U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Steven Graulau is preparing himself for life after the military by pursuing his bachelor’s degree in sports strength and conditioning from the United States Sports Academy.

Graulau’s dedication to his coursework and attention to details earned the Fort Riley, Kansas, resident the Academy’s Student of the Month honor. Graulau has served the U.S. Army for almost 14 years and when his service ends, he hopes to enter the sports field as a strength and conditioning coach or athletics director.

“I knew that when I retire from the military, I will need a college degree to make sure I can take care of my family,” Graulau said. “So the Academy is perfect for me right now. The sports-centered curriculum is great, because I have always loved sports, and the flexible nature of the program has been great while I’m on active duty.”

Graulau holds an associate’s degree in exercise science and personal training from the International Sports Science Association. He intends to complete his bachelor’s degree, then pursue his Master of Sports Science degree from the Academy before his military retirement.

A husband and father to three children, Graulau is the squad leader for the Soldier Recovery Unit at Fort Riley. He is also a Modern Army Combatives Program Instructor, Special Operations Combatives Instructor, and a Pre/Post-Partum Pregnancy Physical Fitness Trainer. He’s also volunteered as a youth sports coach for volleyball, basketball, softball, and t-ball in his area.

For his mentorship, Graulau is involved with Fort Riley’s Adaptive Reconditioning Program, which consists of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and adaptive reconditioning support specialists through the Soldier Recovery Unit.

“Although the population is military, they range in diagnoses and physical limitations and restrictions – ACL tears, leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, EBOH dependence, and hip fractures,” Graulau said. “The program involves me coaching those soldiers in disc golf, seated volleyball, whatever sport fits their needs. I knew there was a need for something like this, so I’m glad I can help. So often the physical and occupational therapists who visit soldier recovery units are trained in their skill sets to work with the general public, but they aren’t necessarily trained in working with military personnel. I understand what soldiers are going through, so I can assist as a liaison between them and the therapists.”

Graulau holds a Gold Coach License from USA Basketball and is a certified Master Fitness Trainer by the International Sports Sciences Association College of Exercise Science.