A Look At the Paths Less Traveled – Non-Traditional Students on Why Regis

One of the many great things about the Regis DPT program is its wealth of different students. We celebrate diversity in all of its many forms, including those who may have taken a less traveled route to getting here. Below is quick look at a handful of some of our non-traditional students in the Class of 2023 and their take on how they became part of the class.

Betsey Geerdes

Age: 32

Undergraduate major/minor/previous degrees: BFA Painting and Drawing

Former profession: Sign artist, clinic and surgery scheduler

I realized during my last year of art school that I really wanted a career working with and for people rather than by myself in a studio. I also realized that I spent most of my time and energy moving my body as much as possible and that I wanted to know more about the human body and how it moves. I spent some time in PT for amateur running injuries and was super motivated by that experience to help people find hope and healing in moving their bodies well for the rest of their lives.

I picked Regis because it’s in Colorado and I love to ski/run/be outside in the mountains as much as possible. I’m glad to be here at Regis because while they clearly uphold academics and excellent practice, they also care about the whole person, for us as students, and in teaching us as practitioners to think and care in a like manner.

Kathryn Marr

Age: 30

Major: Biology           Minor: Environmental Science           Post-graduate degree: Master of Science in Geological Engineering

Former profession: U.S. Army Officer (Captain, Engineer)

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an “Army doctor.” Before graduating high school I signed an ROTC contract, and my freshman year decided to major in biology. I wasn’t too far into my undergrade degree when I realized I wasn’t mature enough to go straight into a graduate program, so I commissioned and entered the active duty Army. I enjoyed my time in the Army, but when it stopped being intrinsically fulfilling, I started to explore options in the medical field. I chose PT because I enjoy learning about biomechanics and how the body moves. For me, PT is a career field where I feed my own interests, and use that to improve the lives of others.

Throughout the interview process, I felt that Regis cared about who I was, not just what I looked like on paper. By taking this approach building their student body, Regis is able to form a wholistic class rather than a group of individuals. The best part is, they take the same approach while recruiting their faculty. During my interview day, a first-year student commented that the faculty weren’t putting on a show to make Regis “look good,” but they truly were excited we were there and wanted to get to know the future student body. Now having started my second semester, I still feel the passion and excitement from the faculty in developing us to be future DPTs.

Sung Yi

Age: 31

Major: American Ethnic Studies        Minor: Diversity Studies

Former profession: I was a transit operator (bus driver) for a major metropolitan transit system for 8 years.

As a child, my parents worked labor-intensive jobs and in many instances, my dad would get injured and never sought treatment. Part of the problem was a lack of information but mostly a deficiency of equitable healthcare representation in our neighborhood/area. It wasn’t until I was injured in a car accident at 16 and subsequently received treatment at physical therapy that I realized I wanted to join the profession. Fortunately, I saw a significant reduction in symptoms but also realized why my parents never sought physical therapy, the lack of accessibility in the profession (culture, language, geography, socioeconomic, etc). My experiences since that time have been dedicated to strengthening communities and acknowledging the unique individual needs of each member. Physical therapy is one of the few fields in healthcare that gives the patient the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to uplift themselves. Ultimately, as a bilingual first-generation American, I hope my presence will help people overcome this barrier and encourage more folks to seek out physical therapy.

I lean into growth opportunities and I felt that Regis University was the best option for several reasons. I had never lived outside of the Pacific NW so having the opportunity to get away from the dreary cloudy days of Seattle was a huge motivation. As an older SPT, I wanted to join a program that cherished individuals that may not have taken a linear path but paths that offer richness and diversity to a program, something I believe Regis DPT strives to accomplish. In my experience, Regis was most adept at welcoming prospective students in comparison to other programs. I was most impressed with the continued communication from current students and faculty after my interview. I did not experience this with any other program and it was this level of follow-through that led to my decision to attend the Regis DPT program.

Nicole Tesson

Age:  The Big 4-0.

Major: Dance  Minor: Education

Former profession:  Pilates and Gyrotonic Instructor primarily, Dance Educator in elementary schools, nonprofit administration

I’ve thought about PT since my undergraduate degree, and chose the more affordable path of Pilates instruction at the time because it fulfilled my desire to teach movement.  Over the years while working alongside PT’s, I’ve continually come back to wanting to pursue this career and gain a deeper knowledge base.  PT also opens the door to working with a more diverse population than I’m typically able to reach in studio settings.  After the birth of my second son, there didn’t seem any better time to work toward these goals!  (half sarcasm and half true)

My experience at interview day at Regis felt so welcoming, faculty were open and communicative, and I was able to connect with another non-traditional student.  I resonated with the concepts of serving people holistically as well as the opportunities for self-reflection embedded in the curriculum.  My family is here to stay in the Denver area for the foreseeable future, so I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of the Regis community.  It’s been a wild ride to get to this point, but I can’t imagine a different journey for me. 

Sara Taube

Age: 33

Majors: Earth and Environmental Sciences, Studio Art        Minor: Economics      Post-graduate degree: Master of Science in Environmental Sciences

Former profession: Environmental consultant

I studied geology because I loved natural sciences and being outside; I became a consultant because I didn’t want to get a PhD. After a short time into my five years in industry, I became disillusioned with the way things worked. I wanted to be saving the world one bad patch of land at a time, when really, that’s not at all what we were doing out there. One of my life goals has always been to have a profession that goes beyond the paycheck, to bringing good into the world. Physical therapy had done so much for me as a young adult, on and off other DPTs’ plinths, that I wanted to be able to bring that kind of healing to others. In the end, it was a matter of logistics because I knew where my heart was.

Regis has heart and it is abundantly present in so many of the things that happen in the DPT program. I love the idea of approaching patients with cura personalis, caring for the whole person, which is one of the five pillars of Regis’s Jesuit teaching. I instantly connected with a number of the SPTs I met on interview day and what they said about the faculty and their fellow classmates resonated with me. I met people who had the same ideals and interests – I was able to see myself as part of this body.

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