Rachael Waddle of Mount Carmel, Ill., a senior at Southeast Missouri State University is interning at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Rachael interns with RehabWorks, the athletic training department within NASA.
“I will be working with Kennedy Space Center employees doing rehabilitation and some evaluations,” she says, “I will also have the opportunity to observe surgical procedures and will do some outreach projects, like bulletin boards and presentations.”
“I got to see the shuttle Endeavour launch and I got to take a tour of the shuttle Atlantis,” Rachael says.
Rachael says she applied for the internship in the spring, went through a telephone interview, and was finally offered the internship with NASA.
“While RehabWorks likes to take as many students as they can, I am one of four students that received their summer internship,” she says.
Rachael’s major is athletic training.
“I am hoping to gain more experience and knowledge in my field,” she says, “I especially wanted to work more with the rehabilitation aspect of athletic training, which is why I sought this internship out.”
Rachael says after she graduates she plans on getting a master’s degree in human performance, biomechanics, or exercise science.
“My goal is to gain a graduate assistantship at a school, so I can work as an ATC (certified athletic trainer), while I get my master’s degree,” she says.
Rachael says Southeast has given her the right type of education and tools to succeed and complete her internship.
“Since there is a small student to teacher ratio, the instructors really get to know all of us on a very individual basis,” she says. “I always feel very comfortable to ask questions and speak up in class.”
Rachael says she also gets the opportunity at Southeast to be assigned into clinical settings and to work with certified athletic trainers.
“I get a lot of hands-on experience, and I take my classroom knowledge and apply it to the real world.”
Outside of classes, Rachael says she participates in many activities to have fun.
“My friends and I like to go to Capaha baseball games,” she says, “We go shopping, fishing, walking, and bowling, just about anything to have a good time.”
“I have had a great time here [Southeast] the past three years and I have made some great friends,” she commented.
Rachael wanted to share advice with new students at Southeast.
“Make the best out of every situation. Not everything goes perfectly or exactly how
you want it,” she says. “There is a positive to every situation. It might be a stretch,
but it’s there and sometimes that can be the only thing that pulls you through.”