Utah State University student Alyssa McNutt’s college experience has been marked by determination, passion for track and field, and a deep gratitude for the scholarships that made her dreams possible.
Beginning her higher education at Mt. Hood Community College in Oregon, Alyssa earned three associate degrees in sciences, arts, and general studies before being recruited by USU’s Track and Field team. Arriving at USU in 2022, Alyssa quickly acclimated to life away from home as she fell in love with the beautiful campus and welcoming Aggie community in Logan.
As a member of the Track and Field team, Alyssa specializes in hammer, discus, and weight throw, a sport she embraced at an early age fueled by the encouragement of her parents who met through their own high school track and field experiences. Growing up in Sandy, Oregon, Alyssa has been participating in track and field since the 7th grade.
“Both of my parents instilled in me the importance of pursuing a college degree and my mother’s encouragement to join the track and field team in middle school has opened up so many doors for me,” Alyssa said. “My athletic skillset, combined with the associate degrees I earned at Mt. Hood, gave me the amazing opportunity to be here at USU.”
At USU, Alyssa is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, an interest she discovered after taking a career exploration class at Mt. Hood. Her favorite class, exercise physiology, deepened her understanding of how muscles work and how the body reacts to stressors.
Reflecting on her athletic journey, which has included three torn ACLs, Alyssa decided on a degree in kinesiology as a step toward pursuing her career goal of becoming a physical therapist.
“I have a younger sibling with severe scoliosis who has the majority of their spine fused,” Alyssa said. “I saw how this affected my family and I wanted to help. Becoming a physical therapist will be my way of giving back as I would like to work in acute care in hospitals for people who have gone through traumatic accidents or surgeries.”
Alyssa credits much of her success at USU to the scholarships she received to help pay for her education. As part of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, Alyssa received the Peter L. Kranz Scholarship, among others, to fund her time at USU. The financial help she received greatly alleviated the stress of paying for out-of-state tuition and living expenses, allowing her to focus on academics and athletics.
“Helping out a young adult coming into themselves as a person and providing them with opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise is so thoughtful,” Alyssa said of those who donate to student scholarships. “It has made my job as a student so much easier.”
Moving to Logan has been an incredible growth experience for Alyssa. Currently living with four roommates, Alyssa has navigated the challenges of communal living and has learned to appreciate the shared responsibilities and communication required to maintain a household.
Between classes and track and field, Alyssa doesn’t have much free time, but she unwinds by reading, going on walks while listening to podcasts, and playing video games – a necessary break from the demands of school and sports. She also feels lucky to be able to go to school in such a great location with so many outdoor activities.
“USU has the most beautiful campus,” Alyssa said. “I love showing it off to my friends back home.”
Graduating in December 2024, Alyssa plans to take a gap year to accumulate more observation hours for her graduate school application. With her strong sense of independence and skillset acquired here at USU, she looks forward to the next chapter in her life and is eager to contribute to the field of physical therapy and make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need.
The Utah State University Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Student Scholarship and Success Fund provides unparalleled opportunities for deserving students to chart a more certain future with the help of scholarships. Create Your Aggie Impact by supporting student-focused areas at usu.edu/advancement/campaign/students.