Graduation Year: Rutgers University Class of 2014
Major: Exercise Science and Sports studies, Applied Kinesiology option
Graduate School: Rutgers University DPT South - Blackwood Program, Class of 2017
Currently working as a Full Time Physical Therapist At Burlington County Special Services
When/what made you want to become a Physical Therapist?
Prior to my sophomore year in college I had no idea what being a Physical Therapist entailed. Graduating high school, I knew I enjoyed science, so I started in the School of Pharmacy at Rutgers, New Brunswick. After my first year I realized that it was not for me. I discovered that what I liked most in General Biology was animal physiology. I have always been a people-person and the idea of spending my career improving the quality of life of others sounded extremely fulfilling. That summer I switched to an Exercise Science major and quickly became fascinated with the internal and external physics of the human body.
What specifically about the Rutgers DPT program appealed to you?
I had a great experience with Rutgers as an Undergraduate and the idea of staying within the Rutgers community appealed to me. I am originally from south jersey; however, I have family and friends in north Jersey. The location of the Rutgers DPT-south program was a perfect spot for me. The fact that it is right outside of Philadelphia, is a bonus. This allowed for unlimited resources close by. I also liked that the class size was not too big, and the faculty had experience in all different areas of Physical Therapy. The Rutgers DPT Program offered four clinical affiliations. Not many programs have this many clinicals. This prepared me well in a multitude of environments.
What kind of experiences or activities did you have in the field of Physical Therapy during your undergraduate education? (Internships, volunteer experiences, etc.)
I volunteered/shadowed physical therapists at Cape May County Special Services School, Shore Medical Center, Parker Home Assisted Living Facility, and Shore Orthopedic Physical Therapy. I interned at Saint Peter’s Sports Medicine Institute and became a PT aide there my Senior year. I also worked as a Student Athletic Trainer for the Rutgers football and soccer teams for two years.
Did you have a favorite class or professor within your major?
This is a tough one. Anatomy lab with Adam Divine was great. It was a solid foundation to understanding the human body. It prepared me well for my graduate cadaver lab dissections as most undergraduate programs do not have cadaver labs. I also really enjoyed the exercise science, kinesiology and biomechanics courses.
How do you feel your major and classes at Rutgers University prepared you for graduate study in the DPT program?
I felt extremely prepared coming from the Rutgers Exercise Science program to the DPT program. The Exercise Science program was tough, however it was worth all the hard work as it gave me a great foundation to build up from. Physics, Anatomy, Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, and Biomechanics are the core classes that prepared me.
If you could give advice to undergraduate students following a pre-physical therapy path, what would it be?
Never give up on yourself. I was told that I would never get into a Physical Therapy Program with the GPA I had. My first year in Pharmacy school had weighed down heavily on my GPA. My GPA suffered my entire undergraduate career because of how poorly I did that first year. Once I transferred over to Exercise Science I found my passion and worked hard to maintain A's and B's. I was not going to let anything stop me from achieving my dream of becoming a Physical Therapist. It is not going to be easy, but I am proof that it is possible. Work hard for these 7 years so that you can have a lifetime career doing what you love.