Meet the reason many of us survived 1st semester Anatomy
Background & Career
Mathematics to Medical Education to Finding Magis
With respect to my educational background, I earned a B.S. in Systems Analysis of Mathematics with a Biological Application Area from Penn State (We Are!) in 2017. That fall, I began my Ph.D. in the Anatomy, Cell Biology, & Physiology – Education Track program at Indiana University School of Medicine. I am currently preparing to defend my dissertation entitled “What’s My Role Again? Cultivating Interprofessionalism, Role Knowledge, and Role Clarity Through Case-Based Learning” (and yes, that is a Blink 182 reference).
While at IU School of Medicine, I was able to teach a variety of student populations including anesthesiology assistant (MSA), dental (DDS), doctoral (PhD), masters (MS), medical (MD), nursing (RN), occupational therapy (OTD), pathology assistant (PA), pharmacy (PharmD), physical therapy (DPT), physician assistant (associate (MPAS)), veterinary (DVM), and undergraduate students. I truly love teaching multiple health professions because it enables me to adapt my teaching towards each student population’s needs and interests. Coming to Regis allowed me to continue teaching physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, family and marriage counseling, and undergraduates.
I was born in Kansas City before moving to Boulder, CO in the first grade. Colorado is my home and after nine years, I am happy to be back in the Centennial State. Growing up, I was involved in sports, theatre, and volunteer work. I played volleyball and dabbled in snowboarding. During my nine-year stint as a theatre kid, I received regional awards for improv and dramatic monologues. Some of my lead roles included Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Antigone in Antigone, Susan in Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, and Rizzo in Grease. Theatre taught me how to improvise, adapt on the fly, and speak in front of large crowds. I have also continued volunteering at Sister Carmen Community Center’s Foodbank in Lafayette off and on since high school, and previously engaged in volunteer work with neurodivergent youth through Expand and Circle of Friends. Volunteer work and being involved in my community is something I genuinely enjoy doing and I love that Regis emphasizes the importance of service.
Why was I so drawn to Regis? While the location and the campus are amazing, I was most impressed with the people and the community here at Regis. When I interviewed at Regis, I was struck by the fact that every faculty and staff member I came across was thrilled to be here, passionate about what they do, genuinely interested in going the extra mile to help their students and colleagues, and everyone was highly involved in the community. Regis is a smaller university than the state schools I’ve taught at before, with as many as 700 students in one large lecture hall. One of the perks of Regis’ size is that it allows us to truly get to know all our students and connect with them in ways I couldn’t when I was teaching 1,400 students in a single semester. That palpable sense of community and desire to embody magis: striving to optimize our time and talents in order to best serve the needs of as many people as we can, ultimately drew me in.
I was also eager (albeit nervous) to become the course coordinator for an 84-student cadaveric anatomy course less than one month after arriving here. Most newly minted Assistant Professors will give a lecture or two their first semester; it is exceedingly rare to become a course coordinator so quickly. But I loved the people here at Regis and felt strongly that this was where I was meant to be, so I took a leap of faith and hit the ground running!
My Role in the DPT Program
While I’m not a PT (in fact, I am our only non-PT faculty member that teaches DPT students here at Regis), I am a medical educator with an affinity for physical therapy. There are various reasons why people go into academia. I decided to enter this profession because I genuinely love aiding others in their acquisition of knowledge and watching students grow and develop professionally and personally during this integral time in their lives. That is why being a medical educator is such an integral part of my identity. I am here to help the next generation of health professionals learn and become the best clinicians, members of society, and individuals they can be.
I have taught in quite a few health professional programs over the years, but I do hold a special place in my heart for PTs. Physical therapy requires an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, a high level of flexibility when creating the optimal treatment plan for a given patient/client, and strong interpersonal skills. That is part of what makes DPT students so exciting to teach.
The three DPT courses I teach are Anatomy & Histology, Neuroscience, and Management Applications of Physiology III. I also facilitate many of the interprofessional education sessions our students participate in with occupational therapy, pharmacy, nursing, and counseling students throughout the curriculum. Last but not least, I teach anatomy to our OTD students in the Spring and undergraduate Health & Exercise Sciences students in the Fall.
Facilitating Learning and Collaboration
As a medical educator, I love striving to improve my pedagogy (the methods in which I facilitate learning). That involves staying up to date on the latest research in my field, revising my course content every year to improve upon it, and being willing to adapt to best serve the needs of my students. It also entails adapting the content I’m teaching based on the audience: DPT (first or second year), OTD, undergraduate, interprofessional students, etc. I take a lot of pride in the efforts I go through to cater my teaching content and style to the learners I’m interacting with; to their needs, their interests, and their learning styles.
I’m also passionate about collaboration, both with colleagues and students. We are a highly collaborative team here at Regis, which I love. Not only do we collaborate with fellow faculty and staff members within each course, we communicate across courses to ensure consistency, and we collaborate on research projects as well. In addition to faculty collaboration, I really enjoy collaborating with our students. This fall, one of our first year DPT students asked if we could celebrate Dia de los Muertos in anatomy. We worked together to find several ways of incorporating Dia de los Muertos into lecture, lab, and throughout the School of Physical Therapy as a whole. Later this semester, we hope to publish a descriptive article on this experience to an anatomical education journal.
There is so much to love here at Regis, but at the top of my list is the people: students, faculty, and staff.
Life Outside the Classroom
As a Coloradan, I love immersing myself in the mountains. In the summers, I enjoy climbing 14ers (i.e. mountains that reach over 14,000 feet in elevation). Despite transversely dislocating my lunate and needing PT after summiting Torrey’s then Gray’s, that hasn’t deterred my love of climbing mountains. Handies Peak and Mount Holy Cross are the next 14ers I hope to cross off my list, and Pikes Peak is on the horizon after that!
Additionally, I have two adorable three-year-old dogs, Riley and Margo. My maltipoo, Riley, is the nine-pound alpha dog since she’s three months older than my lab, Margo. I helped deliver Margo at a neighbor’s house after taking my last exam in grad school in 2019. She’s named after a sci-fi character on a show called The Magicians, while Riley is named after the children’s hospital at my previous institution. They are a dynamic duo and I’ve loved showing them around Colorado since I came to Regis.
I also love watching sports and cheering on my favorite teams. I was a diehard Chiefs fan back in the days when we were 2-15, and it’s been great to see how far they’ve come the last few years under Andy Reid. As a Penn State alum, I love my Nittany Lions football, but my dad raised me on Kansas Jayhawks basketball, so I will always pick them to win it all in my March Madness bracket. Finally, my hockey team is the Toronto Maple Leafs (it’s a long story, but I cannot wait to see them win the cup someday)!
A word of advice to incoming PT students facing down 1st semester Anatomy & Histology:
Study early. Study often. Study with your peers.
Graduate level anatomy is very fast paced. Studying a little every day is the best way to 1) keep your head above water and 2) retain the information you’re learning long term. Studies have also shown drawing and writing things out by hand aids in retention of knowledge, so whether you use paper or a touchscreen or a whiteboard, study actively as opposed to passively. Finally, studying with your peers, by quizzing eachother and taking turns teaching, is the best way to discern what you know and what you don’t know.
Do not be afraid to reach out.
If you do happen to struggle with anatomy, please don’t hesitate to stop by my office or send me an email or ask for a quick chat on Zoom. I’m at Regis because I want to help our students succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s academics or the transition to graduate school, I’m here to support you in any way that I can. You have a strong support system here at Regis with countless students and faculty ready and willing to help you thrive!