Get ready for the 2018 Move Forward 5K/10K Race!

Name: Sarah Pancoast, Class of 2019

Undergrad: Regis University

Hometown: Evergreen, Colorado

Fun Fact: I own a 20-year-old, 9-foot Columbian Red Tail Boa Constrictor

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When race day arrives, you know that you have put in the necessary training for the day to be successful. Whether that is enjoying time with friends or other participants, being outside in the sun, shaving off some time or just getting exercise within the community. Any of those reasons create excitement as you cross the finish line! I will be honest and say that running is really not my forte… I only really “run” when it is required for a CrossFit workout. However, I have participated in the last four Move Forward races and have come to actually enjoy a 5K, in which I decrease my time each year. Someday I hope to tackle a 10K, so I can check it off my bucket list.

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Running with my pup, Star, in the 2017 Move Forward Race

 

The next Move Forward 5k/10k Race at Regis University, will be on September 22, 2018.

This race is hosted by the students of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program and has been an annual event for 16 years! As Race Director, this is an important event for the DPT program, as we share our knowledge in how to live healthy lives, involve the community, and fundraise money for two extremely important foundations: Canine Companions for Independence and the Foundation for Physical Therapy. Canine Companions is especially meaningful to Regis, as we have annual teams of students who assist in puppy raising before they are sent to train to become a fully-fledged service dog. The Foundation for Physical Therapy helps support research in physical therapy for our future profession.

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Our goal this year is to fundraise $5,000. If you or you know of someone who would want to sponsor this race, we and our foundations would be extremely grateful! All money raised goes to the foundations listed above. Any amount goes a long way! You can access the donation page here: https://moveforward5k10k.racedirector.com/donate

If you would like to sponsor this race, please email: moveforward5k.10k@gmail.com for more information.

 

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Zuma as a new pup! – she is training to be a service dog and is being raised by us, the School of Physical Therapy

 

This year we will be running a new course which follows the Clear Creek Trail system just down from campus. This means the 10K will be an out and back, not be a double of what the 5K has been in the past, so it’ll be something new and exciting! Anyone can run a 5K with practice, motivation and community involvement. If you need help, sign up for our Couch to 5K program to get you prepared for this fun event. Our goal is to get the community involved in exercise, learning to care for themselves, and most of all, to have fun!

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When we’re not training for Move Forward, we enjoy springtime on the Quad!

 

This event was created to get people to make healthy choices and get moving, so we can live an optimal life! Early morning bagels, fruit and coffee will be provided to get that extra boost before the race starts. On the count of 3, 2, 1…GO!! Walk, run, skip, hop or handstand walk your way to the finish line to enjoy burgers, hot dogs and beer. You deserve it after the hard work you have put in. Stick around after the race for music, yoga, water stations, vendors, and Canine Companions for Independence dogs to keep the day going. Don’t forget we will have a fun run for kids too, starting at 10:30 am.

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If you have not signed up for the race yet and you know you do not want to miss it, you can register here: https://moveforward5k10k.racedirector.com/registration-1

 

The Move Forward Race will be held on September 22, 2018 and starts at 9:00am. If you have any further questions, please contact me at spancoast001@regis.edu.

Hope to see you out there!

 

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My first Thanksgiving 5K

Sarah Pancoast graduated with a B.S. in Health and Exercise Science from Regis University in 2015 and was once a competitive gymnast and has taught gymnastics from preschool to a USAG competitive level for 17 years. She currently owns her own massage therapy practice in Boulder, Colorado, Back to Balance Therapy. After finding she needed a new perspective on how the body functions, she enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Regis University and hopes to incorporate physical therapy with her massage therapy in the future. In her free time, Sarah likes to CrossFit, Olympic Weightlift, do jigsaw puzzles and hike with her dog, Star.

 

5 Ways to Make Your Summer Last Longer

Name: Evan Piché, Class of 2018
Undergrad:
 Colorado State University
Graduate: 
Masters in Public Policy
Fun Fact: 
I’m an ordained minister (thanks, Universal Life Church).
Hometown:
Holyoke, MA

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The air is starting to get crisper, your neighbors are raking the first leaves into huge piles that just beg to be jumped into, Instagram posts contain things like #pumpkinspice, and–of course–decorative gourds are beginning to make their annual appearance on countertops everywhere. Soon we will perform the yearly ritual of enjoying one extra hour of sleep in exchange for enduring six months of perpetual darkness.

