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Arnold School of Public Health

Athletic training graduate committed to improving transgender healthcare and education

April 22, 2022 | Erin Bluvas,

Growing up in New Jersey, Erica Schulman always knew they were interested in the health field – considering a career in medicine and even working as an EMT during high school. A series of injuries meant a lot of time on the sideline for the multi-sport athlete, and they begin to see the merits of a career in injury prevention and treatment.

“I was drawn to athletic training because it combines my passion for health and sport,” says Schulman, who originally earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at Bryn Mawr College and then completed additional bachelor’s degrees in exercise science and athletic training at William Paterson University.

When they began looking at graduate programs, Schulman chose the Department of Exercise Science’s Master of Science in Advanced Athletic Training after deeming it one of the best programs in the country. “I knew that by attending UofSC I would receive amazing training that will benefit me in my future career while also providing me two diverse clinical experiences through my graduate assistantship,” they say.

During their program, Schulman amassed a breadth and depth of hands-on experiences. These included clinical support to UofSC groups (e.g., ROTC, intramurals teams), Claflin University and a local club soccer organization. Since last summer, Schulman has filled the athletic trainer role for Gray Collegiate Academy, a local charter school. In this position, they provide care to athletes (grades 8-12) across all sports.

On campus, Schulman explored their interests in transgender healthcare and its integration into academic curricula and educational opportunities for athletic training students and practicing athletic trainers. With support from exercise science clinical assistant professor Zachary Winkelmann, Schulman has disseminated their research on transgender healthcare. This includes multiple presentations at National Athletic Trainers’ Association conferences and two publications accepted/under review by scholarly journals.  

“My advisor, Dr. Winkelmann, has been an important mentor during my time at the Arnold School,” Schulman says. “He has provided integral support throughout my research, including pushing me to apply for conferences and submit my research project manuscript.” 

Long term, Schulman would like to work as an athletic trainer in a collegiate or professional setting. They are particularly interested in working with a soccer team, due to the small-team environment and their love for the sport.

“Take advantage of opportunities to practice your athletic training skills,” Schulman advises current and prospective students. “The more practice you have before certification, the more comfortable you will be.”  

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