Three Nebraska Wesleyan University Athletic Training majors have been honored with state and national awards.
Said Mendez, a junior from Columbus, Neb., and Payton Swanson, a senior from Lincoln, Neb., are among 65 athletic training majors from across the country to be recognized with the National Athletic Training Association Scholarship. Kierstin Niemeyer, a junior from Lincoln, Neb., has received regional recognition.
In addition to the national honors, Mendez has been awarded the Nebraska State Athletic Training Association Scholarship and the Mid-American Athletic Training Association Scholarship, making him the third student in program history to win all three athletic training awards.
As an athletic training student at Nebraska Wesleyan, Mendez has assisted the football, men’s soccer, men’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams. He has also participated in clinical experiences at Lincoln East High School, Havelock Physical Therapy, University of Nebraska Lincoln Injury and Prevention Care Center and Snyder Physical Therapy.
“The preceptors have been a huge part of all of this,” said Mendez. “They are always willing to help and support in any way they can in order to help us achieve our goals. They have provided a wide variety of opportunities and challenges in order for us to grow as students in the clinic and the classroom.”
Mendez is applying to physical therapy programs with plans to work as a physical therapist and aid high schools and community events as an athletic trainer.
Swanson’s athletic training experience includes seven NWU sports teams, local physical therapy clinics and high schools in Lincoln.
“These opportunities have allowed me to experience the field of athletic training in its numerous and unique forms, she said.
She said her interest in athletic training was confirmed during her first year at NWU after multiple first-hand experiences early in her studies. Following graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for occupational therapy.
Niemeyer is the recipient of the Mid-American Athletic Training Association Scholarship. Her experiences have included the football, women’s soccer and softball teams. She has had clinical rotations at Lincoln North Star, Lincoln East and Lincoln Southeast high schools and at Lincoln Orthopedic Physical Therapy.
“After getting to shadow students in the classroom during my first year and observing how textbook education from the classroom setting was transferred over to practical education use in the clinical setting, I knew that this was the program I wanted to be part of,” said Niemeyer.
“The faculty has done a phenomenal job in preparing myself and my peers for achieving future goals and aspirations in the field of sports medicine,” she added.
Niemeyer plans to attend medical school and specialize in orthopedics.