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Public Health in Focus: Ksenia Berestetska, assistant women's tennis coach

Each week in 2019, we're highlighting someone in the College of Public Health—students, alumni, researchers and beyond—for a feature we're calling Public Health in Focus. Click the photo for a portrait of Ksenia Berestetska, a PhD student who also assists in coaching the women’s tennis team, or read on for the full interview.

Did you move to Philadelphia [from Kiev, Ukraine] for college?
Back in 2010, I came to the United States to play Division 1 Tennis. One year, I played for Steven F. Austin State University, which is in Nacogdoches, Texas. No one knows about that town, it’s really small. Then, after my freshman year, I transferred to the University of Akron which is in Akron, Ohio, near Cleveland. And I played there for the rest of my collegiate career. I stayed there for my master’s in physical education and coaching, and then after that, I applied to Temple for a PhD program in sports psychology and currently am a 3rd year Ph.D. student.

I’m also a volunteer assistant coach at Temple University and I’m  a part-time coach at Legacy Tennis Center, where the tennis team practices.

What drew you go to Temple and Philadelphia?
I applied to seven PhD programs. And what drew me here was my advisor, Michael Sachs. I came here for an on-campus interview right before the fall semester, and our research interests matched, and he was also a very nice person, and I knew that if I come here, I would be in good hands.

What are you focusing on for your research?
For my master’s degree, I focused on perceived coaching behaviors: perceptions of student athletes of their coaching behaviors and how that influences their intrinsic motivation and sport commitment to tennis. I worked with NC Division 1 Tennis Athletes.

For my dissertation, I will research eating disorders and compulsive exercise in Division 1 student athletes.I’ll be exploring the prevalence rates of eating disorders, disordered eating behaviors and compulsive exercise. I’ll also explore student athletes’ perceptions of available treatment, as well as screening tools for eating disorders at the university.

What has your experience been like at Temple?
When I’m working with the Women’s Tennis Team, I always tell those who came from, let’s say Russia or Ukraine, that they’re the luckiest people in the world, because I was in the middle of nowhere for four years. I’m not complaining about my schools; they were awesome. But in terms of the facilities here, the financial resources, the location and everything else, Temple is a great university to be in for an athlete.

What would you like to do after you finish earning your PhD?
I’d like to teach at a university. That’s my goal, to become a professor.

Anything involved with tennis?
Oh yeah, tennis will always be there. I mean, I cannot live without tennis, so I’ll probably coach on the side as well.

Ksenia Berestetska is pursuing a PhD in Kinesiology and is an assistant coach for the Temple women’s tennis team. She moved to the United States from Kiev, Ukraine, to pursue her undergraduate degree. Check out all of the Public Health in Focus portraits so far.

Posted:  March 21, 2019