Joanne Zia

Class Year



Schaumburg, Ill.


Athletic Training



Joanne Zia ’14 originally visited Carthage because she was recruited as an athlete. The more she looked into it, the more she fell in love.

“The College seemed more like a community than just a school,” she said. “Carthage is the smallest school I applied to; all of the other schools I applied to had anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 students.”

When comparing athletic training programs, it all came down to size — and hands-on experience. Carthage athletic training students start relevant classes before they are officially accepted into the program.

“Carthage definitely sets itself apart and has made me feel secure about my choice to be an athletic training major,” Joanne said. “Also, getting to work with athletes right away as a freshman was a great experience. It was nice to be able to pick what practices or games you wanted to work so you could get a feel for how everything in the athletic training room works.”

Joanne already had some experience when she came to Carthage as a freshman. She had worked as a student athletic trainer for her high school her senior year, and had also done some volunteer work at a physical therapy and rehabilitation clinic in her hometown.

“I’ve always known that I wanted a career where I would be helping people,” she explained. “As an athlete, I obviously have an interest in the sports world, but I love to learn about how the body works and what it’s capable of doing.”

Her relationships with the professors in the Athletic Training Program are very important to Joanne. There are only three full-time professors, which she sees as one of the best parts of the program.

“I get to work with each one of them, and they have been very supportive and make me feel welcome when I’m in the ATR,” Joanne said. “They make sure all the materials are understood and constantly remind us that they are available if we need to talk to them.”

The athletic training faculty encourage their students to pursue other interests outside of the program, which is important to Joanne, who is minoring in Spanish. She planned to travel to Nicaragua during J-Term and wants to spend a summer studying abroad in Spain.

After graduation, Joanne plans on going to graduate school for kinesiology, athletic training or physical therapy. She knows that all of her hands-on experience will give her an advantage when applying to schools and jobs in the future. In August 2011, Joanne was one of the sophomores chosen to come back to Carthage early to help the athletic trainers with the preseason practices.

“Getting back into the athletic training room and strictly spending my time working with athletes just felt right, and I know it’s somewhere I belong,” she said. “I learned so much more through all the work I did, and got to know my professors in a setting other than the classroom.”

“Making yourself known and showing that you’re enthusiastic and dedicated to your work is the easiest way to become successful in this program.”

Joanne Zia, ’14

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“I honestly can’t pick a favorite. Every professor I’ve had is different, but almost all of them have impacted me positively!”

Favorite class

“Structural Kinesiology. It focuses on the muscles and their movements, and is the basis of everything we’re going to learn in the rest of our AT classes. I learn better when I’m able to do something hands-on, and this is the one class I’ve had so far that is perfect for that. There’s a lot of memorization and it got overwhelming, but I always had help, whether it was from the professor or another student.”

Campus involvement

Alpha Lambda Delta (National Honor Society), Colleges Against Cancer.

Toughest class

“Intro to AT. The class moves very quickly and we still went pretty in-depth with each topic covered, so staying on top of things is a must. It was a lot of information to remember and it was necessary to set time aside to study just for that class.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“I love having professors who actually care about how I’m doing in their classes. The friends I’ve made here are the best and there’s never a dull moment! I’ve made a lot of great connections with people at Carthage and I know they will stay with me after graduation.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus? The TARC.”

Biggest surprise so far

“Carthage is a small school (it has the same amount of students as my high school), so you would think it’s easy to know everyone, but I meet new people all the time and I love it.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“People think I’m crazy for being in the ATR as much as I am, but the hours I’ve put in are worth it. I’ve gotten to know the staff and athletes very well and have developed some great relationships. Making yourself known and showing that you’re enthusiastic and dedicated to your work is the easiest way to become successful in this program.”