Alumni Spotlight: Keressa Ackles, '11
LSU School of Kinesiology alumna Keressa Ackles, has always been driven. And with a “laundry list of caregivers” in her family, she knew she ultimately wanted to provide care for others in her profession. Her additional passion for sports led her to the athletic training profession, where she found success at LSU and beyond.
Not one to stand still, Keressa has also launched a non-profit organization, The Geauxlden Kause, and recently transitioned to a new job with Amazon as one of their Injury and Prevention Specialists at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in California. Read more about her work on the field and off below.
Where are you from and when did you graduate from LSU?
I graduated from LSU in 2011. I’m from Houston, but I couldn’t be any more proud of Louisiana even if I had grown up there -- Louisiana has always meant family and community. I’ve never been in such a place that accepted me for me
Describe your previous roles as an athletic trainer in the collegiate setting.
While pursuing my Master's, I was a graduate assistant at Southwest Minnesota State University, working with women’s basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, cheerleading, football, and softball programs.
Next, I was hired at the University of Louisville as the assistant athletic trainer for the women’s basketball team just before the start of the 2017-18 season. My role was all-encompassing, including taking care of the women’s basketball team regarding treatment, rehabilitation, as well as any needed administrative duties. Though I'm no longer an athletic trainer at the University of Louisville, I am still pursuing my doctorate through UL.
Tell us about your non-profit organization, The Geauxlden Kause.
I had two experiences that led me to create The Geauxlden Kause. First was during my master’s studies when my father was diagnosed with and beat a brain tumor. My second experience happened at the University of Louisville. Our team doctor’s daughter was also diagnosed with a brain tumor. Through my experience with my father’s diagnosis and through a connection I made while interning with Varsity Sports in college, I was able to help my coworker apply for and be accepted into St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where her daughter was cured of her tumor.
These experiences led me to create The Geauxlden Kause, a non-profit that builds educational
programming to empower generations to win the race of educational and economic welfare
to accrue residual wealth.
How did the LSU Athletic Training degree program help prepare you for your career as an Athletic Trainer, and what are some of the biggest takeaways you got from the LSU AT program?
At LSU, I felt blessed to be in a program where you truly experience what it is like to be a professional athletic trainer. In my time as a student, I worked with elite athletes and award-winning coaches in a controlled environment. For instance, while I was at LSU, our school actively had 21 olympians on various sports teams! You cannot beat that kind of experience.
I worked with men’s basketball first, then the track and field teams, and finally
with football. LSU also provided me with an amazing opportunity to serve as the medical
liaison and host athletic trainer for Green Bay University and Penn State University
when LSU hosted the 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship (1st & 2nd Rounds).
Why would you encourage students interested in a career as an AT to pursue it at LSU?
LSU not only gave me valuable hands-on training, I also got to work with incredible women in the field of athletic training. Through the LSU Athletic Training program, I worked with Shelly Mullenix, Senior Associate Athletic Director / Health and Wellness, and Micki Collins, Director of Athletic Training and Administration (FB). They helped me grow and have been extremely influential in my life and career. They encouraged me, gave me the tools to succeed, and showed me how to be a successful woman in this industry. I am so appreciative of the people I worked with and for my time at LSU.