DAPHNE, Ala. – United States Sports Academy Doctoral Teaching Assistant Ms. Tonya Butler-Collins served as one of the presenters at the 2nd Annual Women Veterans Reunion and Empowerment Conference 27 March 2015 at Kennesaw (Ga.) State University, speaking on nutrition, the power of movement and women veterans in academia – all areas in which she has expertise and experience.

Enrolled in the Academy’s Doctor of Education in Sports Management Program (Ed.D.) and holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of Georgia, Butler-Collins has taught classes in health, physical education and recreation for more than 10 years at the higher education level. She is a Gulf War veteran, having received several medals for her service, during her six-year stint in the U.S. Army, and has published a number of articles and made several presentations on health and fitness.

At this national event, Butler-Collins was able to not only talk directly to individual women and men, but also answer many questions they had on the topics at hand, such as “simplifying your life” and “looking at food as giving life, fuel and a necessary resource to carry on.” Utilizing the small-workshop format, she got members of the audience on their feet, shaking and moving their bodies at one point, along with getting those limited to chair activity to be active as well – all with the intent to get people to realize they need to honor their bodies and actually be selfless, not selfish, by taking better care of themselves so others will not have to in the future.

Changing perspective was a key point in her speech, whereby the veterans were encouraged to not look at their disabilities as obstacles, but opportunities to do something new and a chance to celebrate success with that.

Butler-Collins discussed her path to furthering her education through Vocational Rehabilitation, the Montgomery G.I. Bill and scholarships, pointing out that other veterans following such educational pursuits could create more opportunities for themselves.

The Academy is America’s largest graduate program in sports education offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates in sport-specific programs. For more information about the United States Sports Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu.