Lauren Hedges was one of the United States Sports Academy’s first enrollees for its inaugural Freshman class that kicked off in January 2021. Now, after months of hard work in her Bachelor of Sports Science (B.S.S.) degree courses, Hedges was named the Academy’s latest Student of the Month.

A resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, Hedges is working on her B.S.S. degree in sports strength and conditioning and she hopes to use that education to pursue a career in personal training and fitness.

A mother and personal trainer in the Salt Lake City area, Hedges is part of the Academy’s first group of four-year bachelor’s degree students. Founded as a graduate school of sport in 1972, the Academy admitted its first upper-division, degree completion bachelor’s degree students in the Fall semester of 2004. Last year, the Academy’s application for four-year bachelor’s status was approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The landmark change meant that the institution now admits freshmen for a four-year B.S.S. degree program and teaching general educational core curriculum courses.

“As a full-time working mother, I really appreciate the 24/7 access to my courses,” Hedges said. “The program has been wonderful for me, not only because I’m working and raising a family, but also because the information I’m learning has been immediately beneficial to my career. My favorite course so far was anatomy and physiology, it was immediately applicable and the layout and information were engaging. I was really able to dive into the material.”

A longtime dancer and fitness enthusiast, Hedges became interested in strength and conditioning as a profession after the birth of her son.

“My interest in fitness was recharged after the birth of my son,” Hedges said. “At first I pursued it for my own benefit, but the more I got into it I realized it was something I could do as a career to the benefit of others. I would love to work as a strength coach at the high school or college level, somewhere where I could help athletes reach their full potential.”