Center for Performance Excellence

What Eating Disorder Recovery for Runners Looks Like Now

“My participants yelled that loud and clear in studies,” says Jessyca Arthur-Cameselle, associate professor of sport and exercise psychology and co-director of the Center for Performance Excellence at Western Washington University. She’s been studying collegiate and older athletes who have experienced eating disorders (EDs) since 2007. In fact, they ask her to be sure to share what they say: “Hey athletes, you can recover. Please tell athletes it is possible, even if you feel bad right now.” She points to studies showing the progress people have made after treatment, some results even matching control groups who’ve never had an ED. She’s also witnessed full recoveries in her role as a clinician.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 11:35am

Lacking confidence? Think positive to change

Job interview? Sales pitch? Big date? How you see the situation can affect how it goes.

Psychologists know that when you change how you perceive a challenging situation, how you present it to yourself, your performance can improve.

No need to feed yourself pep talk or lie to yourself, says Jessyca Arthur-Cameselle, psychologist and consultant at the Center for Performance Excellence at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. That doesn’t work.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 8:28am

How to enhance your self-confidence

Job interview? Sales pitch? Big date? How you see the situation can affect how it goes. Psychologists know that when you change how you perceive a challenging situation, how you present it to yourself, your performance can improve.

Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 10:23am

Ralph Vernacchia talks track and field, Olympics, retirement

Submitted by admin on Fri, 04/29/2011 - 11:26am

Ralph Vernacchia, a professor in Western Washington University's department of physical education, health and recreation, discusses the sport of track and field, the Olympic Games and his coming retirement from the university.

Vernacchia, director of Western's Center for Performance Excellence, is the namesake of the Ralph Vernacchia Invitational team track and field meet, which takes place every year at WWU.

He has been a professor at Western for 38 years.

Video by Daniel Berman | University Communications intern

Party to honor retiring Ralph Vernacchia to be held in Bellingham May 7

Ralph Vernacchia, a professor in the department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation at Western Washington University and director of the university's Center for Performance Excellence, is retiring.

A party will be throw on his behalf on May 7 at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.

Admittance is $50 per person. Grilled Northwest salmon will be served for dinner; those with dietary restrictions should note those along with their reservation. Cocktails will be served at 6 p.m., and dinner is at 7.

To honor Vernacchia’s lifetime of achievements, a scholarship fund has been created in his name. To make a gift to support this fund, visit and type “Ralph Vernacchia Scholarship” in the gift designation field. Those registering for the May 7 event also can include any gift amount on the same check as the registration fee. All gifts are tax deductible, and 100 percent of any gift will go to the scholarship fund.

RSVP to Kate Kairoff at (360) 650-3055 or

Mail checks made payable to WWU:

Attn: Kate Kairoff
PEHR Department
516 High Street
Bellingham, WA 98225

Monday, April 18, 2011 - 4:48pm

WWU's Center for Performance Excellence offers 'Peak Performance' class Jan. 11. - Feb. 8

Western Washington University’s Center for Performance Excellence will offer its annual Peak Performance class, a five-session course from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday nights from Jan. 11 through Feb. 8 in Academic Instructional Center West 210 on the WWU campus.

The course is intended for everyone interested in enhancing personal or professional performance.

The class costs $50, which includes presentations, a playbook of educational materials, lectures and handouts for each class session.

Students will learn how to achieve in sports, the workplace and their personal lives through mental skills utilized and developed by elite athletic performers.

The course is presented by WWU’s Center for Performance Excellence (CPE) and taught by CPE founder and director Ralph Vernacchia. Vernacchia directs the undergraduate and graduate programs in Sport Psychology at Western.

Vernacchia, one of the nation’s leading experts in applied sport psychology, has been at Western since 1973. His outlook on excellence is drawn from the life experiences of community members, as well as his work with Olympic athletes, sport-psychology professionals, coaches, and community leaders.

Vernacchia has traveled with national track and field teams to several world championships, including the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. His book, “Inner Strength: The Mental Dynamics of Athletic Performance,” was published by Warde Publishers (July 2003) for sport psychology professionals, coaches and athletes who desire to enhance athletic performance through mental skills training.

For more information, including the course registration form, please visit the CPE website,, or either contact Ralph Vernacchia at (360) 650-3514 or or Student Coordinator Kelly Jones at (360) 650-7269.

Monday, January 3, 2011 - 9:53am

Peak Performance class at WWU starts Jan. 11

The annual Peak Performance class, from Western Washington University's Center for Performance Excellence starts Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 10:35am

Ralph Vernacchia to speak on work-life balance at Wellness Program event

Ralph Vernacchia, director of the Center for Performance Excellence and the graduate and undergraduate sport psychology programs at Western Washington University, will speak on finding a healthy balance of work and life at an upcoming Lunch 'n' Learn event from the WWU Wellness Program.

The free event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, in SMATE Room 120 on the WWU campus.

Finding a healthy work-life balance can be difficult, especially during these economic times when people are being asked to do more and more with less and less. Vernacchia's presentation will provide an overview of the lifestyle principles that can promote a healthy work-life balance while incorporating dimensions of wellness to one's life.

Monday, November 8, 2010 - 12:39pm

Just Me and My Pessimism in the ‘Race of Truth’

On the other hand, the type of anxiety we felt when we saw the other riders is also a reason many people steer clear of competitive sports altogether — even a reason many avoid walking into gyms, said Ralph A. Vernacchia, director of the Center for Performance Excellence at Western Washington University.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 9:45am
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