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For Dir. of Athletics Cristina Fink, Student Support Doesn't End on the Field

September 27, 2022
Portrait of Cristina Fink

This July, Bryn Mawr welcomed Cristina Fink as its new director of athletics, physical education, and recreation. In her new role, Fink hopes to expand mental health support for student athletes, promote DEI practices in athletics through cross-campus efforts, and create innovative P.E. offerings so that all Bryn Mawr students can find ways to connect through exercise. 

Fink is a retired high-jumper and represented Mexico in the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. 

“After I competed in two Olympic games, I wanted to understand a little bit more, not just what I went through, but what I have seen other people go through at the highest level of athletics. I wanted to know what are the things that make athletes perform their best? What gets in the way?” reflects Fink. 

To answer these questions, Fink attended the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) in Madrid, Spain to earn her Ph.D. in performance psychology. As a performance psychologist Fink worked with the Mexican women’s national soccer team, traveled to three additional Olympic games to support athletes, and worked with the Philadelphia Union for 10 years. 

In 2020, Fink joined Rowan University as the associate director of student athlete welfare. There she worked closely on DEI initiatives and helped athletes form groups for social justice, mental health, and LGBTQIA+ support.

“I really liked the position because it gave me an opportunity to work with performance psychology and provide students with what they needed when it came to their mental health,” says Fink. “I tend to treat mental health just like I would treat an injury. We need to make sure they’re getting the help that they need.”

Fink is passionate about continuing this type of mental health and DEI support at Bryn Mawr. 

Since becoming the director of athletics, she has met with both the Bryn Mawr College Athletes Alliance and the Owls United group to discuss the best ways to support and listen to the needs of student athletes. Fink is also thinking about cross-cultural ways of supporting student athletes, such as working with Civic Engagement and the Pensby Center. 

Although Fink has only been at Bryn Mawr for a few months, she has already been making a name for herself among students, both athletes and non-athletes. Mujeres* invited Fink to be the guest speaker at their kick-off event for Latinx Heritage Month on September 15. 

“I was very proud and I was moved by their invitation. I was happy to be a part of it because I do think we need examples, we need representation,” says Fink.

“One of the important lessons I want to make sure we’re sharing is that we want to call people in rather than calling them out. Because when you call people out, you don’t really give them an opportunity to make a connection. When you call people in, you are actually expecting them to think about what they said and how that might affect you, and so that creates a little bit more of a connection. So when people tell me I don’t look Mexican, I usually respond, ‘what do Mexicans look like?’ and that gives them an opportunity to think about what they just said.”

Having the platform to not only support young athletes as the athletics director, but to also influence the wider population at Bryn Mawr as the chair of physical education is an important opportunity, says Fink. 

“My life was changed through athletics…Having the opportunity to work with students to help support them, to become stronger, to find a voice, is very important to me.”


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