Alumna promoted to direct program at the University of Oklahoma
Dr. Dolores Christensen ’10 grew up in the foothills of the northern California Sierras in the community of Paradise. After graduation from Paradise HS, she decided to stay close to home and save financially by attending nearby Butte Community College in Oroville. There, she played volleyball while working towards her associate’s degree. Having been recruited by SOU Raider Hall of Fame volleyball coach Paul Elliott while she was still at Butte, she made a visit to Ashland and the SOU campus and felt very comfortable with the surroundings nestled in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains. “The SOU and Ashland communities felt like home to me. Plus, I felt like the volleyball culture there was solid and had great values,” she said.
Dolores came to campus in August prior to school starting to report for the fall 2007 volleyball campaign. She was a bit concerned because Elliott had retired and the new coach was Josh Rohlfing ’07. She had to try out again but did well and decided to redshirt her first season to help her transition academically and socially. “It felt great to be on campus and in classes where my largest class was 25-30 students. It made for great relations with professors and interaction with fellow students,” she said. She sought a track in psychology and political science and loved the ability and opportunity to converse with professors during and after class without having to wait in line.
In volleyball, she played the 2008 and 2009 seasons for coach Rohlfing. The program continued its excellent family-oriented culture. “Josh was the first coach I ever had who spent a lot of time teaching sport psychology to all of us. That really piqued my interest in the field,” said Dolores. The small school collegiate student-athlete experience for her was just what she wanted. She got to know her teammates very well and supported and got to meet other athletes, and she loved her academic experience and the feel of the town. She graduated June of 2010 with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and political science.
Her academic record and interest in sport psychology got her into one of the best graduate programs in the country at the University of Denver. She earned her master’s in sport and performance psychology there in 2012 then entered a doctorate program at Springfield College in Massachusetts. She earned her doctorate in 2017 and after an internship at the University of California, Davis, she was hired in 2018 by the NCAA Division I University of Oklahoma (OU) Department of Athletics in Norman as the Assistant Director of Psychological Resources for OU Student-Athletes (PROS) from 2018-2022. Recently, she was named Director of PROS and will be in charge of an innovative program of student-athlete wellness focused on delivering the very best mental health, sport psychology, assessment and career counseling services to 600 OU student-athletes in order to support their efforts to achieve academic, athletic and personal success.
“I loved everything about my time at SOU. My academic and athletic experiences set me up perfectly for my graduate education, and I wouldn’t have the life that I have now without the foundation I laid in Ashland. SOU will always be a positive, meaningful part of my journey, and that’s why it still feels like home when I come back.”
Learn more: Psychological Resources for OU Student-Athletes