Studying sports management at the United States Sports Academy runs in the blood for Student of the Month Carmen Ward.

Ward, of Pace, Fla., is pursuing her Bachelor of Sports Science degree in sports management from the Academy. Her brother, Allen Ward, also earned his bachelor’s degree from the institution in 2015.

“I studied somewhere else when I graduated from high school, but I always knew I wanted to do something in sports for my career,” Ward said. “I knew that my brother had a really good experience studying at the Academy, and of course he encouraged me to try it out. My experience has been wonderful so far.”

Ward works as a paraprofessional at S.S. Dixon Intermediate School in her hometown of Pace, Fla. There, she serves as a teaching assistant in the physical education department.

“Nothing I study at the Academy is ‘dry.’ Everything has been interesting and so many things I’ve studied in my classes, I’ve been able to use in my work,” she said. “All of my professors have been very helpful and attentive. In my previous college experience, the professors were very impersonal and it was hard to really reach them when I needed help. That’s not the case at the Academy, at all.

“The Academy has also been great for me because I work during the day, so being able to take classes when I get home in the evenings has been very helpful. The Academy is perfect for someone like me who works full time and wants to get their degree.”

A former softball and basketball player at Pace High School, Ward hopes to become a full time elementary school physical education teacher once she finishes her degree.

“I’ve always been a sport fan and I absolutely love what I do right now,” she said. “I’m excited about being able to have a career doing something I love.”