Jess Kirby, PhD

Jess Kirby headshot

Jess Kirby, PhD

Assistant Professor, UCCS Health Sciences


Jess Kirby is the CCSS Director and an Assistant Professor in the UCCS Health Sciences department, specializing in sport psychology and health and wellness promotion. Dr. Kirby is the program director of the Mountain Lion Strong program at UCCS, aimed at supporting the well-being, resilience, and mental health of all UCCS student-athletes through comprehensive wellness education and a community of support. Dr. Kirby's research focuses on exploring the sport and physical activity experiences of diverse individuals across the lifespan, as well as the impact of social connection and quality peer relationships on the psychological well-being of young adults. She is a certified QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper trainer and a GRIT Resilience Coach. Her mission is to create culture change across sport that removes the stigma on mental health and elevates athlete well-being and human-centered coaching as the number one priority of sports organizations. She specializes in qualitative and arts-based research methods including narrative, ethnography, portraiture, and research poetry.

Featured Publications

  • Kirby, J.B. (2021). Fastest on the playground: Four generations of female sport experience. The Qualitative Report, 26(8), 2558-2576.
  • Kirby, J.B., & Kluge, M.A. (2021). For the love of the game: An exploration of the Experiences and Psychosocial Development of Women Over 70 Years Old Who Play Volleyball. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, (in press).
  • Kirby, J.B., Roberts, S., Coakley, J., Stanec, A. & Gormley, G. (2019). Why Women’s Wrestling, Why Now: White paper on the current state of wrestling and the benefits of developing women’s wrestling programs. UCCS Center for Critical Sport Studies & Wrestle Like a Girl.