Meet Frankie Porter, a second-year student in our Master of Athletic Training program from Ankeny, IA. Frankie will graduate in May of 2021 with both her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and Master of Athletic Training degrees. Frankie was one of our pioneer students, as a member of our inaugural MAT class!
The Athletic Training profession meets in the middle of healthcare and sports; you get to immerse yourself in the passion and energy of sports every day, while still getting to apply sciences and evidence-based practices. I chose to pursue AT because it’s a perfect mixture of problem-solving, creativity, and fun.
I originally wanted to use the 3+2 Health Sci/MAT program here at Drake to propel me into physical therapy school; since starting my MAT coursework and getting re-involved in sports, I have realized my true passion is to get and keep as many people active as possible, to encourage and support others’ physical and emotional wellbeing, and I have shifted my focus to pursuing a PhD in kinesiology, with a concentration in physical activity and health promotion. With this degree, I hope to teach students and/or work to improve public health efforts related to physical activity, particularly sports-related.
I have worked at outpatient orthopedic clinics, physical therapy clinics, Drake Athletics, and a local USHL hockey team. Each of these sites has shown me the hard and soft skills required by ATs and given me hands-on opportunities to practice what I have learned in the classroom.
For a healthcare profession like AT, experiential learning is key in creating a well-equipped practitioner. Each of my sites has given me the opportunity to engage with real patient cases, ask questions to practicing ATs, and begin to develop who I will be as a practitioner.
My favorite memory so far was getting to put on gloves and help a team physician cut stitches on a facial laceration on my very first day of a site. Suturing is a skill we practice at Drake, and it was so exciting to be a part of the suturing for a real injury and athlete.
I chose Drake primarily because the health sciences degree track contains experiential opportunity through the senior capstone course. Other reasons I chose Drake were the connections to healthcare providers across the Metro, the engagement of faculty and staff with students, and the capacity to make genuine, lifelong friends with fellow Bulldogs at a school that is just small enough you truly get to know people.
Since shifting my path from aims of PT school to acceptance into a PhD program, the research and teaching opportunities within the MAT program have been the biggest help for me. I have had the opportunity to begin working on my first manuscript for research done with a faculty member and to be a lab assistant for the undergraduate anatomy courses.
So many things: we call it “Drake Busy!” Last year I became a certified personal trainer through Drake Wellness, paid for by the Drake Rec, and began training students and teaching group fitness classes. I have the current privilege of serving as the Vice President for the Drake Weightlifting Club and put on events and manage budgets. I also work as a lab assistant for the undergraduate anatomy labs, overseeing 40 students/semester, and partake in paid research, currently focused on police officers and physical fitness metrics. I have worked as a CPHS ambassador, sharing my love for Drake with many potential students. Off campus, I spent a year and half as a physical therapy technician in an outpatient clinic during my undergrad.
I have loved getting to know my professors and understand all of the things that they do, both for our profession and for our college. They inspire me every day to impact others for the better. My favorite Drake memory was probably my first Drake Relays. It was so much bigger than I expected, and such a joy to share our campus with thousands of people. During relays week, it seems like Drake is the best and only place to be in the world.
It’s more than okay to change your path from one profession or path to another, especially at Drake. Despite all the pressure to select a college, program, and profession prior to enrolling in courses your freshman year, the first couple years of college are made to help you find what you enjoy and what career could fit both your skills and your personality. It is okay to transfer, to change majors, to add a concentration, and to evolve. That’s what college is for.