Five Convention Experiences for Students

April 12, 2024 by Lydia Hicks
75 Things To Know About Convention, Five Experiences for Students

The 75th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo, June 25-28 in New Orleans, is approaching – and registration is open. As athletic trainers look forward to this iconic annual event in AT history, NATA Now is highlighting “75 Things To Know About Convention.”

For students, the NATA convention is packed with opportunities to connect with experienced ATs, potential employers and peers from around the country. Not only will students get to “CelebrATe 75” with a host of events during NATA 2024, they’ll also enjoy state-of-the-art sessions from top AT educators and thought leaders from around the world.

Here are five of several experiences set up for students at convention this year. Learn more about student-specific programming as well as everything NATA 2024 has to offer on the convention website.


1. Start Your Day at the Daily Opening Sessions

Each day NATA 2024 will kick off with all attendees coming together to learn about association updates from leadership and hear from special guests at the Morial Convention Center. Learn more in the Schedule section of the convention website.

2. Attend the Athletic Training Student Seminar

During convention, noncertified students have exclusive access to industry thought leaders during the Athletic Training Student Seminar.

Coordinated by the NATA Student Leadership Committee, the ATSS theme this year is “How To Navigate Through Adversity, Turning Detours Into Destinations.” The theme is relevant to AT students as it equips them with education, knowledge and resources to overcome obstacles in their transition to practice, said Diane Zashin, SLC’s District Six representative and chair of the SLC planning subcommittee.

For more details and the full schedule, visit the Student Programming webpage of the convention website. Also, read more about ATSS in the March NATA News.

3. Engage at the New AT Expo Opening AND Closing Celebrations

The world’s largest showcase of products and services for the athletic training profession, the AT Expo will celebrate convention with a new twist: opening and closing ceremonies and unrestricted exhibit hours.

Celebrate the opening of the AT Expo and the exhibitors supporting the athletic training profession from 8:45 to 9 a.m. June 26. Don’t miss the opportunity during the closing ceremony from 4:30 to 5 p.m. June 27 to thank our exhibitors.

“The AT Expo doesn’t just include products, it also includes many job opportunities,” said SLC Chair Kayla Jo Bittle. “Students are allowed to network with exhibitors, future employers, other students and professionals while walking through the expo hall.”

With more than 250 exhibitors and more than 425 exhibit booths, the AT Expo will feature giveaways and ample time to explore the show floor and conduct business.

4. Meet and Mingle at the NATA Happy Hour

The NATA Happy Hour, from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. June 25 at the Morial Convention Center, is NATA 2024 attendees’ first chance to network after arriving in New Orleans. Pick up your convention badge at registration and kick off your convention experience by grabbing a complimentary drink (beer, wine, or non-alcoholic) at the NATA Happy Hour.

“[NATA 2024] registrants can connect with friends, colleagues and peers at a personal level before we fully kick off the next morning during the first of the daily opening sessions,” said NATA Director of Meeting Management Lori Marker. “We will also have designated meetup spots for groups to allow people to find their tribe, intentionally seek out others in another group of interest to them or just mingle in the ‘middle’ with the masses.”

Students will not only get to meet and mingle with their peers, but also ATs in the collegiate, secondary school and emerging settings, as well as young professionals.

“It’s OK to be nervous; everyone in that room was in your position at one point and they are more than happy to help you feel a little bit more at ease in this environment,” Bittle said.

After the NATA Happy Hour, head to your District Meeting at 6:30 p.m. to connect at a local level with district friends and receive important updates before heading out to enjoy the city.

5. Participate with Peers at the NATA Quiz Bowl

A Jeopardy-style competition, the 15th annual NATA Quiz Bowl is from 4 to 5 p.m. June 26. Each year, teams of students representing their districts test their athletic training knowledge during the quiz bowl.

“Although you may not be participating in the quiz bowl with your school or district, students can still play and answer the questions with peers,” Bittle said. “I have attended this event the past two years and have met multiple friends and peers at this event.”