For Shelby Baatz, the journey to the classroom began with a love for sports.
"I've always been really competitive. I get that from my mother. She is quite the firecracker," Baatz said.
It all sparked an interest in athletic training. Baatz has a few goals, one of them is to work for a major or minor league team some day.
"I knew I'd have to get my masters eventually," Baatz said.
Even though she hasn't finished her undergrad yet, she is already enrolled in Augustana's new master's program. She and Joey Newman were accepted, and will automatically transition into the higher program once they receive their diplomas.
"It's really nice, because I don't have to formally go through a lot of applications and interviews and stuff like that to get into the masters program. I've already gone through that just to get into the athletic program I'm in right now," Newman said.
Augie offering this as an extension of the bachelor's program will allow Baatz and Newman to finish their masters in one year, versus the typical two-year program. It essentially allows students to get two degrees in five years.
"The students can get out into the professional world a year sooner as well as have more skills," Day said.
Day says a partnership with Sanford Health is giving students like Baatz and Newman these opportunities.
Sports led to Baatz pursuing athletic training, and what happens here in this Auguastana classroom is helping her make a game plan for what comes next.
"I'm really excited about my future," Baatz said.
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Local athletic training students now have a shot at a stronger future. Augustana University is now offering a masters of science in the program. The program director says it is giving undergrads more options, and putting them ahead of their peers.