United States Sports Academy January 2020 Student of the Month Ciara Taylor said the institution’s flexible learning options have helped in her career as a high school athletic trainer in Birmingham, Ala.

Taylor is in her third year in the Academy’s Doctor of Education degree program in sports management. She works as an athletic trainer for Oak Mountain (Ala.) High School through PlaySafe, a non-profit organization that provides essential sports medicine services to youth, community, and secondary schools in the Birmingham area.

“The Academy has been great because it is so flexible,” Taylor said. “As a high school athletic trainer, almost all of my work is in the afternoons and evenings. The Academy allows me to do my school work in the mornings before I go to work. I can study during the day, then work at night. The self-paced, flexible schedule is perfect for me. “

Taylor will work with Oak Mountain’s Athletic Training teacher – devising lesson plans and learning the academic side of athletic training – for her spring doctoral mentorship program from the Academy.

“I love athletic training because you get to make a real difference in an athlete’s life,” Taylor said. “You see these athletes at their most vulnerable time, when they are injured, and you get to walk with them and guide them on their journey to recovery. I love the healthcare aspect to athletic training, and I love being able to help people.

“Also, athletic training is a diverse and growing field. There are jobs for women, minorities, and really anyone out there interested in helping people.

Taylor was recently selected as one of the Academy’s ambassadors to the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAICU) and will attend an upcoming student conference on the institution’s behalf. She’s also the District 9 Secondary School Athletic Trainers representative for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.