ATSS: Starting the Path to Your Dream Job

June 30, 2022 by Claire Williams

Athletic training students at the 73rd NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo got a taste of post-graduate life during a full slate of educational sessions curated just for them at the Athletic Training Student Seminar. The NATA Student Leadership Committee organizes the annual event to give students a more in-depth look at the profession and to start networking.

ATSS kicked off with the Otho Davis Keynote June 30 featuring Katy Rogers, MS, LAT, ATC, an assistant athletic trainer with the NFL North Carolina Panthers. Rogers’s presentation, “Paving the Path to Your Dream Job,” focused on her experience as an early professional who forged her way to her dream job with grit and determination and offered ways the attending students could work toward theirs.

“Work hard, have true intentions for people, hold onto your integrity,” she said. “Each and every single person has their own path and their own journey, and there’s no right or wrong journey – but it’s all about the journey.”

Rogers’s experience provided a relatable and realistic look at the job search process, which isn’t something that all students are guaranteed to learn in the classroom. The SLC Planning Subcommittee curated ATSS at NATA 2022 to focus on topics specific to athletic training students, such as job searching, transition to practice and work-life balance, which are commonly referenced as areas of improvement for early career professionals.

In her presentation, Rogers tied personal anecdotes to learning experiences that any athletic training student could apply to their own career path, and emphasized the importance of making connections and developing mentorships. By sharing the philosophies that guide her success, Rogers offered attendees new ways to prioritize what they valued most when job searching.

She used an analogy of personal and professional values as rubber and glass balls.

“Everything that you value in your life – if you’re going to drop a ball, which ball are you going to drop?” she asked, encouraging the attendees to think about what values are most important to them. “The rubber ball will bounce back up. If you drop that glass ball, it will shatter, it will crack – it’s your family, it’s your friends. You need to decide what is your rubber ball and what is your glass ball.”

Rogers also outlined best practices for applying and interviewing for jobs that were helpful in her own job search process. She encouraged ATs find what it is that makes them stand out, and highlight that in their résumés. She encouraged ATs to be genuine in their interviews and be prepared with research about the organization before going in.

Although an early professional, Rogers’s experience from AT student to professional football AT showed students just how far and how quickly grit, having a positive attitude and the drive to always keep getting better can push you.

Before closing, Rogers left ATSS attendees with some key takeaways:

  • Understand your “why” in everything you do
  • Be the grittiest person you know
  • Listen more than you talk
  • Be a good teammate
  • Get involved and network
  • Be a lifelong learner

Also at the ATSS keynote, SLC presented the 2022 Chuck Kimmel First-Time Attendee Award winners with personalized certificates. The purpose of the Chuck Kimmel First-Time Attendee Award, named in honor of NATA Hall of Fame member Chuck Kimmel, AT Ret., who has provided students with opportunities throughout his career as an educator, head athletic trainer and NATA past president. As an extension of respect and gratitude, the NATA SLC offers the Chuck Kimmel First-Time Attendee Award to help more students attend the NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo.

Kimmel was in attendance at the ATSS keynote to present the winners their certificates. The 2022 award winners are:

  • Aric Airitum
  • Katelyn Faulk
  • Megan Heff
  • Kemba Seals

After the keynote, ATSS split into Breakout Sessions featuring Jeff Konin, PhD, ATC, FNATA, Kysha Harriell, PhD, LAT, ATC, Jason Bennett, DA, ATC, and Dana White, MS, RD, ATC, who presented on various topics relevant to students, including clinching a job offer and creating a healthy work-life balance.

Additionally, ATSS hosted a musculoskeletal ultrasound workshop sponsored by the National Basketball Athletic Trainers’ Association in the afternoon. While much of ATSS focuses on professional growth as ATs, the ultrasound workshop provided an opportunity to see firsthand a specialized techniques.

To close out the seminar, ATSS is also hosting the Non-Foundational Settings Career Panel 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. July 1 in Marriott Grand B for a conversation with athletic training professionals who are utilizing their athletic training skill sets in unique ways.