We recently had the chance to speak with a promising sophomore, Nygel Williams. Nygel is majoring in athletic training, but is also on the pre-med track and plans to be a medic in the Navy. He will serve as treasurer of the Student Veterans Association here at SLU next semester.
Q. Where are you from?
A. All over the place, to be honest. My dad was in the service. I was born in Columbus, Ohio, but we didn’t stay there very long. From there, it was just all over the country and even to Japan for three years. Ever since I could remember, I was on a base.
Q. What made you choose SLU?
A. When I came for my visit, I just loved the environment. Everyone was so excited and so helpful and it seemed like they genuinely wanted me to be here.
They had the program I wanted. Not many schools have the athletic training program I’m in.
And then they worked well with my dad and me – he gave me a couple years of his GI Bill and SLU is very accommodating – just great and easy to work with. SLU may look really expensive upfront if you’re just browsing through, but they were so helpful with their financial aid packet. It ended up being cheaper than almost every other school I applied to. SLU’s very helpful and you just have to keep that in mind. You know that you’re getting a quality education.
Q. What part of the Athletic Training (AT) program at SLU appealed to you the most?
A. The program here is entry level. As soon as you’re accepted in high school, you’re accepted into the five-year’s master’s program. So you get your bachelor’s degree in four years and then the next year you get your master’s degree. And if you so choose, you’re off to the real world. I know a lot of schools have a pre-track for it and then you have to apply to graduate school, which would be an extra year to get your master’s. It’s nice that you can get it all done here.
They’re very helpful and they’re very well connected. I know our program here is connected with all the major teams: the Cardinals, the Blues and the Rams. And we have our own Division I program here.
Q. What’s the best part of the program?
A. The program director, Tony Breitbach is a great guy. He’s really personable. He’s really nice. He really cares about you succeeding and getting through the program. He takes the time to sit down with you every semester to see how it’s going even though he doesn’t need to do that. I really appreciate that. He’s just a great guy. He’s definitely the best part.
Q. What do you find most challenging?
A. I wish someone would had told me how much work it’s going to take. I always thought I’d do my classes and get my degree and go get my job. But really you come here and you want to make friends and then there’s going to be clubs you want to join and then there’s going to be classes on top of that. If someone would have sat me down and told me, “You need to get your time management skills set,” that probably would have been the best advice I could’ve heard.
Q. What do you like best about SLU?
A. The thing I really, really like is that I feel like SLU lives out the Jesuit mission they talk about. I don’t know any other school where two times a year they get most of the student body and most of the faculty together to go out and do service. I haven’t heard about that anywhere else. It’s been a great experience for me and I think it would be a great experience for anyone else.
Q. What campus activities are you involved with?
A. I’m highly involved in Alpha Phi Omega. It’s great – I love doing all the service. I’m also a resident adviser in Fusz Hall and a peer educator for the Student Health Advocates/Peer Educator (S.H.A.P.E.). In addition, I am a member of the SLU Athletic Training Society and am also serving as treasurer for the SLU Veterans Association. I also volunteer weekly at the local veteran’s hospital as a nurse assistant.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I try to keep myself in shape. I work out five to six days a week because I am planning on joining the military. I need to keep my fitness up so I can survive basic training.
Q. Who is your hero?
A. Definitely my dad. My whole life, I’ve always looked up to him. He’s done so many great things. He’s a really smart, really great man and I just hope to one day be close to what he is.
Q. What’s the most interesting thing about you?
A. The people who know me, I guess my humor jumps out to them first. I just try to make people laugh. I feel that’s the best way to get connected with people. There’s nothing you can share better than a laugh.