3GCSC Keynote Preview: Elizabeth Bounds

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Speaker: Elizabeth Bounds

Bio: Elizabeth M. Bounds is a Michigan, USA native and earned her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish with a French minor from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.  During her undergraduate studies, Elizabeth competed in both soccer and basketball.  She captained both her teams and set the Hope College Women’s Soccer record for single-season goals. Afterward, she earned her M.Div. with a focus in sport theology/ministry from Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.  While pursuing her M.Div. she served as the Volunteer Assistant Coach for Baylor Women’s Soccer.  After earning her M.Div. she worked for Baylor’s Faith & Sports Institute as the High School Retreat Director and Assistant of Online Programming.  She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in Baylor’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, working in Dr. Sarah Schnitker’s Science of Virtues Laboratory.  Elizabeth is broadly interested in virtues, character development, and spirituality. Elizabeth lives with her husband Jaxon in Waco, Texas.


Religion and spirituality are the primary context for virtue development because both imbue actions and decisions with transcendent meaning and purpose. For example, Christianity offers a meta-narrative and meta-identity that promote virtuous behavior as a by-product of the superordinate goal of communion with Christ. Psychological scientific study of virtues provides empirical evidence for faith contexts and communities as key sites for character development. Athletic contexts can either inhibit or promote virtuous behavior and development, depending on a variety of factors, such as leadership. Leadership functions as the crux for enabling athletic contexts to promote virtue development. Coaches, parents, and sports ministers can promote virtues in sports by providing modeling, instruction, opportunities for enactment, and opportunities for reflection. Examples of excellent strengths of character in sports include courage, patience, humility, and gratitude.