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Kyra Gaines

Kyra Gaines

Acknowledgment: My most sincere thanks go to my mentor and friend, Dr. Robert L. Bartlett. To him I owe to introducing me to a subject that I have grown to love and have passion for. He is the quintessential of what a mentee needs in a mentor. I will always appreciate him, for his guidance, encouragement and support throughout this whole process. To the McNair Family, thank you so much for everything you have done over the last year. I left the track team to dedicate more time to the program, and today I can say that was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. Without your support I know I wouldn't be where I am today, I am forever indebted to you all. I want to express sincere gratitude to the Sociology & Africana Educational Department, especially Dr. Lam, Dr. Chabot, Dr. Wright, Dr. Hechtman, Dr. Finnie, and my academic advisor Ed King. You are all directly responsibly for my choice to pursue an academic career. Thank you all for teaching me the perspectives of life, and making learning fun. I will miss all of your words of wisdom. Last but certainly not least, I would like to express my eternal gratitude to my parents for their everlasting love and support. It was you all that instilled in me at an early age that when things get too hard to stand, kneel and pray. I love you!!


Kyra Gaines is a senior at Eastern Washington University majoring in sociology. She was born in Tallahassee, Florida, but was mostly raised on the west side of Washington State due to her dad being the military. In March 2011, Kyra was selected to become a part of the TRiO Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Program, where she participated in a McNair summer internship. Kyra's McNair research project examines how African American females still manage to dominate in the area of track and field, even while collegiate sports research has shown that most women's collegiate sports reflect an underrepresentation of African American student athletes.  Having a great passion for track and field as well as sociology, Kyra is pursuing graduate studies in the area of sport sociology, where she plans to continue her McNair research on the sociological study of African American Women in Collegiate Track and Field. The ultimate goal of Kyra's research is to extend her knowledge of the success of female African American track athletes, even with their "double jeopardy" of race and gender, and to share this knowledge with others.
Kyra has participated in intercollegiate track and field the two years she has been at Eastern, and decided to take her senior year off to focus more on her academic endeavors. She still looks forward to pursuing her dream of one day competing at the highest competitive level of track and field.


Dr. Robert Bartlett, Professor, Department of Sociology, EWU

2011 TRiO McNair Research Internship- Run Sista' Run: Black Women in Track & Field 1948-1999.
Gaines, Kyra, (Robert Bartlett), Sociology, Africana Education Program 

Long before Title IX black women athletes proved to the world a passion to compete in track and field. Theybecame some of the fastest women on the planet. This paper focuses on the lived experiences of the first black women of track and field and the records and social barriers they broke. The purpose of this study was to examine how African American females defied the odds and won on the world's biggest stage, the Olympic oval. This study is intended to give exposure to some of the challenges that exist at the intersection of gender, race, and sport. This sociological research implements elements of Critical Race Theory and the analysis of primary and secondary sources. The ultimate goal of this research is to a fill a gap in the literature by focusing on the individual lives of these six black collegiate/Olympian women athletes.

Conference Presentations: _________________________________________________________________

Northwest Association of Sociology of Sports Conference (NASSS), Minneapolis, MN: November 2-5, 2011

Graduate School Acceptances:______________________________________________________________

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs: MA Program; Sociology



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