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New head athletic trainer comes home to CLC

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jun 23, 2022

Twice Pablo Valencia Garcia has chosen College of Lake County (CLC): once for his education and now for his career. Both times, being close to home and near his family was one of the main driving factors.

Pablo Valencia Garcia working with an athleteSince graduating from CLC with an Associate in Arts in summer 2017, Valencia Garcia has now become the college’s new head athletic trainer.

The Zion native started at CLC in August 2015. He knew coming out of high school that he wanted to be an athletic trainer. He attended CLC to take his general education courses with the plan to transfer.

“As an 18-year-old, CLC was a good transition from high school to college,” he said. “Some of my friends who went to four-year schools said it was a big jump, and they felt they were thrown into the fire. CLC is a more gradual transition. It’s closer to home and family.”

Another aspect he enjoyed was the diversity, both in the people who attend and the classes he was able to take.

After CLC, Valencia Garcia transferred to Northern Illinois University where he received his bachelor’s degree. Afterward, he earned a master’s degree in athletic training from Illinois State University.

While searching for jobs at the end of 2021, Valencia Garcia saw there was an opening at CLC for a head athletic trainer. At the time, his wife was pregnant, and he wanted a job locally.

“I was hesitant because it was a head trainer, and I’d always worked under people,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was qualified, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”

Since beginning the job just a short time ago, Valencia Garcia has enjoyed being back at CLC. The familiarity with the campus and culture helped make his transition easier.

“It’s been nice seeing old professors around campus where I last saw them,” he said. “I’ve come full circle because everything they taught me, I’m doing now. If it wasn’t for the experiences I had at CLC, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.