What led you to choose the physical therapy program at WVU?
From the second I stepped foot in the Health Sciences Center for my PT school interview, I knew it was where I wanted to be. It just felt right. WVU’s PT program had so much to offer and supported all of my personal and professional goals. A program associated with a teaching hospital was important to me because I always had a passion for working in a hospital setting with medically complex patients and having faculty from a variety of specialties and backgrounds was also very important to me—all of which WVU provided. Further, I was impressed by the program’s emphasis on interprofessional education and rural health. Interprofessional communication and work is essential to effective clinical practice, and this program provided many opportunities for this. They also gave me the opportunity to practice clinical skills, help, and learn from rural communities which truly made me grow as a clinician and a person.
Why did you choose what you did for your undergrad? How do you feel it uniquely prepared you? Feel free to share specific examples.
I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. I always had a love for science but was more passionate about the social and human interactions associated with the healthcare field, which is why I decided to choose a Health Sciences major. This major provided both science-related courses and public health courses which was a perfect match for my goals. I feel that the public health perspective, including epidemiology, health behavior change, and population health determinants courses, made me a better clinician and lead me to take a wholistic approach with all patients to better serve them.
Why did you choose WVU for your education?
I wanted to go somewhere that felt like home and somewhere I felt welcomed. Everyone I knew that had attended WVU stated it was home, and I never knew exactly what they meant until now—it is home. Now that I have moved away, I miss it all the time, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say about a school you attended. WVU has so much to offer, from amazing professional, graduate education to football games and gathering with friends in the blue lot. I wanted a school where I could gain both exceptional educational experiences and fun, life experiences.
What would you tell prospective students about your experience at WVU and the School of Medicine?
My experience at WVU and their PT program was absolutely wonderful and exactly what I wanted in a graduate program. I learned so much and was well prepared for both my national board examination and for clinical practice. The program curriculum is very diverse and utilizes PTs from a wide variety of specialties to provide a top-notch, well rounded education, which is something all PTs should want and strive for in an education. I also gained friends and memories that I will cherish forever. WVU’s PT program is a smaller class size, which allowed all of us to really get to know each other and bond. Any graduate program, especially in the health field, is very challenging and demanding, but our class really bonded and helped each other through. I couldn’t have done it without my fellow PT students.
Have you had any particular professors or faculty members who were particularly helpful to you? If so, how?
I can truly and honestly say that all of the faculty members in the PT program were amazing teachers, leaders and clinicians. I felt that they all helped me in their own way and shaped me into the clinician I am today. All of the faculty members are so passionate about being physical therapists and this passion really passed onto me and has carried over into how I now practice physical therapy.
What’s your ideal career scenario?
This may seem too simple, but my ideal career scenario is one where I am truly making a difference in people’s lives. I entered the field of physical therapy primarily because my passion in life is helping others, and I thrive on working with and learning about people. As long as I am helping someone, that is an ideal career for me.
How did you, or are you, bonding with the people in your program? For example, clubs or student organizations.
I am so lucky and so thankful to have been a part of a PT class that was exceptionally close. We bonded in many ways, including: participating in Relay for Life, hosting 5K fundraisers, volunteering to assist people in the community, creating rural health community projects, or just simply eating pizza together in the library while cramming for exams.
Have you received any particular honors or awards during your time here?
· Outstanding Academic Achievement Award
· Clinical Pathways Scholar Award
Anything else you’d like to add about your experience at the School of Medicine?
I feel that I am able to better serve all of my patients due to the rural health clinical education that I received through this program. Even though I am currently a PT in a large city, all of the skills I learned during my time spent in a medically underserved, rural community have carried over and have made me a much better, more well-rounded clinician. I am so thankful and appreciative to have been given this opportunity in order to provide the best care possible to my patients.