Lamentably, summer is drawing to a close. Skiers and snowboarders are understandably stoked. But even football fans and snow-sport enthusiasts must acknowledge the bittersweet mood that accompanies the changing of seasons as we collectively bid farewell to flip-flops, sundresses, grilling, swimming, drinking margaritas on the porch, and falling asleep in a hammock. If you are like me—still wearing sandals and denying the inevitability of winter—or you just want to make the most of these final few precious days of summer-like weather (while also avoiding adult responsibility), you will find the following tips useful:

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#pumpkinspice

1. Watch the Sunset with a Beverage

This is self-explanatory. The sun typically sets in the west (if you’re directionally challenged, and reside in the Front Range, look towards the mountains) sometime between 7:00 o’clock and it’s-way-too-early-for-it-to-be-dark-already o’clock. Sunsets pair well with beer. The type/brand of beer doesn’t matter so much; just about any beer will taste good when enjoyed outdoors. Can or bottle? Doesn’t matter. Actually, the beer isn’t even the important part; this will work with Coke, or tea, or V8 juice, or whatever. The important part is the sunset.

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Sunset-beers with anatomy lab group

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Enjoying sunset-beers in Zion

2. “Food Poisoning”

Autumn is a great time to stay home sick with “that gnarly stomach bug that’s been going around” and go do something fun outside (*Editor’s note: for the responsible student, skip to #3). It’s starting to get dark earlier and earlier with each passing day; you can’t realistically be expected to go mountain biking after class when the sun sets at 4pm. I can’t condone faking sick, but if you do decide to head up to the mountains for a hike instead of going to class, make sure your fabricated illness is embarrassing/gross enough that no one will dare question you. Food poisoning is a personal favorite—it’s extremely common, utterly plausible, and no one likes to ask probing questions about that kind of stuff.

Bonus Tip: The phrase “it’s coming out both ends” and adjectives like “explosive” and “violent” should be sprinkled in liberally as they will lend credibility to your story. This is important to ensure that the legitimacy of your “illness” will not be questioned. Fall is a great time to hike to Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park while recovering from your unfortunate gastrointestinal distress.

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Sky Pond, Rocky Mountain National Park

 

3. Ride Your Bike to Nowhere in Particular…But Make Sure to Get Ice Cream While You Do It

Perhaps you can’t justify skipping class (*responsible students, continue reading here). Fair enough. Maybe an afternoon of avoiding studying and reconnecting with your childhood is more your level of procrastination. Have you ever ridden your bike to Sweet Cow at 2:00 pm to “study?” No?! Try it sometime! After stuffing your face, spend an hour or so just cruising around the block on your bike and embrace that feeling of being twelve again.

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High Lonesome Trail in Nederland, CO

4. Camp

Myth: camping season runs from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend.

Fact: those are actually the starting and ending dates of white-pants-wearing season for people who own white pants.

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Camping in Zion

5. Drive Around with Your Windows Rolled Down While Doing That Airplane Thing with Your Hand

How many hours did you spend driving around this summer with the windows down, blasting 90’s Hip-Hop/Dixie Chicks and pretending your hand is an airplane? Quite clearly, you did not spend an adequate amount of time engaging in this activity. Today, after class, hop in your car, crank up the stereo to that obnoxiously loud volume that makes things in your car vibrate and take a drive to absolutely nowhere.

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Cruising around (and climbing) in Crested Butte, CO

Since the author is approaching 30, and therefore not “hip” to what the “kids” are grooving to these days, I will suggest a few classic summer anthems that are sure to enhance the stoke level:

-I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly (pre-weirdness)
-Wide Open Spaces – The Dixie Chicks
-Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
-Boys of Summer – Eagles
-Milkshake – Kelis
-Pretty much anything by Prince, David Bowie, or Snoop-Dog/Lion

These are only suggestions. I encourage you to be imaginative and creative in your recreational procrastination.

Staying Grounded in PT School, Method 42: Silence

Name: Blake Miller, Class of 2019
Undergrad: 
Whitworth University
Hometown: 
Missoula, MT
Fun Fact: 
I grew up 20 minutes from a ski resort but never downhill skied until moving to Colorado this year.

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It’s an age-old story: a small-town boy moves to the big city to pursue his dreams of fame and fortune, only to face trials and challenges that test him more than he’d even imagined. Alright… maybe that’s a little sensationalized, but all the parts are there. Here’s the real story: I grew up on the outskirts of Missoula, a lovely town in Western Montana where the only thing that could cause a traffic jam on the Interstate was a herd of rogue cattle. As fate would have it, I decided to venture south to the land of altitude, and more importantly, the city of the prestigious Regis University. As you’ve probably guessed, I moved here for PT school, a 3-year endeavor where excitement and challenges abound. While school has been hard (insert cliché reference to Anatomy and Neuro), there has been another large and unexpected challenge: finding silence and calm amidst the whirlwind of school and obligations.

