Morning Sun News reports that a Central Michigan University professor is making history for black women, being the first black woman to be inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame. Taking place last week in New Orleans, Dr. Rene Shingles also became only the 23rd woman and 8th black person to get the prestigious honor.
“The ceremony was unbelievable and truly amazing,” she said. “I am just honored and humbled for being nominated, given the award, and going to the ceremony as I sat with my fellow hall of famers.” Notably, the hall of fame already includes names important to Shingles, including colleagues from her undergraduate, graduate, and professional careers.
“I was with some of my former professors and mentors,” she said. “It was quite an honor. Dr. Frank Walters was a mentor. I’ve known him for at least 20 years. Also, Kathy Schniedwind was my professor in graduate school and she hired me to work in an athletic training room. I took classes with her and then she became a colleague. I’m honored to follow in her footsteps.” 650 students have graduated under the guidance of Shingles, and she is recognized nationwide for being a true expert not only in the profession, but also furthering the causes of diversity and inclusion.
“I get the opportunity to work with amazing faculty, staff, and students,” she said. “The program that I’m the director for is the first major program in sports medicine in the country, so I’m happy to carry on that legacy. One of our founders, Ken Kopke, is also in the hall of fame.”
“My students who work to be athletic trainers inspire me every day,” she added. “I love watching them learn the things they need to in order to be trainers. When they put those skills into practice, then go have professional careers, it makes it all worth it.” Students Shingles has taught have gone on to work with professional athletic teams and Cirque du Soleil.
While Shingles mentioned enjoying both the ceremony and city, it was a moment that reflected on her culture that she said she remembers most. “After the ceremony, many of the African-American men and women who were present serenaded me,” she said. “They sang ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ which is the national Negro anthem and that was unbelievably special. It moved me to tears because it tied both my culture as well as my career achievements together.”