Bidding farewell to the Andover community, Ali Mattia, Strength and Conditioning Trainer, leaves Andover having both figuratively and literally come into contact with almost every student here. Whether it was sitting down on her swivel stool taping up dozens of broken athletes each afternoon in Borden Gym or baking small treats for her girls in Stimson Dormitory, Mattia has invested herself in the lives of many in her three years at Andover.
“The kids at Andover are great. It’s been a really great atmosphere just getting to know so many different people on so many different levels. I’m a house counselor too, so I get to see people in a different way. Most adults see the kids in the classroom, and I get to see everybody on the sports field and in the training room and also in the dorm,” said Mattia.
Mattia’s position at Andover was her first job after graduating from Quinnipiac University in 2011. Having completed clinical rotations during her Senior year of college at prep schools such as the Hopkins School in New Haven, CT, Mattia found herself loving Andover’s environment from the start.
“When I was figuring out what I wanted to do after my Senior year of college, I really liked the prep school atmosphere. I had done clinical rotations in my athletic training major with other prep schools and I really liked it. I was kind of looking for something like that and my family is from Sudbury, Massachusetts, so I figured this was a great first job to get into,” said Mattia.
“What attracted me to the prep school world is that it was still a high-paced environment but not so much as a college level. I love working with students and being able to teach kids new things while treating their injuries. It’s a very fun atmosphere,” she continued.
“Being my first job I was really nervous coming into it. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect coming into such a big place. But my confidence, ability to work with others and communication just skyrocketed when I came here. The supportive nature of this place really helped me with that. I think that this place has been a great place to help me become really confident in what I’m doing,” Mattia added.
Mattia spends her days at Andover in Borden Gym supervising the Flexible Fitness Option, advising students with injuries and watching students in athletic competitions.
“There have been several moments where kids have been hurt in the training room, and, when they finally get back to playing, they are just so thankful for all the help we’ve been able to give them, which just makes my job so rewarding,” she said.
It’s the smiles that she brings upon these students’ faces and the excitement they feel when they are finally cleared to play, however, that makes the job so worthwhile for Mattia.
“I’m really going to miss the smiles and the people just coming in to say ‘hi.’ It’s a fun atmosphere that I work in, the athletics. There’s stress, but people are usually happy to be playing sports, and I really love being surrounded by that, so I think I’m going to miss that,” said Mattia.
While she is still searching for a part-time job for next year, Mattia knows that graduate school is in her near future. She will stay busy next year taking classes in organic chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology to prepare her for graduate school and hopefully a Master’s in nutrition.
“Everything that I’ve learned here, just the confidence and just the way people work here and the supportive nature, is going to go with me wherever I go. I want to continue to be supportive to my co-workers and the student athletes I work with. I think being here has really helped with that,” said Mattia.