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Missoula, MT

Growing up in an area of the country that is relatively isolated, it was easy to take the absence of noise for granted. I was guaranteed to find at least 5 mountain trails with no one else on them within 10 miles; if I was feeling lazy, I could simply walk outside and find that same noiseless environment in my backyard. But that all changed when I moved to Denver. The first hike I did was a 14er (not the brightest idea), and I was shocked by how many people could find their way to a mountain at 6:30 AM on a Tuesday. My new apartment wasn’t any better, as the sounds from the traffic were always present (in contrast, my roommate from Chicago was just happy to not hear gunshots at night anymore).

It’s amazing what happens when you lose something you take for granted. At first, I didn’t realize it had happened; I thought my newfound low-level agitation was due to my obligatory grad school coffee addiction. But, after about a month I figured it out: I had not found a single moment since moving to Denver where I had felt the silence that is only found by being alone in nature. So, I changed a few things. I began making space for myself, and as a result I slowly became less anxious, more productive, and much more present in everyday situations.

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Enjoying some solo time on Mt. Quandary

Here are my tips to help you find silence during PT school–both in nature and in everyday life:

1. Make time for yourself when you’re in nature

I’ve developed the reputation among my hiking classmates of getting 80% of the way to the top of a mountain and then flying ahead, not to be seen again until I’m sitting on the edge of the summit. While they might attribute this to my eccentric personality (fair enough), the main driver of this behavior is that there’s an uncanny stillness atop a peak that is only disturbed by the occasional chirp of a bird and, once they catch up, the laughter and musings of my friends. So, next time you go hiking, biking, or climbing, take a second for yourself to simply be still and relax in the wonder around you.

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Team picture!

2. Utilize your car time

Take one of your weekly drives and turn off the radio. I prefer to study alone, so most of my go-to coffee shops are 20 minutes away (Stella’s, Steam, Nixon’s, but that’s a whole different blog post), and assuming you don’t go there during rush hour, you’ll have a relatively peaceful drive when you turn the music off. Or, next time you make the 90-minute drive to Estes Park or Vail, try it in silence and see how it affects your mood and the way you interact with others.

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Getting some silence at Wash Park

3. Make it a daily practice

If you’re pinched for time, Regis has many good spots that are removed from the noise. If you want to watch the sunset in silence from an unobstructed view, try the chapel; if you just need a break from studying, find an empty classroom in Claver – there are plenty!

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Sky Pond

4. Become comfortable with listening to your thoughts.

I write this as finals are creeping up, and it is a common sentiment among my classmates that we feel overwhelmed and bombarded with constant thoughts that demand our attention. Instead of tuning them out, listen to them; give them the attention they deserve. One way I sort out these thoughts is to take 15 minutes every day to sit in silence in my room with all distractions, especially my phone, removed. Set a timer, and just sit in your thoughts until it goes off. These 15 minutes might feel like an eternity at first, but after making it a daily practice for several weeks I’ll bet you will find it to be a very peaceful and life-giving way to end your days.

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On the hike to Mt. Evans

5. Translate your comfort with listening to your own thoughts into comfort with listening to others.

It’s difficult to listen to others when you’re busy trying to take care of your own thoughts. Once you have sorted out yours, try using that same approach in conversation with others: listen without interrupting, and see if you are more able to actively engage in their story now that you have dealt with your own distractions.

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Up on Mt. Elbert

A quote I often come back to is this:

“Silence is God’s first language; everything else is a misunderstanding.”

Of all the coping mechanisms I use to excel in school, none is as important or as beneficial for me as creating time to be alone and remove myself from all the distractions that so easily surround me. If you make time for yourself, you will create space to add time for others and school as well.

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Chasm Lake

Regis PT Students Run the Boston Marathon

Three Regis DPT students put aside their studies for a weekend and ran the Boston Marathon.  Congratulations to Jenna Carlson (3:43:44), Lauren Hill (3:06:06) and Nolan Ripple (2:49:29) for racing and representing our program! 


 

Name: Nolan Ripple, Class of 2018
Undergrad: University of Portland, OR
Hometown: Peoria, AZ
Fun Fact: Lacrosse player freshly converted to marathon enthusiast.

