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How color guard helped one COPH alum perform beyond the field

Kylah Stubee thought she had said goodbye to her color guard career when she left high school.

But when she started college at the USF College of Public Health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when classes were online, she knew she needed a way to meet and connect with other students.

“Not having the closure of my final high school season of guard and COVID putting classes online were two things that really pushed me to try guard at USF,” said Stubee, a health sciences major who graduated this fall and who was one of three captains of the USF Color Guard team.

Color guard, Stubee said, is the “sport of the arts.” The USF Color Guard team is part of the university’s Herd of Thunder Marching Band. The 44 members help to visually enhance the band’s performance via choreographed dances and routines that also incorporate equipment such as flags, pom-poms, sabers and mock rifles.

Stubee said taking such an active role in color guard (she participated in both fall and winter seasons) gave her the time management skills she needed to succeed in college. 

young woman with glasses holding green and gold pompoms

During football season, for example, she attended rehearsals three times for a total of nine hours. Tack on another three hours for game-day rehearsals. During Winterguard season, which runs from late fall until spring, rehearsals tended to be an all-weekend affair. 

As one of three captains, she also helped choreograph and teach new routines, was responsible for administrative duties such as reaching out to those who expressed an interest in the team and put in time coaching members who were having difficulty landing their throws.

“For me, having the consistent schedule of guard helped motivate me to do my schoolwork and keep up with studying. I knew I couldn’t miss guard practice because I didn’t prioritize school, and I also knew I couldn’t let my education suffer because of my extracurricular commitments,” Stubee said.

While it might seem like tossing and spinning flags and other items have nothing to do with public health, Stubee could not disagree more. 

She points to research showing how the arts can improve physical and mental well-being and notes how the team educates its members on injury prevention. 

“Guard also connects people from a wide variety of backgrounds and paths and connects us to our community,” she said. “As part of our program, we have a community committee that sets up local showcases. We also perform service work, such as conducting food drives.”

Stubee, who hopes to attend graduate school, said public health interests her because of its profound effect on people.

“Public health offers so many ways in which to help people,” she commented. “There’s research, patient care, policy and education, to name a few. The possibilities excite me, and I cannot wait to learn more about all that public health has to offer me in my professional future.”

Alumni Fast Five

What did you dream of becoming when you were young?

Other than wanting to be a fairy, when I was young, I dreamed of becoming a marine biologist.

Where would we find you on the weekend?

On the weekends you can find me at Winterguard rehearsal or competitions! 

What is the last book you read? 

The last book I read was "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," by Suzanne Collins. 

What superpower would you like to have? 

I’ve always wanted to fly! 

What’s your all-time favorite movie? 

My all-time favorite movie is "Tinkerbell!" As a kid, I loved seeing the books I read come to life. 

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About Department News

Welcome to the USF COPH news page. Our marketing and communications team is entrusted with storytelling. Through written stories, photography, video and social media we highlight alumni, faculty, staff and students who are committed to passionately solving problems and creating conditions that allow every person the universal right to health and well-being. These are our stories.