Meet Ashley Parisi ’17, Athletic Training

Growing up in Missouri
I grew up in Florissant and then O’Fallon, Missouri. During high school, I knew I wanted to play soccer in college, and got recruited at St. Charles Community College. I went to get my associate’s degree and get my general education out of the way. I knew I wanted to keep playing soccer at a four-year university and that I wanted to be an athletic trainer. William Woods had an Athletic Training program and a great coach. So I toured the campus and really liked how small it was, the small classes sizes, and how close everyone was. That led to me going to The Woods and I’m really glad I did. I made a lot of friends there and made a lot of connections through the Athletic Training program.

Activities at The Woods
I was in The National Society of Leadership and Success. I was the president of the Athletic Training student organization my senior year. It was hectic from time to time, but it made my time worthwhile. I learned a lot and made a lot of connections that I still talk with today. Working with the Athletic Training student organization, I ran fundraising so seniors could take their certification tests. It was really helpful not the have to worry about where that money would come from. And it helped connect me with job opportunities.

Keeping in Touch
I keep in touch with my friends from William Woods, as we text a lot. I am actually going on a trip to Jamaica with my college roommates soon. We usually try and get together once or twice a year. We usually will all get together in the St. Louis area as it’s a central point for us. We’ve also been talking about Alumni Weekend already and have plans to go up there in April and enjoy our time back on campus.

Professor’s Help
I definitely would say through my athletic program, all the professors were hard enough on me and knew they could push me. They knew it would help me achieve higher goals. They saw the best in me and wanted to help bring that out in me. My Athletic Training director was the person who helped me find my job after school. I had some opportunities down in Florida. I wanted to be a physician’s assistant and I needed a medical internship for that. No companies in Missouri were offering paid internships so I decided to look in Florida. The Athletic Training director at William Woods, Steve Middleton, is who pushed me to apply for the Disney athletic training job.

Working at ESPN
I actually originally applied to an undergraduate student position my junior year, but I applied too late, the positions were filled up. My boss down here kept asking if I could do an internship in the spring but that would have pushed back my graduation. So he gave me an option to think about – a post-graduate internship. So after I graduated, in October of 2017, I started my post-graduate internship at ESPN at Disney World.

I would go in to work and then depending on the event, we would have really busy weeks and then some slower weeks. A really busy week would consist of soccer showcases. The big name schools like Mizzou and LSU would come to scout these kids. I would cover up to three soccer fields and be responsible for those six teams. The slower weeks meant a youth soccer club every night. If they needed a Band-Aid, or pre-game tape or got injured in a slide tackle or something I was there to help them. Usually those nights were tame, but on at least one occasion we did have to call 911.

Day-to-day it was great. I worked on everything from youth soccer to cheerleading competitions to baseball, basketball and football. I even worked practices for the NFL Pro Bowl.

We had big events on holidays, so I worked holidays and weekends, sometimes 16-hour days. Working with great people made that easy, so 16-hours days felt like 2 hours.

Looking Back
I would say William Woods brought out my confidence. I got to know more people. Especially with soccer and working as an athletic trainer, I got to know a lot of students. With the soccer team, I would know all the other soccer players, but also members of the baseball and softball teams. And then through classes, I would get to know my classmates and they would become friends. In a biology class, I met someone who introduced me to someone who was in equine and we became great friends. I never thought I would have met someone in equine. The connections with friends and faculty were really helpful. I am looking forward to alumni weekend a lot.