2021 Sports and Exercise Science alumnus Andrew (AJ) Wagenknecht sees his future as an athletic trainer and is working toward that goal, studying Sports Science at Wright State University and interning at Franklin High School with Head Athletic Trainer John Dynes.
“I chose to go to WCCC because I saw a good way to have an advantage going into college, and having fun in school again doing something that I truly like,” he said. “The Sports and Exercise Science program at WCCC prepared me for the future and college by giving me a step ahead in getting some background knowledge into the profession, such as learning about taping, different rehab methods, and all around healthcare work.”
Along with the hands-on training and internship experience in the program, AJ also earned college credits in the Exercise Science field and earned certifications in CPR, AED and First Aid. He began his internship at Franklin in the fall of 2020, the beginning of his senior year. He worked through the winter sports season, and has returned this fall while in college, working approximately 25 hours per week. Some of his duties and responsibilities include taping athletes, getting athletes on rehab equipment, and assisting Mr. Dynes as needed to get athletes in and out quickly so they can get to a practice or a game.
“My favorite thing about the internship would have to be getting to see the kids everyday, and being around knowing that I get to contribute to the school I graduated from,” he said. “My future plans are to become an athletic trainer that’s hopefully as good and respected as much as Mr. Dynes is. When I’m done with my bachelors degree at Wright State, I will pursue a masters degree in athletic training.”
WCCC Instructor Kristin Wineberg said she is very proud of how AJ took initiative and worked hard from the very beginning of his internship. “He continued his internship this fall even after graduating. This shows his dedication to his work and his respect for his supervisor,” she said. “You can tell he truly loves this career field. Mr. Dynes at Franklin has been more than willing to take in several of my current and former students. I believe both WCCC and the businesses and organizations we work with are benefiting from the internships. My students and I are very grateful for their partnerships.”
Mr. Dynes said he enjoys working with AJ. “AJ has been amazing,” he said. “He has helped in all aspects of my job at Franklin. He helps with taping and game preps. He helps with setting up sidelines for games and making sure all equipment is onsite and put away after games. He monitors athletes on treatment with our different modalities. As his knowledge continues to grow so does his willingness to jump in and help out in times when we are overworked trying to get students taped treated and game ready. He has also taken time to teach our managers that are interested in learning more about our job.”
AJ advocates for career tech education and offers this advice. “If I had any advice for future Sports and Exercise Science students, it would be to be a sponge for knowledge, soak it all in and enjoy every step in it even if it becomes difficult,” he said. “I think it’s great for kids that want to pursue any career to get involved as early as possible because it can always benefit you. Whether it’s Sports Medicine like me, or Robotics, or Welding, there are great opportunities in internships and job shadowing, not only for your knowledge, but it can also help set up your career path before you even know it. That’s why Warren County Career Center is such a great place. Not only can you get a great education from academic teachers that truly care about you, but you can also get knowledge in your career technical program and it benefits you for the rest of your life.”