Lock Haven Athletic Training Graduate Student Completes Externship with Muhlenberg School District


Calista Paolino, a spring graduate of the athletic training program at Commonwealth University-Lock Haven, recently completed a full-immersion externship at her high school alma mater, Muhlenberg School District (MSD) in Laureldale. There, she was under the supervision of Daniel Kropf, MS, LAT, ATC, CSS, PES and Ashley Care, MS, LAT, ATC.

Paolino developed her interest in athletic training after suffering a season-ending injury while a student-athlete at MSD. She used the rehabilitation experience from her injury to determine which healthcare field sparked her interest more, athletic training or physical therapy.

The athletic training path intrigued Paolino, considering her extensive interactions with healthcare professionals in high school and during her undergraduate time at Millersville University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in allied health technology in 2022.

When the time came to choose her final clinical experience, she knew where she wanted to go. Since Paolino had experience as a student athletic trainer at Muhlenberg, she wanted to return there to see the other side of athletic training after receiving additional education on prevention, evaluations/diagnosis, healthcare administration, therapeutic interventions and emergency care.

Her time at MSD allowed Paolino to gain more confidence working with middle school athletes and how to better explain injuries to those athletes. She believes teaching younger athletes will help them to prevent injuries throughout their athletic careers.

In addition to the physical medical aspect of athletic training, Paolino has also been exposed to administrative situations. “I have been able to see the administrative side of athletic training more than I have while at other clinical sites,” Paolino said. “We have come across challenges with our ice machine, which allowed us to think outside the box on how to fill waters and how to fundraise for the new ice machine. This is the side of athletic training that is not always experienced during clinical rotations, so now I have gained more confidence working independently after graduation.”

Paolino’s supervisors, Kropf and Care, allowed her to work as if she was another athletic trainer at Muhlenberg, rather than just a student. Paolino believes her skills have broadened and become more proficient due to the trust given by her supervisors. They pushed her outside of her comfort zone, allowing her more interactions with the athletic director, team physician, coaching staff and athletes.

Paolino looks forward to using this externship experience at Muhlenberg for her future job as an athletic trainer in a high/middle school setting.