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The Influence of One Class on Your Entire Life

Portrait of Lani Hernandez

Lani Hernandez’s interest in athletic training (AT) was first sparked when she was fortunate enough to take an AT class in high school. “After attending my first AT class, I knew it was a great fit for me,” said Hernandez, a former Marine and current Boise State Master of Athletic Training (MAT) student. “I have always been passionate about sports and interested in working in the medical field, and AT allows me to do both.”

After graduating from high school in Washington, Hernandez joined the Marine Corps and spent 10 years on active duty. After leaving the Marines, Hernandez received her bachelor’s degree in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon. While at the University of Oregon, Hernandez interned with the AT staff for University of Oregon Football. There, she worked with an athletic trainer who, as a Boise State Alumni, recommended the MAT program at Boise State to her. Following extensive research into the program, curriculum and clinical sites, she applied to the program.

“After my research on the program, I knew Boise State was exactly where I needed to be,” said Hernandez. “Not only would I receive an admirable education in the classroom, but additionally a plethora of various clinicals that would offer a more diverse learning environment compared to other programs I considered.” Hernandez was accepted into the first cohort of the Boise State MAT program which began in the Summer of 2018.

“Because this program offers a variety of opportunities working with different levels throughout athletic programs,” said Hernandez. “It gives all of us in the program a chance to explore different settings and work with a diverse population of patients so we can discover where our interests lie. It also allows us to work with multiple mentors who have different ways of operating and use various tools that we can adopt and learn from.”

“The open minded approach that has gone into delivering the depth of coursework and varied student clinical experience has been a goal since the first day we began planning this degree,” said Dave Hammons, director of the AT program and assistant professor for the Department of Kinesiology. “Lani and the rest of the inaugural MAT class are really setting the bar for what is to come in AT education at Boise State.”  

“I am so grateful to be in this program and to have the opportunity to be surrounded by people who want to help shape my education and career, and ensure that I enter the workforce as prepared as possible,” said Hernandez. She plans to graduate from the program in May 2020 and hopes to pursue AT positions in collegiate or professional football.

The Athletic Training Educational Program at Boise State is a rigorous and intense program that places specific requirements and demands on the students enrolled in the program. It has strong connections with Boise State Athletics and the local sports medicine community, creating boundless firsthand experiences for MAT students. Boise State has worked diligently to transition the degree to the graduate level from the long standing undergraduate AT program. The objective of this program is to prepare graduates for national certification in Athletic Training and to enter a variety of employment settings with confidence to provide care to a wide spectrum of individuals engaged in physical activity.

To learn more about the MAT program at Boise State, visit