|A Graduation Story - Alongi: Athlete to Trainer|
Jaclyn Alongi was always involved in sports growing up in San Jose. In fact, she was on the women's soccer team when she was a student at Presentation High School, but her aspirations to play sports in college never materialized.
"I was always the kid that was injured...all the time," said Alongi, "so I spent a lot of my high school career in the athletic training room. I've always wanted to be involved in athletics but wasn't good enough or healthy enough to play at this level. Still, I wanted to be involved in the athletic atmosphere and had an interest in medicine. So, I saw athletic training as a way to cover two bases."
With her soccer career behind her, Jaclyn went Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles and earned a bachelor's degree in athletic training.
"At LMU I worked with the volleyball and softball teams, men's and women's soccer and pretty much where ever I was needed. Then when I came to San Jose State to get a master's degree, I went to work with the women's basketball team and just finished up two seasons with them.
"I love working with the athletes and helping people. Since I was an athlete, I feel that I understand how their minds work and what they are trying to accomplish. I love the process of "return to play". Dealing with an injury; getting to rehab it; spending every waking moment with the athlete.
"It is great to see the progression of rehabbing an injury. The accomplishment of seeing them back on the court or field is so rewarding. That's what it is all about. I'm so passionate about sports medicine and getting to work with these amazing athletes. It's so gratifying helping them achieve their best."
Jaclyn loves what she does but it wasn't easy getting to this point.
"My first year (at San Jose State) was difficult and a huge transition. Being an undergrad you are going to school and working part-time. When I got here things definitely changed. I was taking a full class load, 12-15 hours, and working 40-50 hours per week. And that doesn't take in to consideration the travel. After my first semester I got into the swing of it. I had to bring my computer and books on the road and study in airports and on planes. I knew the things I needed to do to be successful. I put them in order and got them done."
With a Master's Degree in kinesiology, she has her eyes set on her next goal.
"I really want to get my PhD. and teach at the college level. San Jose State gave me the opportunity to be a teaching assistant. I taught a couple of labs in the undergrad athletic training program and was a teaching assistant in a couple of sport psychology classes, so it really combined my two passions, education and sports medicine.
"Working at San Jose State has been a dream come true. I have learned so much in my two years here, probably more than in my four years at LMU. They kind of throw you in to it when you first get here, but that makes you stronger. It was a great experience."
Jaclyn has one more great experience in store before starting work in Santa Clara University's Athletic Training Department.
"I'm going to travel around Europe for the month of June. I never really got to do anything for my undergrad graduation so this is a graduate/undergraduate present all in one and then I start work at Santa Clara in July."
Her "on field" athletic career may be over, but with the education she received at San Jose State, Jaclyn Alongi will be involved with athletics for a long time.