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Westminster College student presents research at Sports Leadership Summit

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Posted on Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Westminster College senior Riley Lewis presented her research, “The Hidden Arms Race: Women in FBS Football Recruiting and Operations,” at Liberty University’s Sports Leadership Summit (SLS) in Lynchburg, Va., in October.

Lewis, a sports management and broadcasting and sports communications double major from Clinton, Pa., focused her research on examining the challenges facing women working in intercollegiate athletic administration. She studied the profiles of women working in football and what obstacles they face in elite NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs.

At Westminster, a Division III school, Lewis became the first-ever female staff member with Westminster’s football program. This past season, she served as a recruiting coordinator assistant and football operations manager.

Lewis’ research survey results are meant to help women better position themselves for future professional development. She conducted her research under the guidance of Dr. Robert Zullo, former associate professor of business and sports management at Westminster.

“My experience at the summit was amazing. I was the only out-of-state poster presentation, which was both awesome and nerve-racking. When I got up and stood next to my poster, I killed it, which made me feel so good after I was done,” said Lewis.

The SLS allows emerging sports professionals to engage with industry leaders through panel discussions, keynote speakers and research presentations.

Westminster’s Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research provided the funding Lewis needed for traveling to the summit. The Drinko Center financially supports undergraduate work through various grants for students participating in academic programs.

For more information on the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, contact director Dr. Patrick Lackey at