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Some History on the Boston Marathon:

The Boston Marathon is one of those things that runners dream about.  The legacy, culture, international diversity, and enthusiasm that it brings are bar-none top in the world for marathons.  The Boston Marathon is the oldest continuing running marathon in the world, with its debut in 1897.  On April 17 2017, I was fortunate enough to run in the 121st running of this prestigious event.  For a little background, there are qualifying times for each age group in order to partake.  In my own age group, males 18-34 years old, the cut-off times for selection were 3 hours, 2 minutes, 51 seconds.  That comes out to be just about 6:59 pace/mile for 26.2 miles.  Rigorous qualifying standards are one of the chief reasons why this race holds so much honor.

This was also the 50th year celebrating women running in the race.  The first woman to do so, Kathrine Switzer, was 20 years old when she ran and completed the Boston Marathon.  It’s an interesting story: she had to register under the name “K.V. Switzer” to feign a guy’s name, in order to receive a race bib.  And during the race, a Boston Athletic official tried to rip the bib off of her, but she kept running.  Eventually, she finished the race, and started a tradition of males and females competing each year in this run.  It’s the spirit that Kathrine had that inspires runners from all nations today.


I was a lax bro in undergrad, but a concussion my senior year made me decide it was time to be a Forest Gump for my last year college. Completing a marathon was my first official running goal, and I did that in May 2015 with a time of 3:25:32.  Shortly after, I set my sights on Boston, and worked my butt off to achieve a qualifying time in my next marathon—Phoenix 2016 with 3:01:59, and then Eugene 2016 at 2:55:44. Going to Boston was a dream—namely because it was the first big goal I had set for myself.  My marathon buddy, also conveniently named Nolan, was going to be running with me.  In addition, both of our families were there (shout out to my Crazy Aunt Cathy).  I scored big: a trip to Boston, time off of school, and my dad with his credit card to pay for everything out there!

Boston itself is worth another story.  Great place, amazing people, and awesome food.  Ask Leigh Dugan (’18) if you have further Boston questions.

Fast-forward to Race Day: April 17th.  I had to wake up bright and early to get shuttled from Boston out to Hopkinton because the race is a one-way shot starting in a suburb west of the city.  Upon arriving, there is a massive Athletes’ Village with bananas, bagels, coffee, Gatorade, water, and some tents to relax under.  I had been on an intentional 3-day coffee withdrawal, so the buzz was about to get real.  Thousands of people were shuttling in, and in total, 30,000 runners went through that village.  I met up with Lauren Hill (Class of 2017), and she hooked me up with some pre-workout gum and extra gels (aka liquid play-doh).  We chilled out at the tent for a bit, and then made our way on the .7 mile walk to the start line.  Love how we get to walk .7 miles to the start line pre-marathon… Not like I’m worried about hitting my daily FitBit goal.  I got to my corral, hit the bathroom like 4 times, and then joined a mob of skinny freaks like me in the gate.  Luckily, I was in Corral 2 of Wave 1, so I got in there early and all comfy with my fellow strangers.  We also got to watch the “elites” walk by, who are basically Olympian super-humans.

 

Fast-forward to Race Day: April 17th.  I had to wake up bright and early to get shuttled from Boston out to Hopkinton because the race is a one-way shot starting in a suburb west of the city.  Upon arriving, there is a massive Athletes’ Village with bananas, bagels, coffee, Gatorade, water, and some tents to relax under.  I had been on an intentional 3-day coffee withdrawal, so the bfuzz was about to get real.  Thousands of people were shuttling in, and in total, 30,000 runners went through that village.  I met up with Lauren Hill (Class of 2017), and she hooked me up with some pre-workout gum and extra gels (aka liquid play-doh).  We chilled out at the tent for a bit, and then made our way on the .7 mile walk to the start line.  Love how we get to walk .7 miles to the start line pre-marathon… Not like I’m worried about hitting my daily FitBit goal.  I got to my corral, hit the bathroom like 4 times, and then joined a mob of skinny freaks like me in the gate.  Luckily, I was in Corral 2 of Wave 1, so I got in there early and all comfy with my fellow strangers.  We also got to watch the “elites” walk by, who are basically Olympian super-humans.

