Sammy D Foundation partners with Flinders

After an international search, Flinders University and the Sammy D Foundation have announced that Flinders University PhD candidate Emilea Mysko has received the inaugural Enterprise PhD Scholarship, to research the nuanced role of parents as role models for children and using youth sports as the social setting for this modelling.

As a mother, veteran, Invictus Games athlete and medal winner, Ms Mysko stands as an inspiring choice to be the first PhD scholarship holder in this important joint initiative.

“Emilea’s Honours research experience, which included her attaining 1st Class Honours in 2021, has provided excellent grounding to undertake this significant project,” says youth sport and parenting expert Dr Sam Elliott, Senior Lecturer within Education, Psychology and Social Work.

Ms Mysko’s project will include a 60-day internship with the Sammy D Foundation, under the project supervision of Dr Elliott (Flinders and SHAPE Research Centre) and Brigid Koenig, CEO of the Sammy D Foundation. It will follow the Sammy D Foundations’ Violence Prevention and Positive Role Modelling program, called the ‘Monkey See Monkey Do Program’, which has so far been presented to more than 6000 participants at 83 South Australian sporting clubs.

Ms Mysko aims to gain a broader understanding of the implications of parental sideline and on-field behaviour on today’s youth, with her research findings enhancing the intuitive educational initiative that has been co-designed between The Sammy D Foundation and Flinders University.

At its conclusion, this project will produce ‘living’ stories that will form the basis of contextualised educational materials for parents and children to learn about the core and peripheral layers of role modelling, and how it can shape lifelong attitudes, behaviours, and sensibilities.

Sammy D Foundation CEO Brigid Koenig is excited to work with Ms Mysko and Flinders University in delivering the new Enterprise PhD Scholarship.

“This new research will help guide our programs and offer us a deeper understanding of the impact of both positive and negative behaviour of parents around youth sports, and will ultimately support the Sammy D Foundation to realise our aspiration to help children live their best life free from violence,” says Ms Koenig.

“We are excited to welcome Emilea to our team as she undertakes her placement and we will offer her as much guidance and assistance as possible as she works with us to better understand the effectiveness of our programs.”

Ms Mysko hopes her research will lead to a greater understanding for both researchers and parents about the impact of parental sideline behaviour.

“I’m looking forward to investigating how parents can be both positive and negative role models for children, and their vital role as providers of emotional support and interpreters of social experience,” she says.

“Then, I want to see a tangible outcome from this research. Designing and

delivering education resources for the Sammy D Foundation will be an exceptional experience and provide an example of how research can lead to real-world change.”

To learn more about the Monkey See, Monkey Do Program, and the Enterprise PhD Scholarship watch the video below.


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