alexandra szarabajko headshot

Dr. Alexandra Szarabajko

Program Chair

Assistant Professor and Program Chair of Exercise Science

Busch Science Center | 240



Dr. Szarabajko is the Program Chair and Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Columbia College. She holds a Ph.D. in Kinesiology and a M.P.H. in Health Promotion/ Health Behavior from Oregon State University, as well as a M.S. in Physical Education, M.S. in General Psychology, and a B.S. in Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University. Originally from Germany, she came to the USA as a Division I student-athlete in Track & Field. 

Dr. Szarabajko is interested in advancing science and practice within the field of Psychosocial Kinesiology, which is demonstrated through her published scholarly achievements. For example, “Life Beyond Sport” appeared in the 2020 book, Performance Excellence: Stories of Success from The Real World of Sport and Exercise Psychology. The contribution examines her transition from athletic identity to becoming a professional in exercise and sport psychology. Some of her recent work has also been nationally recognized, including receiving the 2022 Doctoral Scholar and Graduate Writing Awards from the American Kinesiology Association, the 2021 Joanna Davenport Poster Presentation Award from the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education, and the 2021 Lawrence Bruya Original Research Award from the Western Society of Kinesiology and Wellness. 

Awards & Accomplishments

  • Graduate Writing Award, 2022 | American Kinesiology Association (AKA)
  • Doctoral Scholar Award, 2022 | American Kinesiology Association (AKA)
  • Lawrence Bruya Original Research Poster Award, 2021 | Western Society of Kinesiology and Wellness (WSKW)
  • Joanna Davenport Poster Presentation Award, 2021 | National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education (NAKHE)


  • Szarabajko, A., Gore, J. S., Foster, Z., Katzman, J., & Pope, C. (2023). Winning for our sake: Relational motivation in athletic performance. Journal of Sport Behavior.
  • Szarabajko, A., & Cardinal, B. J. (2023). Are tertiary institutions losing sight of their duty to cura personalis? Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.
  • Massey, W. V., Szarabajko, A., Thalken, J., Perez, D., & Mullen, S. P. (2021). Memories of school recess predict physical activity enjoyment and social-emotional well-being in adults. Psychology of Sport & Exercise. 55.
  • Szarabajko, A. (2020). Life beyond sport. In M. L. Sachs, L. S. Tashman, and S. Razon, Performance excellence: Stories of success from the real world of sport and exercise psychology (pp. 24-27). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

What do you love about working at Columbia College?

I love learning about my students' passions, interests, and goals. At Columbia College, my mission is to facilitate a welcoming learning environment that offers space for self-awareness and collaboration. Additionally, I strive to expose my students to hands-on research projects as well as community service activities.