Athletic training students awarded scholarships

Four students from Western Carolina University’s athletic training program have been named recipients of scholarships at the national and regional levels.

Alessa Lennon, a graduating senior from Chapel Hill, and Aaron Marshall, a junior from Gastonia, are two of 32 students chosen from across the nation to receive scholarships from the Research and Education Foundation of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Lennon received the Edward Block Courage Society Scholarship to use in financing studies for her master’s degree. Marshall is recipient of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers’ Society Scholarship for his senior year at WCU. Both awards are for $2,300. Applicants for the scholarships are judged on academic performance and community service.

At the regional level, Lennon and two other students – Kyra Dodson, a junior from Stokes County, and Brandi Anders, an alumna of the athletic training program from Tuckasegee – were chosen to receive scholarships from the Mid Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association. Lennon is receiving the Larry C. Sutton Postgraduate Scholarship, Dodson is recipient of the Edward M. Block Undergraduate Scholarship, and Anders, who is attending graduate school at Marshall University, won the A.C. “Whitey” Gwynne Masters Scholarship. All three scholarships are worth $1,500 each.

WCU’s athletic training students and faculty received more good news recently when results were released from the national board exam. All 11 seniors who took the test passed it on their first attempt, marking the fourth consecutive year the program has achieved a 100 percent pass rate. The national pass rate is historically below 60 percent, said James Scifers, professor of athletic training and director of WCU’s School of Health Sciences. Two other athletic training seniors will be taking the exam in coming months.

Scifers said WCU’s program will be well represented at the upcoming MAATA Symposium, scheduled for May 17-19 in Greenville, S.C. Nine of the 12 students from the five-state MAATA area chosen to give platform presentations at the conference are from WCU. Another six WCU athletic training students were chosen to present posters at the conference, Scifers said.

For more information about WCU’s athletic training program, contact program director Jill Manners at or 828-227-3509.