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Connecticut Athletic Trainers’ Association

Executive Council Nomination Bios




Sara E. MacDonough-Civtello, MS LAT ATC

In my brief time serving on the CATA board, I have learned a considerable amount and appreciate the collaboration and passion shared by my peers serving. There is much to be done within our great state by way of promoting our profession, expanding and preserving the integrity of our roles in all settings, and in bringing our membership together to continue the great work initiated by those who have served before us.

  There is momentum to be harnessed in the areas of legislation, stakeholder education, and in the promotion of our profession as the front lines of healthcare in all settings. Additionally, there are initiatives to be forged surrounding wages, and retention, promotion of non-traditional settings, and mentorship throughout the state. With the development of the committees, I believe we are well on our way to tackling the issues with key member involvement. Through this “end user,” involvement we will have ideal voices to identify and implement best practices, which are customized to the state of CT and our practice settings. We are gaining momentum, and it must be continued!

I am proud to be involved in grassroots efforts, development of young professionals through mentorship, wage advancement and ideal workplace conditions for all. This will serve our ultimate goal of retention of professionals in our great state. I am excited to have a possible seat at the table and be a part of the conversation. I believe my Organizational Leadership degree, professional and interprofessional network, and my experience working in various settings throughout the state will serve me well as a candidate for President-elect. I still have much to learn and relationships to develop, but I am eager and passionate to work with the fine group assembled toward our goals.



CATA Secretary Candidate


Amanda Strong DHSc, ATC

My name is Amanda Strong, and it is with great pleasure that I accept the nomination for secretary of the Connecticut Athletic Training Association (CATA). I understand all that this position entails as I have been serving in this role for almost 6 years. I currently serve as an Assistant Professor the College of Health and Human Services at Southern Connecticut State University. I have been a volunteer through NATA and various states for over a decade, and have had the value of an athletic trainer at the forefront. I am committed to continue making Connecticut better for athletic trainers and am eager to work with the rest of the board and volunteers on some of the projects we have in motion. In addition, I am interested in increasing CATA membership by hosting events and reviewing benefits of the membership to better serve ATs.




Treasurer Candidate


Nicole Varteresian ATC, LAT

I respectfully seek the support of the Connecticut Athletic Trainers Association members for re-election to the position of Treasurer. Over the past two years, I've had the privilege of serving in this role, and together, we've made significant strides in improving our financial status. Our collective efforts have yielded positive results, but there's still much work to be done. We recognize the importance of creating a strategic budget that not only enhances our financial stability but also lays a robust foundation for future growth and sustainability. I am passionate about seeing this vision through to completion. With your continued support, I aim to lead the charge in developing and implementing a strategic budget that aligns with CATA's goals and values. Thank you for your trust and confidence in me. I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving CATA and working alongside each of you to achieve our shared aspirations.



Vice President Candidate


Heather Feiner, LAT, ATC, ITAT

At this time, I would like to ask the Connecticut Athletic Trainers Association members for support as a candidate for Vice-President. For the past few years our board has created some great relationships with CT stakeholders to collaborate and move forward the profession of athletic training in all practice settings.  While improvements have been made, we still have work to do to create positions that not only help athletic trainers thrive but also find professional satisfaction.  I have enjoyed being part of the conversation, and my background in the secondary school setting has been my primary focus as I know we need to do better.  I would like the chance to help our leadership team move forward with initiatives that improve respect for what our role as athletic trainers are in healthcare. Currently, the need to create more job opportunities that encourage athletic trainers to continue practicing in our state is paramount. Thank you for your consideration.




Board Candidates

(5 candidates, choose 3)


Kelly Coleman PhD, ATC

I am honored to be nominated again for the Board of Directors for the CATA and excited for the opportunity to continue to be a part of the future of Athletic Training professional practice in the State of Connecticut. Currently, I am a Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Education at Southern Connecticut State University in the MAT degree program. I am passionate about the development of our young professionals in CT, as they make up a significant percentage of our workforce and aim to be a voice on the Board of the CATA for supporting their professional socialization as they transition to practice. For the past two years as a member of the CATA Board of Directors, I have taken lead as the Chair of the Research & Education Committee and would like to continue revitalizing and revamping the work of the committee through our restructuring of the Awards & Scholarships process. Specifically in the next two years, it is my vision to create continuing education opportunities that apply to and entice athletic trainers of all practice settings in Connecticut. Additionally, I believe a focus of the CATA Executive Board for the next two years should be to expand the committee structure to include spaces for athletic trainers in more practice settings to have a voice in the progression of the profession in the state. I would like to continue the work of the CATA in developing a community for our athletic trainers to communicate, collaborate, and develop a strong networking culture. It would be my vision to extend this collaborative community into our esteemed educational programs to start the connections earlier in their professional development to establish a network system that will grow through their young professional career. I believe that my past experiences, current educational role in the development of future athletic trainers, and my passion for creating connections amongst Athletic Trainers in Connecticut make me a great addition to the CATA Board of Directors.


Kathleen Martin MS, ATC

I am in my eighth year at the University of Connecticut as an assistant athletic trainer working primarily with the women’s volleyball program. I have also worked with the swimming & diving teams and assisted with coverage of the football program. Prior to UConn, I obtained my master’s in athletic training at Montana State University Billings, where I gained clinical experience working with the University of Tennessee football program. I received my undergraduate degree at Coastal Carolina University and played Division I volleyball for the university. I have always been passionate about athletic training and the essential need athletic trainers play not only in collegiate settings, but also in secondary schools. Serving on the Board of Directors for the CATA provides me an opportunity to give back to the profession I love and help with the advancement of the athletic training profession in the State of Connecticut. Thank you for the opportunity and consideration.


Becky Mella  MA,  ATC

I have been a certified athletic trainer since 1995 (Ithica College), member of NATA since 1995, and CATA since 1998. I have worked at PTSMC/HealthSouth, Hall High school in West Hartford from 1998-2001 and Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, CT from 2001-2011. I am currently a senior associate clinical athletic trainer at Quinnipiac University working with women’s basketball  and adjunct professor and clinical preceptor for the undergraduate athletic training program since 2011. I am pursuing an EdD in Interprofessional Leadership and Athletic Training Education from Kent State University, where my dissertation project is looking at what influences (work environment, mentoring and experience) professional identity development  in athletic trainers. Why I want to be a part of CATA I am interested in working at the state level to help promote and educate others about the profession of athletic training. An area of interest is mentoring young professionals and encouraging growth in the field.


Ryan Nurse MBA, ATC

I grew up in central Massachusetts and attended the University of Maine. I previously worked at Nichols College in Massachusetts and am now with UConn, working Football and Lacrosse. I am most interested in representing my demographic of young professionals in athletic training, making sure this group is heard and are valued in order to continue a long line of talented athletic trainers in the future. I am dedicated to elevating the profession and bringing awareness on all levels and location settings. 


Shelby Pocius MS, ATC

I had the opportunity to work within the secondary setting for 10 years before I transitioned to the industrial and tactical setting. Currently, I provide coverage for the Connecticut State Police and oversee the occupational health department of the company I work for. I am involved in the sales, marketing, and business development of that department. I am committed to improving the athletic health of all including traditional, tactical, and industrial athletes. This position with CATA would allow me the opportunity to meet and work with athletic trainers from across the state to continue to improve and provide appropriate healthcare to all athletes. I think I bring a wide range of skills that have that have become specific to athletic training and helping not only the athletic populations we serve but the athletic trainer.

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