AU alumni win National Athletic Trainers Association award

Wed, 2014-04-02 10:47 -- univcomm
April 2, 2014

Water boys, personal trainers, and doctors are just several stereotypes associated with athletic trainers. Last February, four Anderson University students battled these stereotypes through a video submitted to the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). The video won “Most Creative” in a competition between various athletic training programs from across the country.

Recent AU athletic training graduates Elizabeth Buck, Todd Johnson, Erin Leaver, and Zachary Sovine, began the video as a senior seminar project for Dr. Christina Merckx, director of the athletic training education and associate professor of kinesiology. Merckx also served as the faculty advisor for the NATA competition.

Before the submission to NATA, the students worked hard to create an idea for their project. “One of the class projects is to create something that will cause the campus to recognize national athletic training month, which is in March,” said Sovine. “As my classmates and I were brainstorming, we decided to make a video that resembled some popular memes on social media at the time, which were the ‘What I Really Do’ memes.”

After six hours of shooting, the video consisted of six scenes that were edited into a cohesive video. During this project, the students were able to come together and work as a team. “The group dynamic was awesome,” said Sovine. “Everyone contributed ideas and we had a blast making the video.”

The process of making the video was an exciting experience that all the team members valued. “In our program, the class that continues on to senior year becomes your greatest friends and the people you spend the most time with,” said Leaver. “We had nearly every class together through our four years at Anderson, so spending a few hours together working on a video was more enjoyable than anything. We spent more time laughing than anything else because we were excited about the possibilities this video had.”

Post-graduation, the members of the group received word that their video had won “Most Creative” in the competition. Misty Chastain, assistant professor of kinesiology and clinical coordinator for athletic training, traveled to Las Vegas to accept the award for them at the NATA convention. “This was the first time we had students send anything in for a competition like that, so to have them win one of the three awards given by NATA was a big deal,” said Merckx.

The video is featured on YouTube along with other submissions to the competition, but the video is not all the alumni have to show for their hard work. “We also have a trophy that is now displayed at AU,” said Sovine.

Upon receiving the award, the students were also featured in NATA’s monthly periodical. “Now that they have had a taste of this, we’ve had some really big things happen in the department,” said Merckx. “I am so proud of them.”

— Lydia Hawley is a senior from Ohio majoring in communication arts with a focus on public relations. Hawley is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.