Fitness coach will teach boxing to women in Dubai

By Lilja Jonsson, Adminstrative Services

jessica-whitt-webPULLMAN, Wash. – A University Recreation instructor who grew up spending summers in Dubai will return to the Middle Eastern city in December to teach women to become Pink Gloves Boxing instructors.

“This is more than just a fitness class; this is the empowerment of women,” said Jessica Whitt, assistant director of fitness services and instruction at Washington State University. The Pink Gloves Boxing program encourages teamwork, community-building and personal growth through high intensity boxing movements.

WSU is the second university worldwide to offer Pink Gloves Boxing at a student recreation center.

The program’s first training camp in Dubai follows one that founders Garret Garrels and Nick Milodragovich conducted in Kuwait. When Whitt heard of plans for the Dubai camp, she approached the founders about participating.

“I knew Dubai before it was big,” she said, recalling the 10 childhood summers spent there visiting her father. “It is completely cosmopolitan now. There were no islands, no huge sky rises; it was pretty bare bones.”

WSU’s partnership with Pink Gloves Boxing began several years ago when UREC program director Joanne Greene met Garrels and Milodragovich. She was intrigued by the aspect of building a supportive community of women who were committed to bettering themselves around fitness.

“We are always looking for new programming for our students, especially programs that meet our philosophy of being inclusive, goal-oriented, safe and community building,” she said.

WSU became the second university to implement the program and the first to provide participants with boxing equipment for free.

Whitt said traveling to Dubai will better educate her about creating inclusive programming when she returns to UREC. In Dubai, her goal is to establish a solid training camp for instructors to continue the program.

For more information about inclusivity and diversity in UREC programming, visit


News media contacts:
Jessica Whitt, WSU University Recreation, 509-335-7497,
Joanne Greene, WSU University Recreation, 509-335-9969,