Fredonia State Athletics and Recreation secured an NCAA grant and welcomed a new hire recently.
The Fredonia State Athletics and Recreation Department recently added to its staff with the hire of Casey Graham as an assistant athletic trainer. She will also assume responsibilities in the new and expanded Blue Devil Fitness Center, due to open early next year.
Graham comes to Fredonia State after serving as the head athletic trainer at Trinity High School in Camp Hill, Pa., and as a functional group fitness instructor in Carlisle, Pa. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, worked as an assistant athletic trainer at Elmira College for a year, and completed her Master's Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion at California University of Pennsylvania.
Her appointment, made possible through the NCAA Division III Ethnic Minority and Women's Internship Grant Program, was the culmination of a competitive selection process. The NCAA received 63 applications from NCAA D-III schools, and Fredonia State earned one of the only 18 grants awarded.
Both the grant and Graham's appointment are funded through 2014.
"Fredonia State has afforded me a tremendous opportunity to become a member of their staff, and I am eager to be a part of this NCAA program," Graham said. "I am looking forward to making a positive impact on the student-athletes and individuals that I will be working with in both the athletic training room and Fitness Center."
She began her duties on Aug. 15.
Fredonia State Assistant Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator Megan Valentine wrote the grant application with assistance from the SUNY Fredonia Office of Sponsored Programs. Valentine is a graduate of the internship program instituted 11 years ago when a study revealed that among the three NCAA divisions, D-III schools had the lowest percentage of ethnic minority and female coaches and administrators.
The NCAA's goal is to enhance diversity and inclusion efforts and to retain ethnic minorities and women within D-III athletics administrative and coaching staffs. In addition to the benefit gained by participating schools, interns receive funding for professional development, for memberships to professional organizations, and for other enhancement initiatives. They and their campus mentors also attend an internship orientation program sponsored by the NCAA.
"This is an exciting opportunity for the Fredonia State Athletics and Recreation staff, and we are fully confident that we will provide a worthwhile and educational experience for Casey," Valentine said. "Casey's experiences and skill sets should help our department's efforts greatly.
"As a former intern in this program (at MacMurray College and Wellesley College), I know how valuable this is, as I have experienced many of its benefits firsthand. The NCAA Division III Grant Program opened the door to my collegiate athletics coaching and administrative career and provided professional development opportunities that I may not otherwise have been able to become involved with."
Valentine is serving as Graham's mentor while Head Athletic Trainer Erik Barkley will serve as intern supervisor.
"The NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women's Internship grant," Barkley added, "is a great opportunity for Fredonia State to provide a young professional experience working within the field of collegiate athletics. Casey will gain invaluable knowledge and will be able to further develop practical skills that will aid in her desired career path.
"This grant will also specifically allow Fredonia State Athletic Training Services to increase its efficiency and standards of care. Our student-athletes are of foremost concern, and because of this program, they will ultimately benefit the most."