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Lauren Hill (’17) and Nolan Ripple (’18) share a picture before their race

The gun went off at 10:00, and we were under way.  The first 3 miles are almost impossible to pass, because it’s like an endless herd of cattle running to the feeding lot.  It’s also mostly downhill and flat for the first 5-10 miles, so 99% of runners go out too fast and have it come back to haunt them later.  At mile 5 it’s really hard to know how you’re going to feel at 25—pro tip.  It was also a really warm day for running.  The course started at 74 and sunny, which may sound perfect.  But when you’re depleting your body of water and electrolytes for 26+ miles, you’d rather have it 20 degrees cooler.  Anyways, you can’t bitch because it’s part of the fun, and a race is never perfect.  I digress, so back to the race! I’m sitting at a nice pace, feeling good, when I realize we’re running by the Wellesley College girls somewhere around mile 13.  It’s an extraordinary stretch of girls that are holding signs asking for all sorts of things, and a probable drop out point for single males.  I gave some high fives, laughed a bit, blew some kisses, and kept jamming.  Shortly after, I ran by a group that I presume to be Boston University students, which I would like to call the “Booze Tunnel.”  It was about 11:30 am, but 5 o’clock for this rowdy bunch.  I considered taking a celeb-shot on the Beer Pong table, but worried that I’d be left dusted by the Chilean dude running next to me.  Somewhere around mile 15 or 16, my GI system decided to implode, kinda like a Michael Bay film.  I found the nearest porta potty, deciding losing a couple minutes was better than dealing with a disaster situation.  Back on course after that though.  I decided Espresso Gu’s wouldn’t be the fuel of source anymore, because I’d end up comatose in a porta potty for sure.  So I took an endurance gum this time.  It gave quite the kick, and got me rolling again up to Heartbreak Hill.

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At the hill, I saw Tiffany (Class of 2018) and Mike who were cheering loudly.  Mike had a beer for me, but I had to politely pass (hopefully the only time I say no to a beer ever again).  Going up Heartbreak Hill was challenging, but I knew flats and downhills followed to the finish.  I popped another endurance gum in around mile 21 and kept going.  At this point, you just keep trying to put one foot in front of the other, because all joints start to hurt.  I always wonder if this is what old age is like. The last 5 miles of the course were completely packed with spectators; this was incredible.  I had an American flag on a stick that I kept with me all race (not sure why still), but people loved it.  Coming down the final corner on Boylston street, I saw my family and family friends… alas!  I was in a mental limbo of ecstasy and fatigue, but passing them was the final fuel for me to finish.  They are all amazing!  I came across that final stretch thinking of all the friends, family, colleagues, teachers, and strangers who have supported me in running, and in life altogether.  I had tears in my eyes when I finished, not from pain, but joy, gratitude, and humility.

If you have read this far, you are one of those people I am talking about.  The support you guys have given me is UNREAL.  This was more than a race to me, it was about setting a goal, working hard, and having others propel me towards a dream.  I lived that dream on April 17, 2017.  I finished in 2:49:29, which was a PR for me.  I have many more goals now set, but this was a big one.  I run because I love it, and I love to compete.  Boston gave me both.

Passion and persistence are two tenants I strive to live by.  Finding a passion, and pursuing it are two staples that I cling close to.  It’s easy to be passionate about something for a week, two weeks, or even a year.  But keeping the same drive day in and day out is a bear.  People saw the last 26.2 miles of training, but not the 1,500 miles that preceded it.

This whole experience was so rewarding because I saw 30,000 other people pursuing something similar to me, and that fire that comes with running.  It’s an art, an expression of oneself.  Others find it in different ways, whether it be in their profession, other hobbies, or relationships they build with others.  It’s amazing to see what’s possible when you love something, and when so many other people go out of their way to support you on that journey.  I love you all for being the kindling to my fire.  Thank you!!!


 

Name: Jenna (Carlson) Jarvis, Class of 2017
Undergrad: Boise State University
Hometown: Broomfield, CO
Fun Fact: My personal record in the mile is a 5:09, but I still would really like to go sub-5 someday.

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Boston is a one of a kind race. Beyond the prestige associated with running one of the few US marathons that requires a qualifying time, everyone told me that people would be cheering me on the entire 26.2 miles and the magic of the race would carry me.  They were right.

The race starts off with you and your closest 7,000 similarly paced friends, standing too close for comfort in a small coral, waiting for that gun to go off.  When it finally does go off, don’t expect to actually start: it will take a while for everyone in front of you to start moving!  The next few miles are still crowded with people running a similar pace, guiding you along to the pace you should be running when you want to hurry down the hills.  The remainder of the race follows the roads of different towns going toward Boston; they’re all lined with cheering fans and accessorized with an insane number of volunteers handing out hundreds of cups of water and police officers and military personal ensuring you are safe.

When people told me there would be people cheering the entire course, I thought they were exaggerating.  They were not.  It is one of the most incredible and exhilarating things I have experienced in a race.  Within each town, there were hundreds of people that line the streets, screaming, holding signs, handing out orange slices and water bottles, and giving you all the encouragement you could possibly need from a crowd.

