Sarah Malykke

Degree: B.A. Psychology

College: College of Arts, Sciences & Education

College: Honors College

Born and raised in Denmark, Sarah Malykke had one goal in life, to become a world-class athlete in taekwondo. As a daughter of two taekwondo black belts, she loved the sport from a young age.

By the age of 10, Sarah became the youngest black belt taekwondo athlete in Denmark. With her father as her trainer, Sarah became a gold and silver medalist at the European Championships and was ranked as No. 1 in the world as a junior athlete at age 14. At 18, she was ranked as No. 6 in the world for senior athletes.

At 19, Sarah was on track to live out her dream as a full-time Olympic athlete in taekwondo. Representing Denmark, she moved to Miami to train with the US National team. She ultimately retired before the Tokyo Olympics, postponed due to the pandemic, were rescheduled. With time to reflect on her own experiences, she began to wonder why athletes often fail to perform when the stakes are highest. At age 22, she returned to school to find an answer to this question.

With a mentorship from FIU psychology Assistant Professor George Buzzell and under the Advanced Research and Creativity in Honors (ARCH) program through the Honors College, Sarah completed her thesis. Her research focused on cognitive control, error monitoring and neural impact of social observation in the context of sports, which has potential implications for understanding why athletes “choke under pressure.”

Sarah graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Next, she will pursue a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience at George Washington University.

Nathalie Medina
Junior Account Manager
College of Arts, Sciences & Education