McNeese Student Combines Two Passions Through Internship

Kiara Mitchell completed her bachelor’s degree in health and human performance from McNeese State University in May 2020 and will earn a second degree this fall when she graduates with her master’s degree.

“I studied sports medicine as an undergraduate student and I am now in the exercise science graduate program,” she says.

Mitchell was a track athlete in high school and was interested in becoming a teacher. However, after an injury required her to work with an athletic trainer, she was introduced to a new career path.

“My trainer in high school was also a teacher, so it wasn’t until that moment that I considered it might be possible to combine my interests into one job,” she says.

Teachers and athletic trainers are invaluable to the students and athletes they serve. Mitchell says both of these areas interested her because they allow her to have a lasting impact on others.

“I have been able to do both through internships directed by assistant professor Kevin Hargrave and instructor of health and human performance Christin Manuel,” she says. “I have gained experience as an athletic trainer at Lake Arthur and Elton High schools. I have also helped teach an introductory CPR course to McNeese freshmen.”

Mitchell has been working side-by-side with Hargrave since her sophomore year at McNeese. She says that Hargrave and Manuel are mentors both inside and outside of the classroom.

“When I finished my bachelor’s degree, both Hargrave and Manuel encouraged me to continue my education here at McNeese,” she says. “I can rely on both of them to help me consider career and internship opportunities and professional school options and they even help me with situations outside of the classroom. I believe this personal connection with faculty is what sets McNeese apart from other institutions.”

For more information on McNeese’s graduate programs In health and human performance, visit

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