KNPE scholarships impact lives

Corina Salinas

Corina Salinas

Corina Salinas played sports in high school and college, including track and water polo.

“With any athlete, you’re always going to be in some sort of pain. It just depends on your perception of that pain,” says Salinas, a fifth-year senior from the South Side of Chicago. “That always intrigued me. Every human being has a different perception of pain, and a different level of pain. I wanted to learn more.”

Katherine Kendall had her eyes on a career in nursing. She took all the right courses at Illinois Valley College and worked as a CNA in a local nursing home and hospital, but soon discovered “something missing.”

“It didn’t fit me,” says Kendall, a senior from Mendota, Ill. “I shadowed everyone in the physical therapy department, and I instantly connected with the athletic trainers and the goals they set for their profession. I completely fell in love with athletic training from then on.”

Katherine Kendall

Katherine Kendall

Salinas and Kendall both followed their passions to the NIU Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, where they are recipients this year of Lela Trager Scholarships worth $5,000 each.

Other Lela Trager recipients this year are Hillary Allton, Katie Dyke, Samantha Galicia, Karlie Grove, Brianna Kraft, Ariel Russell, Laura Tuma and Mary Welch. Total scholarship dollars awarded to KNPE students this year exceed $75,000.

“We are blessed to have many donors to KNPE who are so generous with their financial support,” department chair Chad McEvoy says. “These gifts are truly impactful in assisting our high-quality students and their families in their ability to pay for school.”

For Salinas, the Lela Trager has allowed her to quit half of her part-time jobs.

“I used to have four on-campus jobs, working day and night. I woke up early to open the pool, and I worked late at night to close the front desk,” Salinas says.

“Now I have only two jobs, which has opened up time for studying and made a difference in my homework and exams. I also have more time for myself to stay physically active, and I’m actually staying sane because I’m getting more sleep.”

The native Spanish speaker, who transferred to NIU from Monmouth College, hopes to work on the athletic training team at NASA.

Corina Salinas

Corina Salinas

“I’m really reaching for the stars,” she says. “It’s just fascinating to me how astronauts come back inches taller, and can’t go on with their daily activities because of the gravitational pull. For them to live their lives without any struggles, it’s very important for us to understand how outer space modifies their bodies.”

She believes the program is preparing her well.

“There’s just a lot thrown at you as a student. No matter what, I’m always learning something – in clinicals, in class, in labs. Everywhere I turn, there’s always an opportunity to learn something new, and that’s the beauty of it all,” she says.

“Professionalism is a huge part of athletic training, and they’re really good at portraying that to us,” she adds. “We’re representing ourselves as professionals in the field. We’re representing NIU, the program we’re in and athletic trainers all over the world. We don’t train people on exercise. We help people therapeutically and rehabilitate them.”

Meanwhile, she’s found confidence to step out of her comfort zone.

“A go-getter is what people call me nowadays,” Salinas says. “I’m going after what I love, and being passionate about what I want.”

For Kendall, who also received $1,000 from the college-awarded EXCEL (Extending College of Education Learning) Fund, simply talking about the impact of scholarships stirs raw emotions.

“Honestly, these are the first scholarships I’ve ever won, and I even cried a little bit. I was absolutely ecstatic to see those acceptance letters,” she says.

“I was able to take less of a workload – last semester, I was working four jobs and going to school full time. It was a very hard struggle for me,” she adds. “With the scholarships, I’m really able to make my last semester of academic classes go by so much smoother.”

Katherine Kendall

Katherine Kendall

Kendall’s recent clinical site – the NIU Huskies football team – was an exciting one.

“I absolutely love the atmosphere,” she says. “I definitely can see myself doing that in the future, maybe at a Division I college. I don’t want to limit myself to football, but I do enjoy the high volume of work.”

She’s also considering graduate school and even a civilian career in athletic training for the U.S. military. An internship at a U.S. Naval base in North Carolina this semester is offering her a glimpse at that career, which is an emerging field away from the sports field.

No matter what direction she chooses, she is confident in the preparation the NIU College of Education is providing.

“One of the top qualities in not just the athletic training program, but in the KNPE department in general, is that you can go to any professor or instructor and say, ‘Hey, I really need help with this,’ and they’re always happy to help you,” she says. “They’re really motivated to get you on the path you want to go.”

