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Above, Gabriella Prata ’16 (center) with some of her MCLA Women’s Lacrosse Team fans, and below, with Dianne Manning, director of the College’s Residential Programs and Services.

Alumna Pursues Master’s Degree in Athletic Training


As she served as a resident advisor for three years in MCLA’s Hoosac Hall, Gabriella Prata ’16 of Danbury, Conn., realized that she wanted to continue to work in a collegiate setting so she might continue to interact with college students on a daily basis. The biology major – who also was a student-athlete on MCLA’s Women’s Lacrosse Team – decided on a career as an athletic trainer.

With a dream to work with college athletes at a Division I school, Prata recently headed to Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. There, she began work on her master’s degree in athletic training.

“As an athletic trainer in a college setting, I will get to help my student athletes on the field, and also be a resource for them when it comes to academics and school-related issues,” said Prata, who also added a pre-physical therapy concentration to her biology major. “The athletic training field is always expanding. It keeps you thinking, and on your toes.”

“The biology program at MCLA was phenomenal,” she continued. “The faculty and staff are very knowledgeable about their field, and they are approachable. The biology classes are challenging and very interesting. … I have taken all the courses necessary, plus some more, to feel confident going into my graduate program.”

While at MCLA, Prata took advantage of various travel opportunities. This included service learning in Belize and study that took place in Ireland, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Florida. She also was involved in a number of activities on campus.

In addition to her work as a resident advisor and playing on the lacrosse team, she served as the National Communication Coordinator for MCLA within the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH) organization, and was part of the National Residence Hall Honorary.

“I also worked with the MCLA STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy and the 413 STEM Academy,” Prata said. “These organizations and experiences taught me so much about myself and always pushed me to try harder or to step out of my comfort zone.

“Without being involved, I would have had a very different college experience and would not have found my confidence,” she continued. “MCLA’s amazing faculty and staff were always willing to help me succeed, no matter what challenge I presented to them.”

At MCLA, Prata explained, there is no one right way of doing things. “Everything is individualized to make sure you are successful, which is a quality that is not found at many other institutions.”

She added, “MCLA has something for everyone, and you will truly feel like you are home, right from the start.”