Call her the triple crown winner of athletic training.
Kelsey Jaeschke has capped off her senior year as just the second Nebraska Wesleyan University student to sweep state, regional and national honors in her field.
Jaeschke, of Kenesaw, Neb., has won the Nebraska State Athletic Training Scholarship, the Mid-America Athletic Training Scholarship, and the National Athletic Training Scholarship. The senior also earned the Chuck Kimmel First Time Attendee National Scholarship at the 2019 National Athletic Training Association convention.
“Each scholarship required multiple letters of recommendation,” said Jaeschke who acknowledged all of the university’s athletic trainers and faculty who helped her along the way. “They were always there to take time out of their day to help me. I couldn’t have done it without any of them.”
Jaeschke has always dreamed of becoming a physical therapist, but realized that pursuing an athletic training degree first would allow her to achieve that goal in a way that would optimize a hands-on approach. A three-sport athlete in high school, she recalled how her own high school shared an athletic trainer with nine other conference schools. Accustomed to the standard first aid, buckets of ice, and tape jobs by her coaches, Jaeschke realized that athletic training is important and necessary.
At Nebraska Wesleyan University, Jaeschke was first exposed to the athletic training program as a member of the women’s basketball team where she often spent more time with trainers than on the court.
“Spending practices with both the certified trainers and students, I learned what they all liked and disliked. But more importantly, they taught me a new way of learning,” Jaeschke said.
She wasted no time gaining professional experience.
“I made sure to be present in the program so that I could experience all parts of the profession,” she said.
At NWU she assisted the football, volleyball, men’s basketball, cross country, track & field, and baseball and softball teams. Off campus, she gained clinical experience with Lincoln East High School’s fall sports teams and the Lincoln Youth Football League. Additionally, she spent a summer working for Varsity Spirit where she traveled across the United States to provide first aid for cheer and dance camps and competitions. Last summer, she participated in a similar experience at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
While gaining professional experience, Jaeschke also developed her leadership skills, serving as vice president and then president of NWU’s Athletic Training Student Association.
“They forced me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to be a leader in my program,” she said.
Jaeschke’s triple honors follows on the footsteps of 2017 graduate Kelsey Bahe, who was the first student in the state to win all three athletic training honors.
“When I started the AT program, I would have never guessed the success I have encountered,” said Jaeschke. “I’m not sure many other students have accomplished this so the fact that NWU has had two students with so much success, is amazing. It says a lot about the quality of our program.”
Jaeschke now heads to the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Neb., where he will attend graduate school for physical therapy.
Story by Danielle Anderson, public relations intern