Daily lessons turn quickly into applied knowledge, she adds.

After the first semester of observing athletic trainers at work, she says, “the great thing about the AT program is that, with all the classes you take, you’re also set into a clinical rotation.”

“Everything you’re learning in the classroom you’re able to experience hands-on at your clinical site, whether it’s lower extremity that second semester, applying those special tests or performing those evals,” she says, “or fourth semester, taking general medicine, looking at different medications and listening to heart and lung sounds.”

Preceptors at clinical sites offer more perspective.

“You can take what you’re learning in your lectures and say, ‘Hey, we learned this. How does this work? How do you use this in your day-to-day life?’ I’m seeing that everything applicable to my future as a certified athletic trainer, and literally everything that I learn is applied into my daily work at the clinical setting.”

Chad McEvoy, Abigail Omerza and Yoshi Takei

Chad McEvoy, Abigail Omerza and Yoshi Takei

KNPE Scholarship Recipients

Lela Trager Scholarship ($5,000)
2016-17: Hillary Allton, Katie Dyke, Samantha Galicia, Karlie Grove, Katherine Kendall, Brianna Kraft, Ariel Russell, Corina Salinas, Laura Tuma, Mary Welch
2017-18: Kaitlin Allen, Hillary Allton, Jazmyn Anderson, Carissa Atiles, Mary Bailey, Jade Gray, Grace Harris, Ashley Horn, Kelsey Knake, Brianna Kraft, Sarah Llort, Christina Pitts, Maria Reyes, Ariel Russell, Corina Salinas, Emily Siekiersi, Kristina Wenk

Tim Gullikson Education Memorial Scholarship ($3,510, awarded by the college)
2016-17: Richard Snedeker
2017-18: Craig Kelly, Annie Malecki

Miriam Anderson Scholarship ($2,250)
2016-17: Aaron Essex, Craig Kelly, Amber Mysliwiec
2017-18: Ashley Horn, Craig Kelly, Annie Malecki, Kristina Wenk

Margaret May Duncan Scholarship ($2,200)
2016-17: Kristina Wenk
2017-18: Sarah Llort

Lou Jean Moyer Scholarship ($1,500)
2016-17: Donovan Benson, Jeffrey Nicholls
2017-18: Christian Cores, Josh Henley, Annie Malecki

Physical Education Scholarship ($1,500)
2016-17: Anna Ostrander
2017-18: Sarah Paver

Stroup-Dunn Scholarship ($1,300)
2016-17: Abigail Omerza
2017-18: Luis Hernandez

Dr. Joan Popp Scholarship ($1,200)
2016-17: Anna Ostrander
2017-18: Emily Siekierski

Nikita Lopez and Paul Wright

Nikita Lopez and Paul Wright

Linda Kay Barnes Scholarship ($1,100)
2016-17: Sharon Moskowitz
2017-18: Sarah Paver

EXCEL (Extending College of Education Learning) Fund ($1,000, awarded by the college)
2016-17: Mackenzie Baird, Katherine Kendall, Chris Orange

Elizabeth Patterson Scholarship ($1,000)
2016-17: John Neal
2017-18: Chris Orange

SHAPE Major of the Year ($1,000)
2016-17: Anna Ostrander
2017-18: TBA

Al Kranz Scholarship ($900)
2016-17: Max Finley
2017-18: Grant Panzella, Dong Park

Circle of Gold – classes of 1949-1953 ($900, awarded by the college)
2016-17: Anna Ostrander

Samuel and Adelaide Rockwood Scholarship ($800, awarded by the college)
2016-17: Ariel Russell
2017-18: Vashae Easley, Jade Gray

Judith Bischoff Scholarship ($600)
2016-17: Nicholas Minogue, Grant Panzella
2017-18: Nicholas Maruyama, Ross William

Huskie Award ($150)
2016-17: Nikita Lopez
2017-18: TBA

Outstanding Student Awards ($100)
2016-17: Davoncie Granderson (B.S. Kinesiology), Kayla Hierholzer (M.S.Ed.), Nikita Lopez (Physical Education), Samantha Lucente (Athletic Training), Connor Schomig (Sport Management)
2017-18: TBA

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