One of my favorite parts of the race was around mile 13 in Wellesley, MA, home to Wellesley College.  Here, the enthusiasm and energy of the college students was even higher than the previous crowds; I got a big boost of energy, purely because these women looked like they are having so much fun cheering people on and it reminded me that I should be having fun, too!

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The thing I loved the most about running the Boston marathon, however, was the incredible people running the race.  The elites run the marathon in incredible times, but I can’t help but be amazed by what can be done by the rest of us 40,000 mortals.  The energy at the starting line is so supportive and exciting.  Then, as the course drags on and on and as people are getting more and more exhausted, there was (if possible) even more encouragement given to each other. A man came up to me around mile 11 and asked how I was doing.  I lied and told him I was doing alright, and he replied that he was having a hard time with the heat.  I told him he would get through and be fine and he told me the same; this little act of encouragement and kindness meant so much to me.  I saw athletes with amputations and in wheelchairs powering up hills, and it inspired me to keep pushing on when I was hurting because they were probably working harder and hurting more.  I saw runners helping others who were delirious from exhaustion.  I saw some runners carry a woman across the finish line when her legs were no longer willing to carry her.  How can you not be inspired by these people and the incredible things they do for each other?

The race I ran was not what I had wanted.  It was certainly the hardest, most painful race I have ever run.  As a PT student, very often our clinicals, boards, and life take precedence over training (as they rightfully should!). Those things took a much larger toll on me and my training than I thought and would have liked.  Even so, I gave everything I had out on that course that day, and for that I am happy.  Overall, the Boston Marathon did not disappoint.

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Coming to PT School From Another Career

 

Quite a few of our classmates came to physical therapy school after 1, 2, or even 3 previous careers! Laura and Tara are academic all-stars, wonderful additions to our Class of 2018 cohort, and have some of the coolest past experiences out there.  

Name: Laura Baker, Class of 2018
Undergrad: University of New Hampshire, Durham
Hometown: Seville, Ohio
Fun Fact: During college, I studied abroad in Tamil Nadu, India!

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Name: Tara Businski, Class of 2018
Undergrad: Bates College
Hometown: East Lansing, MI
Fun Fact: I have swum in 4 of the world’s 5 oceans.

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First off, tell me about yourself. 

Laura: I grew up on a small farm in Ohio. My father raised hogs and grew crops while my mom operated a strawberry business. Much to the delight of the unsuspecting customers, chaos ensued when piglets escaped from their pens and ran straight for the berry patch.

I chose UNH for my undergraduate degree because of their intriguing curriculum and to chase after the ocean and mountains. I received a resource economics degree that laid the foundation for my natural resource conservation career. After graduation, I spent a year in Queensland, Australia as an intern studying resource economics of tropical rainforest re-forestation. I chose my next job as a forest conservation activist based on running: the people of Ketchikan, Alaska informed me that there were miles of trails (and black bears and wolves were rarely problematic). So there I went–Alaska or bust! I spent the next 11 years working various conservation jobs in Alaska with the majority of my time being spent at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Juneau.

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Laura doing some plant surveying for TNC

Tara: I grew up in Michigan, went to college in Maine, then moved to Newfoundland to study biological oceanography. After 4 years of graduate school, I joined the Marine Corps to be a helicopter pilot. I stayed in that job for almost 9 years, then resigned to come to PT school.

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Tara’s Christmas in Afghanistan

When did PT first catch your eye as a future career? 

Laura: I’ve had a number of encounters with physical therapists, most resulting from mundane, physics-gone-wrong scenarios: a torn ACL here, a nagging hamstring injury there, a helluva whiplash and concussion situation, etc.

After I turned 30, I felt like I had lost the passion for working in the natural resource field; I quit my job and travelled for a year. Several months into drinking wine and picking olives in Italy, I found myself unhappy with my state of uncertainty.  I knew that physical therapy was a profession with attributes that aligned well with my values and goals: a specific and defined skill set, available work in remote areas of Alaska, and getting to support others’ well-being in a tangible way. It seemed like the perfect next step!

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Laura on the job in AK

Tara: When I was considering post-military careers, I was looking for an intellectual challenge and a consistent schedule. I had a biology degree, a Pilates teaching certificate, and a little medical background from my time as an EMT and as a search and rescue volunteer. Physical therapy seemed like a logical extension of these experiences. I’m excited about the new challenges, variety at work, and job prospects.

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Talk about a cool past career! 

