Robin Ploeger, EdD, ATC, LAT
Clinical Associate Professor of Athletic Training/Curriculum Director, Athletic Training Program
Robin Ploeger, TU Athletic Training Curriculum Director, knew she wanted to become an athletic trainer after an injury in high school, because as she stated “I wanted to prevent others from making the same mistakes I made”. But the course of her career has taken an unexpected path.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in athletic training at Ohio University, her goal was to work as an athletic trainer at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. While working on her master’s degree at Brigham Young University, Robin had the opportunity to teach several athletic training courses. “Right then I kind of changed my focus from working at the USOC to seeking a position where I would have the opportunity to teach in addition to providing athletic training services” Robin remembered.
During her 13 years at Tulsa, Robin’s responsibilities have shifted from more clinical to more administrative and teaching. Robin stated, “When I first came to TU, I was hired as an adjunct clinical instructor. I taught a couple of classes each semester, but served as the athletic trainer for the volleyball team. After a few years, I began to get more involved in the academic program for students majoring in athletic training. This led to my current position as Athletic Training Curriculum Director”. In addition to the gradual change in job responsibilities, Robin completed a doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration at Oklahoma State University as preparation for her current position.
Seeing students learn and be successful is the part of the job that Robin enjoys most. She stated, “I enjoy seeing students finally ‘get it’ - that moment when the light bulb comes on”. In addition to classroom teaching, athletic training involves teaching in the clinical setting as students complete clinical rotations. Since giving up her clinical responsibilities, Robin has had more time to supervise students in the clinical setting and ensure that they have a good experience.
In addition to her involvement with students at TU, Robin works with athletic training students throughout the country in her position as chair of National Athletic Trainers’ Association College/University Athletic Training Students’ Committee (NATA CUATSC). In this capacity, Robin mentors members of the National Athletic Training Students’ Committee (NATSC) and assists with planning the program for students at various national and regional athletic training conferences. Robin has served on various student committees within the state and district for 8 years.
Robin never fulfilled her original goal of working with USOC athletes, but her former students have gone on to achieve great things. Some TU alums have worked with Olympic athletes while others are currently working at NASA and various professional sports teams. For now, her focus will continue to be on preparing the next generation of certified athletic trainers.