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Dr. Linda Keeler, CC-AASP

Assistant Professor
Department of Physical Education, Health, and Recreation

Center for Performance Excellence
Western Washington University

Dr. Linda Keeler is the Director of the Center for Performance Excellence and an Assistant Professor in the Physical Education, Health and Recreation Department at Western Washington University specializing in sport and exercise psychology. Dr. Keeler is one of approximately 400+ professionals to have achieved Certified Consultant status with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. She is listed on the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry and is a member of the American Psychological Association.


She has consulted with national, college and high school athletic teams along with individual athletes across multiple sports in areas such as performance psychology, team building, recovery from injury, burnout/overtraining, and exercise adherence.


After completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Colgate University, Dr. Keeler obtained her master’s degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park. Her education was completed at West Virginia University with a doctorate in sport and exercise psychology and a second master’s degree in community counseling. Dr. Keeler has recently moved to Bellingham after developing the sport and exercise psychology program for 5 years at Cal State, Chico. She was a competitive rugby player for twelve years and attended National team events, select-side competitions, and was a member of a nationally ranked club team.  




Current Sport Psychology Graduate Students






Brook Skidmore 

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Department of Physical Education, Health, and    Recreation

Student Coordinator
Center for Performance Excellence
Western Washington University





Brook obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Physical Education: Fitness and Wellness Management. She then worked for two years at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in SLC, training athletes in proper running mechanics and power/speed enhancement. She obtained her first Master’s degree from Springfield College in Exercise Science and Sport Studies: Strength and Conditioning. After teaching at the College of Southern Idaho in the Physical Education department for three years, she decided to go back to school for her second Master’s degree in Sport Psychology. She has taught a wide range of both fitness and academic classes, and has also served as a personal trainer. She is thrilled to be combining the two sides of training essential for excellent performance, that is, both physical and mental conditioning. She played volleyball, basketball, and golf in high school, and continues to enjoy running, lifting, swimming, biking, golfing, hiking, and playing racquetball.




Alex Farley



Alex grew up in Spokane, WA, and participated in skiing, volleyball, and tennis throughout her adolescence and high school career. She attended the University of Idaho, where she was on the downhill ski club her freshman year, and then finished her time with the Vandals in the Athletic Training Program. While at the University of Idaho, she worked with men’s and women’s basketball, track, and tennis, as well as women’s soccer and football. She traveled and worked with the U of I football team in 2009-2010, where they won the Humanitarian Bowl at the end of their season.

After graduating with a B.S. in Athletic Training in 2010, Alex became the head athletic trainer for Mountain View High School in Meridian, Idaho, until spring of 2013. She worked with all levels of football, soccer, XC, volleyball, wrestling, basketball, softball, baseball, tennis, and track and field while at MVHS. She is currently working towards her Master’s in Sport Psychology at WWU. When she graduates she is hoping to work with Wounded Warriors.


Piper Marshburn


Piper was born and raised in Corona, CA. She is an avid swimmer who pursued her collegiate swimming career at Delta State University, in Cleveland Mississippi. While there, she obtained her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology. Outside of the classroom, she was a distance swimmer on the Delta State’s Swim & Dive team for all four years. During her final year, she was captain of the women’s team that went on to become Gulf-South Conference 2013 champions. She retired from swimming after completing her collegiate career. She is now here at Western pursuing her Master’s degree in Sport Psychology. Piper’s future plans include becoming a certified consultant through AASP, and working with USA Swimming.


Matthew Vezzani


Matthew grew up in Gig Harbor, WA, and completed his undergraduate degree at WWU. His love of sport was developed playing baseball full-time, until an injury during his senior year of high school ended his career. His interest Sport Psychology started as an undergraduate when he began studying the benefits of mental skills for athletes. He is now a graduate student in the Sport Psychology program at WWU, and plans to get his AASP certification to become a sport psychology consultant and help athletes improve their performance. His research interests include mental characteristics of elite athletes, how psychology can help build these characteristics, how athletes can use mental skills to enhance performance, and the benefits of CrossFit.




Dr. Ralph Vernacchia

Emeritus Faculty

Founder, Center for Performance Excellence

Dr. Vernacchia, founder and previous director of the CPE, was a professor in the department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation at WWU for nearly 40 years, where he directed undergraduate and graduate courses in sport psychology. He is a co-author/editor of two sport psychology books and has presented extensively on a variety of sport psychology topics throughout the nation. He has served as a performance consultant to coaches, parents, and numerous athletes on the youth sport, high school, university, professional and Olympic levels. He has also traveled internationally with USA track and field teams to several world championships.