Describe how you went from thinking about PT as a career and getting into PT school.

Laura: I came back to Alaska to work odd jobs and sent myself back to school for the basic sciences. I shadowed physical therapists in various settings in Anchorage and Juneau and gave myself 2 years to get accepted into PT school. If, within that time frame, I was not accepted to a program, I figured it was not meant to be and that I would return to the conservation world with new goals and intentions.

Tara: I observed in an outpatient clinic on the base where I was stationed for a handful of hours, but was unable to get very many hours due to work demands. I also took anatomy and physiology at the local community college in the evenings. After I decided on Regis for PT school, I was able to get more observation time at the naval hospital in San Diego. That experience was invaluable and has had a major impact on my interests within the PT profession.

What is an unexpected challenge in PT school?

Laura: I could not have anticipated how much I miss the relationships I had built during my time in Alaska. Also, I’m giving up years of income and will be facing a level of financial instability that makes me squeamish. However, I am completely energized by my motivated classmates, committed faculty, and opportunities that I could not have otherwise imagined!

Tara: Group work across generations. I didn’t even have dial-up internet until high school! While I am proficient with technology, messaging and social media are not as natural to me as for many of my classmates. I like meeting face-to-face much more than messaging…And how many different messaging apps do I really need, anyway? Can’t all my different groups just use the same one? Modes of communication that appear effortless to others take extra time and energy for me to work with

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Tara and Laura take a study break on their bikes

What’s an unexpected awesome part of PT school?

Laura: I am thrilled about the professional and leadership development offered within the curriculum at Regis.

Tara: Being on the puppy raising team!

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Laura: My plan is to practice in southeast Alaska where towns are located among the islands. I cannot say if I will be in a specific clinic, providing tele-medicine, or traveling on the ferry or floatplane to treat people in remote areas. I can say that I am looking forward to settling back into life in Alaska where everyone moves just a little slower than in the big city and where patients compete to bring you their finest smoked salmon.

Tara: Denver–I don’t want to move any more! I’m interested in working with patients with neurologic health conditions so I’d like to be in a rehab center or hospital.

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Tara and Laura sip some cocktails and study for a neuro test

What pieces of advice do you have to incoming students (particularly those coming from another field)?

 

Laura: My advice to incoming “career-changer” DPT students is to practice patience with yourself and others and to recognize that your skills and experience from previous work add significant value to this field.

Tara: Beware of hubris. You bring life experience and maturity to your new profession but you’re still a novice. On the flip side, don’t sell yourself short. You may be new to PT, but have confidence in your new skills and use your life experience to improve communication with your patients and to manage time.

Also, homework sucks. However, when you think nostalgically about being able to leave work behind at the end of the day, remind yourself that school work is helping you become good at your new job. Also, it lasts less than 3 years, so you’ll get back to the real world soon (or so I believe)!

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Questions for the bloggers? Email Tara at tbusinski@regis.edu or Laura at lbaker@regis.edu.

Meet Maggie McKenna: Why Regis?

Name: Maggie McKenna, Class of 2019
Undergrad: University of Dayton
Hometown: LaGrange, IL
Fun Fact: I’ve been skydiving twice!

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Deciding where to go for a Doctor of Physical Therapy education is a big, life-changing decision…but also a very exciting one! Unlike some of my classmates, I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for at first, so my decision process took time. In the end, though, it was Regis that caught my heart and it hasn’t let go since.

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Service Learning!

Here are a few (of many) noteworthy reasons I ultimately chose Regis:

The faculty: I remember being very impressed with the faculty on my interview day, and my admiration for them has only grown in my short time here. All are experts in their specific fields of study, in addition to being involved in many leadership positions throughout the APTA. Most notably, our professors know us as individuals and treat us as equals. They respect and listen to our insights, questions, and concerns and do their best to support us any way possible.

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On top of Breckenridge Mountain with classmates

Colorado: I am from and went to undergrad in the Midwest (Go Flyers!), and was ready for a change of place…and altitude! I traded in the gray, flat, windy Midwest (still love you, home) for three years of sunny days, mountain views, and powder-filled weekends. I was drawn to the mountains and the breathtaking playground it offers.  And when I do miss city life, downtown Denver is just a ten-minute drive away. There is something for everyone here in Colorado! I’ve been here six months and there is still so much more to see and explore—mountains and city alike!

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On top of Mt. Bierstadt!

