Get My Job: Spotlight on Athletic Training
In this Nexus series, Get My Job, we interview alumni and faculty from one of the University’s 160-plus undergraduate and graduate professional programs. The latest installment features MS in athletic training alumnus Donald Smith.
In honor of March being National Athletic Training Month, The Nexus interviewed 2019 athletic training grad Donald Smith. He’s currently the head strength and conditioning coach and certified athletic trainer for Georgian Court University in New Jersey.
Why did you decide to pursue athletic training at Jefferson?
I believed Jefferson would provide the education I needed to become a skilled practitioner. I saw ample opportunity and a strong curriculum, which would be challenging and rewarding. The faculty and staff were engaged and provided great direction to help guide my decision. It was easy to feel welcomed.
How did this program prepare you to enter the field?
This program gave me the foundation and confidence I needed to enter a fast-moving, eclectic profession. It not only offered a strong educational foundation but fostered the characteristics that allowed me to excel as an athletic trainer: compassion, courage and honesty. Jefferson’s program provided me with the tools to be a leader.
What was your career path to your current position?
I began my undergraduate career in sport and exercise psychology, with a minor in strength and conditioning from West Virginia University. I worked in rehabilitation clinics, both inpatient and outpatient. During this time, I continued to coach and further prepare to obtain a professional degree. After leaving Jefferson, I now use my combined skills in athletic training and strength and conditioning to provide care to student-athletes at the collegiate level.
What are your favorite parts of your job?
Acting as a facilitator for student-athletes to improve in their health, performance and well-being. I enjoy being the day-to-day provider for student-athletes.
What’s your one piece of advice for students considering entering this major or profession?
Never stop learning. Take chances and create opportunity. Let those around you see you embrace the same mindset that you try to build with them.
What’s an interesting fact about you?
I enjoy the outdoors and try to ski in a different location each winter.