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Arnold School of Public Health


Coming full circle. May graduate returns to former high school as athletic trainer

April 19, 2018 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

It’s only fitting that Samantha Sedivy would return to her old high school outside Raleigh, North Carolina for her first position as an athletic trainer. It is, after all, where she first developed an interest in the profession.

For Sedivy, it all began with a sports medicine class where she learned about the athletic training profession from Fuquay Varina High School’s certified athletic trainer, Heather Pagel. She also had the opportunity to work alongside Pagel with different sports teams at the high school.

I fell in love with the profession and decided this was something I really wanted to pursue further,” says Sedivy, who will return to Fuquay Varina High School as an assistant athletic trainer after her May graduation. “Being able to return to the same place to work where I got my start is a rewarding opportunity.”

USC wasn’t originally on Sedivy’s radar for her undergraduate degree until she started hearing about it from some friends who planned to become Gamecocks. Her subsequent research quickly made her aware of Carolina’s strong athletic training program (housed in the exercise science department since 2016), and she decided to meet with clinical associate professor and undergraduate program director Jim Mensch.

“He let me sit in on a class, sold me on the program, and is one of the main reasons I decided to attend USC,” says Sedivy of Mensch, who remained a mentor throughout her tenure as an undergraduate. “Dr. Mensch is always there for you to give you advice and help you figure out plans for the future.”

During her program, Sedivy connected with other faculty and staff members, such as undergraduate clinical education coordinator Amy Hand. “Ms. Hand is one of the first people you meet and have as a professor in the athletic training program, and she is always there if you just need somebody to talk to and will always help you in any way possible,” Sedivy says.

Through her clinical education placements, Sedivy gained experience with sport teams at Columbia-area high schools as well as USC athletic teams (e.g., tennis, golf, beach volleyball, campus recreation). One of her most memorable experiences was traveling with the USC women’s basketball team to the SEC tournament and the NCAA Final Four in Dallas, Texas during the 2016-2017 season. Another highlight was a sports medicine study abroad program led by Mensch to Australia during the summer of 2016.

In the near future, Sedivy plans to return to school to earn a master’s degree in teaching with a focus on physical education and health. Long-term, she hopes to work as the head athletic trainer at a high school while also teaching sports medicine to high school students—just like Pagel, who sparked Sedivy’s interest several years ago.

“I have a passion for teaching,” she says. “I was inspired to pursue this profession by my high school athletic trainer and teacher and want to inspire others as well.”