Jesuit Values: Catholic education is very important to me (17 years and counting!), but by no means do you have to be Catholic or religious to attend Regis. I was drawn to the Catholic education and values that Regis and the Jesuit community stand for because they are ones I hope to embody both as a physical therapist and in life. Through our professors, peers, and curriculum we are encouraged to exemplify these values by caring for the whole person, providing service locally, nationally, and globally, as well as being leaders in our field, practicing with integrity, and collaborating with other professionals.

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Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park on a weekend

Regis was and is the right place for me; I absolutely love it! I chose the place that would help me be the best version of myself, and encourage you all to do the same with your exciting decision ahead. We at Regis are hopeful it will lead you here!

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Sky Pond, RMNP

Finding Your Work-Life Balance in PT School

 

Name: Katherine Koch, Class of 2019
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Undergrad: Ohio State University
Fun Fact: I’ve run two marathons!

                 Profile Pic.jpg               Physical therapy school is tough; that’s true no matter where you go. You’ll be challenged more than you were before and in ways you never were before—academically, intellectually, emotionally, existentially…the list goes on and gets even more dramatic. However, when you go to PT school at Regis and you’re living in Colorado, life gets simultaneously better and tougher. The upside is that you have a seemingly endless outdoor playground to frolic around on, and the downside is that you can’t spend all of your time doing that.

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Some of the Class of 2019 conquering a weekend hike

I grew up in Cleveland—the land of Lebron, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and the river that caught fire. Even though Cleveland rocks, Denver stole my heart pretty much as soon as the plane touched down. And, my first winter living in Colorado has proven again and again that this is where I want to be! Living near mountains provides the perfect pasture for snow bunnies to hop around with skis, snowboards, snowshoes, or just in hiking boots.  It seems as if the sun is always out (a welcome change from the dreary Midwest), and the motivation to go outside and get active is hard to ignore—especially with the free outdoor rentals at Regis!  If mountains aren’t your thing, Denver is a vibrant metropolis filled with fantastic local restaurants, breweries, museums, parks, and more. As biomechanics professor Dr. Erika Nelson-Wong likes to say, “it’s a beautiful day in Colorado,” and Erika is almost never wrong.

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Katherine and her classmates climb a 14er–Mt. Bierstadt!

So: the mountains are great, Denver is  a super cool city, and…what anatomy exam?? Like I said, PT school at Regis will challenge you in a myriad of ways, one of the foremost being time management. As much as I love exploring the city and the outdoors, there are days when I feel like I barely see that enduring sunlight. Classes are long and the work can be arduous. That’s why I’m pretty sure the phrase “work hard, play hard” was invented by a former Regis graduate. We work incredibly hard to become the best clinicians we can be, but we also know that work-life balance is precious and  we must strive to maintain it. On our first day of orientation, foot/ankle master Dr. Tom McPoil urged us to take one day out of the week to not prioritize school, but instead to prioritize everything else. I personally take every Saturday to not even think about school; I go hiking or for a long run or have a movie marathon or explore downtown or literally anything else—but I forget about school for a day. Then, the rest of the week, I have the energy and motivation to focus on school.

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A Halloween study break

While Saturday is a saving grace, weekdays aren’t totally lost to school and studying. No matter how interesting the class is or how captivating the professor is (which they all are!), sometimes it’s tough to sit in class all day and then go home and study. There are many evenings where a group of classmates will check out a new brewery, get some air at the trampoline gym, play pick-up sports, or explore the restaurants on nearby Tennyson Street. Most Denver museums have free admission days once a month; I love checking them out!  Regardless of what your hobbies are, it’s easy to find something you will love.

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Celebrating Josh’s (front and center) birthday at Sky Zone last week with the classmates!

I think Regis is wonderfully unique in that we are encouraged to embody the concept of “cura personalis.” You’ll be intimately familiar with this phrase by the end of your first semester, as we are often reminded that one small part of the body is tightly intertwined with the rest of the body, the mind, and the spirit. We learn to be physical therapists who practice this care for the entire person with our patients and with ourselves. I know that I will not be the best physical therapist I can be if I don’t reward my hard work with some well-deserved time off. Most of my classmates, including myself, were fortunate enough to have multiple options of schools to choose from, and I’m sure I could have gone to any school I was accepted to and worked hard to succeed. However, I came to Regis—and to Colorado—because I knew I would learn how to become an outstanding physical therapist while also becoming the best possible version of myself. And after countless hikes, one 14er climbed, falling on my face 6 times while skiing, 2 excursions to local breweries, 1 snowshoeing experience, 1 trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens, and meeting some of the best friends I could ask for, I’ll say with 100% confidence that I made the right choice.

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Ugly Holiday Sweater party after finishing first semester