ashlyn Rakos. I grew up in Waconia, Minnesota. I completed by undergraduate at St. Catherine University in St. Paul where I studied exercise sport science, psychology, and Spanish. I played ice hockey for my university, and growing up, I played in Minnesota’s Elite league, Premier Prep league, and played in Minnesota’s NIT tournament. I am also a student in the Mental Health Counseling graduate program at MNSU. I learned about sport psychology from a professor of mine in undergraduate and knew that was an area I wanted to study, as it combined my interest in psychology and desire to work in the sports world with athletes. My goal is to earn my CMPC, become a licensed counselor, and create my own private practice. I hope to use my skills and knowledge in working with diverse individuals and athletes in a holistic way that allows them to improve all aspects of their lives. 
Ashlyn Rakos

Daisy Barrett headshotMy name is Daisy Barrett. I was born and raised in Willits, California. I completed my bachelor's degree at California State University Monterey Bay where I studied kinesiology and communication studies with a concentration in journalism. Throughout my life I have competed in many sports, but the top three that I love to play are volleyball, tennis, and basketball. I was introduced to sport psychology during one of my undergraduate classes, and immediately fell in love. It gave me an opportunity to combine my passions for sports and communication studies. One thing that I love about sport psychology is that mental skills training is applicable to all aspects of life whether it's sports, performance, business, you name it! In the future my goal is to become a CMPC and work with Olympic and/or professional level athletes.
Daisy Barrett

Yannick Artigolle headshotMy name is Yannick Artigolle and I am from Hong Kong. I obtained my bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University near Chicago, where I studied Human Development and Psychology. I had the pleasure of playing on the Northwestern Men’s Golf Team during my time at Northwestern. During my sophomore year, I started to realize how important the mental side of sports is when it comes to the elite level. Everyone can beat anyone on any given day, but having a strong mental game can be the difference between winning and losing. My passion for sports combined with my newly found interest in psychology led to my interest in this program at MNSU. I hope to become a CMPC, work with aspiring athletes in high school/college/professional teams and/or individuals, and help them achieve their goals one step at a time!
Yannick Artigolle

Tess Limberg headshotMy name is Tess Limberg, and I grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, but recently moved to a small town near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. I earned my bachelor's degree here at Minnesota State University, Mankato where I majored in psychology with a minor in sports medicine. Growing up I ran track, played softball, volleyball, and basketball, which turned into just sticking with basketball as I got older. I am really passionate about mental health and how much your mind can influence performance, which is what drove my interest in sport psychology. I believe that athletes/performers who learn the right tools to help themselves are going to be the most successful when it comes to performing at their best level. I plan on getting my CMPC and becoming a licensed counselor, and then someday work with collegiate and/or professional athletes. I want to use a holistic approach to help them meet their athletic goals, play, and perform at their peak performance and ultimately be the best version of themselves.
Tess Limberg

Will Nigut headshotMy name is Will Nigut and I am from Des Moines, Iowa. I earned my bachelor’s degree from at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN, where I studied communication studies and psychology. Additionally, I was a member of the St. Thomas baseball team during the school’s historic transition from Division III to Division I. I also studied at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA, as well as Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI, where I also competed on the baseball teams. I was introduced to sport psychology in my junior year of undergrad during a particular period of performance struggle. I learned valuable lessons and strategies that were applicable to both sports and life. Soon after, I knew a career in sport psychology was what I wanted to pursue. My goal is to earn CMPC certification and teach the next generation of athletes the mental skills necessary to have successful athletic careers and live happy lives.
Will Nigut

Ella Masser headshotMy name is Ella Masser and I am from Prior Lake, Minnesota. I earned my bachelor’s degree at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, where I studied psychology and applied behavioral science. Growing up I played soccer and danced competitively. I danced for my high school and a competitive studio until my junior year of high school when I suffered a hip injury requiring surgery. I worked hard to get back to the dancer I was prior to the injury, but my mind and body were no longer working in unison. I never understood why this happened until my senior year of college where I discovered sport psychology. I joined the Sport Exercise and Performance Psychology Lab at the University of Kansas and truly found my passion for the field. I plan on earning my CMPC certification and working with athletes as they navigate injury rehabilitation and return to play.
Ella Masser

Lexi Long headshotMy name is Lexi Long and I am from Lincoln, Nebraska. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa where I studied psychology and exercise science. I was on the Dordt University volleyball team for two years and the golf team for a year and a half. Growing up I played a variety of sports including basketball, soccer, softball, and dance but focused on volleyball starting in high school. I found sport psychology in my junior year of college after previously wanting to be a physical therapist. Pairing my love for sports with the enjoyment of helping others led me to pursue sport psychology. I want to help athletes learn that the mental side of sports is just as important, if not more important than the physical side. My future career goal is to earn my CMPC and teach athletes mental skills at a high school, college, or professional level.
Lexi Long

Lauren Priest headshotHello! I’m Lauren Priest, & I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I got my undergrad degree from Grand Valley State University in exercise science with a minor in psychology. I played a variety of sports growing up but focused on soccer & running once I was in high school. I was introduced to sport psychology in an undergraduate motor learning class. At the time, I’d considered physical therapy, occupational therapy, or medical school, but I fell in love with the intersection of the body & the mind. I love competing & helping others to compete at their highest potential. My goal is to obtain my CMPC & help all kinds of professionals- athletes, executives, military- recognize their mind for the powerful tool it is.
Lauren Priest

Avery Nelson headshotMy name is Avery Nelson. I was born in Boston, MA and moved to Roseville, MN in 2007. I completed my undergrad degree at Hamline University receiving a degree in Psychology with a minor in Education. During my time at Hamline, I played on the baseball team which is where I got my first exposure to sport psychology. It wasn’t until after my career had ended that I really bought into the power of enhancing your mind for performance and life optimization. I find just about everything in performance psychology exciting and love the application that it has to all areas of our life. My goal is to help athletes and other types of performers optimize their lives through the often-neglected field of mental training. Our minds are a powerful tool for wellness and living our lives to the fullest. I want to be the one who can help people harness that power to get the most out of themselves.
Avery Nelson

Megan King headshotMy name is Megan King, and I am from Savage, MN. I completed my undergraduate studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, where I majored in exercise physiology and psychology. During my time at Gustavus, I played varsity soccer and began coaching youth soccer. I am very passionate about exercise, wellness, and overcoming adversity both in sport and in life. During my time at Gustavus, I discovered that sport and exercise psychology encompassed a variety of these passions. I hope to earn my CMPC and apply my knowledge and experiences while working with athletes. I hope to help athletes not only play to the best of their abilities, but to also develop mental performance skills and apply these to all areas of their lives.
Megan King

Cassidy O’Meara headshotMy name is Cassidy O’Meara and I am from Moorhead, MN. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Sioux Falls where I earned a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Exercise Science. While earning my degrees, I was also a member of the cross country and track & field team and continue to compete at MNSU with my final year of eligibility. I was introduced to some sport psychology concepts in my classes and from my coaches that made a big impact on my performance, and I wanted to learn more about how we can optimize our mental skills to compete at our best. My goals are to earn my CMPC and become a licensed counselor so that I can share my passion for mental health and athletics with others and help them improve their lives in a holistic way.
Cassidy O’Meara

McKayla Armbruster headshotMy name is McKayla Armbruster, I am from Faribault, MN. I completed my undergraduate degree at Minnesota State University with a major in psychology and a minor in coaching. I am currently a fifth-year pitcher at MSU. On the field, I have an unwavering dedication, a strong work ethic, and a relentless competitive spirit. Off the field, I remain actively involved in youth softball programs, nurturing the next generation of aspiring athletes. I am a dedicated student-athlete who has aspirations to become a Sport Psychologist and collaborate with elite athletes. I am committed to understanding the intricate mental aspects of peak athletic performance. My goal is to empower high-level athletes with the tools to enhance their mental resilience, focus, and overall well-being, ultimately helping them excel in their respective sports.
McKayla Armbruster

Chaz Verduzco headshotMy name is Chaz Verduzco, and I’m from Pullman, WA. I received my bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University in Exercise Science. Through a unique college baseball career full of injuries and global pandemics, I also completed a master's in business administration at Missouri Western. I’ve been involved with baseball as long as I can remember, as my coaching career is a succession of my father who coached college baseball for over 30 years. Throughout my academic career I was also involved in committees such as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, OneHitAway foundation (concussed athletes advocation), and the Decisions Program in St. Joseph, MO. I am very passionate about the game of baseball, but also take pride in utilizing my teaching skills. I plan on utilizing the skills and knowledge provided by this program to maximize the performance of baseball players that I will have the pleasure of coaching!
Chaz Verduzco

Janay Morton headshotMy name is Janay Morton, and I am from Brooklyn Park, MN. I studied Psychology at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL); finishing my undergraduate degree at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During my undergrad, I competed as a Division 1 women’s basketball student-athlete at both EMU and UNL. I was also a member of Athletes in Action (AIA), and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) during my collegiate career. Currently, I am an Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I am passionate about the development of my student-athletes on and off the court; living out my mantra, “Coaching life through basketball.” Looking ahead, I am excited to gain wisdom from the Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology program to increase my effectiveness and skills as a collegiate basketball coach.
Janay Morton

Miguel Espiritu headshotMy name is Miguel Espiritu, and I was born and raised in the Philippines. I pursued undergraduate studies at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Voice, magna cum laude. After graduation, I spent several years working as a professional opera singer, both freelance and with the Viva Voce Voice Lab, and teaching voice at various music studios around Metro Manila. At the end of 2020, I moved to the US to pursue a master’s degree in Vocal Performance at James Madison University. While there I performed several lead roles with JMU Opera Theatre, as well as Nightingale Opera Theatre in Hudson, OH and Spotlight on Opera in Shreveport, LA. After receiving my master’s degree in 2023, my interest in the mental side of performance, my own personal difficulties with performance anxiety, and my desire to help people with similar struggles brought me to MNSU, where I am beyond excited to explore mental performance enhancement, both on and offstage. Future career goals include doing applied work with professional singers and musicians, as well as athletes and other performer populations, and contributing to existing research in the field of music performance psychology. 
Miguel Espiritu

Matthew Halperin headshotMy name is Matthew Halperin, and I am from Lindenhurst, Illinois. I recently completed my undergraduate studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida Southern College in Lakeland Florida. Sports and exercise have always been an important part of my life, and that led me to play many sports over my life. However, I found a love for the game of lacrosse and that allowed me to play at the division two level during my undergraduate career. I also developed an interest in coaching during that time, which further established my love for the sport. I have known that I wanted to work in the realm of sport psychology since I was in high school, and my experiences and challenges playing college lacrosse have only increased my drive for success in the field. I am excited to learn more about the field and eventually apply it to help athletes strive for success.
Matthew Halperin