Meet the Faculty

Kristen Fedesco

Kristen Fedesco

Assistant Professor of Sport and Recreation Professions

Degrees Held

B.S., The Pennsylvania State University
M.A., The University of New Mexico
Ph.D., The University of New Mexico

Office Location: 205 Batten Student Center
Phone: 757-455-3369
- Recreational Therapy/Sport and Recreation Management

Dr. Kristen Fedesco is an assistant professor in the Department of Sport and Recreation Professions. She received her Ph.D. in Multicultural Teacher and Childhood Education, Educational Leadership & Policy and M.A. in Recreation Administration from the University of New Mexico. Her B.S. is from Penn State University in Therapeutic Recreation. Dr. Fedesco is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a Certified Trauma Support Specialist (CTSS).

Prior to joining the VWU faculty in the fall of 2022, Dr. Fedesco was an autism support specialist, a school-based recreational therapy (RT) practitioner, and a social-emotional learning support provider in the New Mexico (NM) public schools. She has also been an invited guest lecturer and panelist, former NM State Special Education Director, special education coordinator, and educational consultant. Her clinical expertise includes over 20 years of experience practicing as an RT working in early childhood intervention, inclusive programs for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, intensive support programs for students with social, emotional, and behavioral needs, and transition services for young adults in urban and rural communities.

Dr. Fedesco’s research focus and interests are in developing and improving RT interventions for social integration and engagement for individuals with ASD, school-based RT services, RT telehealth services, RT treatment interventions, interprofessional collaboration, policymaking and analysis, disability-related policy, and RT signature pedagogy.

Professional Accomplishments:

  • Research Institute Practice Category Award, American Therapeutic Recreation Association, 2022
  • Advocacy Award, American Therapeutic Recreation Association, 2018
  • Emerging Professional Award, Penn State University, College of Health and Human Development, 2005
  • Emerging Professional Award, Penn State University, Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism, 2005

Fedesco, K., Esse Wilson, J., (in press). Teletherapy or just 'therapy'? Lessons learned from working remotely with students with autism spectrum disorder during Covid-19 school closures. Therapeutic Recreation Journal.

Fedesco, K., Esse Wilson, J., (in press). Battery-powered social engagement: Boosting social cognition and social functioning with adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder using noninvasive brain stimulation. Therapeutic Recreation Journal.

Esse Wilson, J. & Fedesco, K., (2020). What to say after a win or a loss: How social engagement is impacted by choice of conversational patterns during peer-based recreational activities for adolescents with and without autism spectrum disorder. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 54 (4), 32-33.

Fedesco, K., Esse Wilson, J., (2019). School-based recreational therapy and speech-language pathology collaborative research to practice: Harnessing the strengths of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder through systemized movement. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 53 (4), 51-53.

Fedesco, K. (2018). School-Based Recreational Therapy Services. American Therapeutic Recreation Association Newsletter, 34 (4), 13.

Passmore, T., Devries, D., Kavanaugh, T., and Fedesco, K. (2016). Coverage of Recreational Therapy: The Rules and Regulations 3rd Edition. American Therapeutic Recreation Association. Hattiesburg, MS.