University of Southern Mississippi senior Antonio Davis, an athletic training major from Taylorsville, has prepared himself to make a potential employer’s first-team roster through a coveted internship in the nation’s capital.
Davis spent the last two summers as an athletic training intern with the National Football League’s Washington Redskins. His duties included helping make sure Redskins players were properly hydrated during practice; tending to injuries; and helping players get back on the field, among other responsibilities.
He was one of only four out of 400 applicants to receive the all-expense-paid internship, which also allowed him to network with athletic trainers from other NFL teams and stay on top of the latest trends and best practices in the profession.
“I got a chance to network with big-name doctors as well as athletic trainers, and they gave me pointers about how I should go about establishing my career as both an athletic trainer and physical therapist,” he said. “It was also a big honor to actually work with athletes that I watch on television.”
He connected with Southern Miss alumnus and Washington Redskins athletic trainer John Burrell during the application process, who was impressed with Davis’ scholastic accomplishments and drive.
“Antonio’s preparation through his degree program is a great stepping stone that complements his strong work ethic,” said Burrell. “He is ultimately a reflection of how he’s trained as an undergraduate.”
Burrell is proud to help a Southern Miss student get the experience necessary to have an edge before entering the job market. “I got my start because a Southern Miss graduate reached back and helped me out,” Burrell said. “Now it feels really good to do that same thing by helping someone from the same school and same major.”
Davis has made the most of the opportunity. Impressed with his performance, the Redskins named him its Intern of the Year in 2007 for his work shadowing Burrell on his daily routines learning the ins and outs of the job. And while Burrell serves as Davis’ mentor, he gives his young protégé all the credit for his accomplishments. “I don’t give handouts,” Burrell said. “Antonio has earned everything.”
Recognizing how stiff competition for jobs can be for recent college graduates, Davis has taken the necessary steps to get noticed. An excellent student with a 3.5 grade point average, his resume includes plenty of experience through his internship as well as involvement in campus organizations, including with the Southern Miss Student Government Association and Men of Excellence.
He also works part-time on campus in the College of Science and Technology, and helps out with the Petal High School softball and football teams during the school year.
“It’s been a real joy to have Antonio work in the dean’s office the past two years,” said Dr. Rex Gandy, College of Science and Technology dean. “He is dependable, hard-working and diligent. We’ll certainly miss him when he graduates.”
Davis plans to attend University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences to train further in physical therapy after he graduates from Southern Miss in May 2009.
“I like to stay busy,” he said. “You can never have too much experience. I just hope I can return the favor to someone else.”
Southern Miss senior Antonio Davis of Taylorsville, left, is pictured with Washington Redskins quarterback and Taylorsville High School alum Jason Campbell. Davis spent the past two summers as an intern with the professional football team and plans to graduate in May. (Submitted photo)
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.