Yvette Figueroa, PhD

Assistant Professor
Sam Houston State University
AWIS member since 2023

“Don’t be afraid to say no.”

Yvette Figueroa

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

Being a leader is about serving others. It is about creating an environment where people feel valued, respected, and supported, and where they can thrive and reach their full potential. Being a good listener, being open to feedback, and being willing to admit when you are wrong are vital leadership qualities. When you serve others, you create a sense of loyalty and commitment.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?

My most important career achievement is being a first-generation PhD in a male-dominated field.

Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.

Being a leader in female human performance and sports science research, while mentoring others from underrepresented groups. I would love to contribute to the field of strength and conditioning by conducting more research and publishing my findings. I am passionate about the science of human performance, and I would like to share my knowledge with others that may benefit from it. I am excited to see what the future holds for me in strength and conditioning, and I am committed to making a positive impact on the lives of the athletes I work with.

What is your favorite word? (only one word)


How do you define it?

The ability to face adversity, being vulnerable, and taking the initiative to overcome obstacles.

How has this word influenced or inspired your career?

Courage has provided the drive to be a part of groups where I have traditionally been unwelcome.

How does AWIS impact your career journey?

AWIS has provided me with resources and a community where women can support each other and find new opportunities for career development.

What are you currently reading or listening to?

How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb.

What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid to say no.

Yvette Figueroa, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Sam Houston State University and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Her specialties are in strength and conditioning, human performance, and female athletes. Dr. Figueroa is heavily passionate and is involved in a plethora of research pertaining to the study of athletic performance. She teaches courses related to applied exercise science, strength training, and exercise physiology. She is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, having served on advisory boards and special interest groups that work to organize clinics and events for professional development.