Public Invited to Campus Lecture Addressing Homophobia and Transphobia in the Classroom

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Ryan Pettengill, executive director of You Can Play, an international organization that fights homophobia and transphobia in sport, will present a public lecture on Oct. 24.

"We are so excited to welcome Ryan to campus. You Can Play is a phenomenal organization that uses sport as a catalyst to promote inclusion," said Sarah Stokowski, assistant professor in recreation and sport management.

The lecture is sponsored by the College of Education and Health Professions' Diversity Committee.

Pettengill will give a lecture on Thursday, Oct. 24, in room 343 of the Graduate Education Building at 751 W. Maple St. The lecture is titled "Addressing homophobia and transphobia in the classroom" and will be from 2-3 p.m.

Pettengill joined You Can Play with more than 20 years of experience in athletics and health promotion, and he has worked extensively with athletes of all levels, specifically focused on improving sports culture and leveling the playing field for equal access to health, recreation, and sports programming. The organization partners with leagues and teams like the NFL, NHL, CFL, MiLB, CWHL, NWHL, MLL, and many others.

Pettengill has served as the director of a national project to encourage philanthropy among amateur, professional, Olympic, and college level athletes. He also served as Executive Director of Athletes United for Social Justice (The Grassroot Project), an organization focused on solving health disparities and reducing stigma through dialogue between athletes and young people, creating a safe space for youth to learn about sex and sexuality.

Pettengill also helped draft the District of Columbia Department of Health's three-year Youth Sexual Health Plan and he served on a federal campaign aimed at improving health care enrollment in underserved communities. Through his work with the State Board of Education and DC Public Schools, Pettengill helped expand DCPS' K-12 Health Standards and curriculum to more effectively address risk behavior, stigma, and knowledge around sexuality and sexual health.

Pettengill's other experiences include time as a high school athletic director, general manager of a chain of health and recreation facilities, and COO for one of the largest endurance sports teams in the country. He has a master's degree in physical education with a concentration in sport management from Florida State University, a Sport Philanthropy Executive Certificate from George Washington University, and is currently working toward his Ph.D in public health.

He proudly served on the board of directors for Girls on the Run, is a certified coach, former college swimmer, three-time Ironman finisher, and avid ultra-marathon runner who lives in Tulsa, Okla., with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children, Gavin and Emily.


Sarah Elizabeth Stokowski, assistant professor
Health, Human Performance and Recreation


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