Colleen Bouchard

March 18, 2014

Colleen Bouchard is graduating in the spring of 2014. She is a biology major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Why study pre-physical therapy at a liberal arts college?  

Physical therapy combines aspects of multiple disciplines so it seems fitting to attend a liberal arts college where you are able to get an extremely well-rounded education. There is so much more collaboration occurring out in the world today, especially in the health care professions, that it is extremely beneficial to be well-rounded and knowledgeable in multiple disciplines.

What makes the pre-physical therapy program at CSB/SJU unique?   

The pre-physical therapy program at CSB/SJU is unique because it allows you to meet the pre-physical therapy prerequisites while majoring in a field of your choice. You truly get a well-rounded liberal arts education. The pre-physical therapy program at CSB/SJU also offers the opportunity to take part in undergraduate research. There are a number of classes, especially in the exercise science and sport studies department, that partake in group research projects during the semester. There are also numerous opportunities to help professors with their research projects outside of a class.  

What has your experience with the CSB/SJU pre-physical therapy program faculty been like?  

The faculty at CSB/SJU is amazing, especially the pre-physical therapy advisor Don Fischer. He has all the contacts, resources and advice anyone could ever need. He cares and knows you as a person rather than just a student. The faculty here at CSB/SJU are truly here for students. They want their students to succeed and therefore challenge them so that they grow and develop intellectually and personally.

What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?   

The greatest challenge I have faced has probably been excelling academically while playing varsity soccer and managing a job. Learning how to be efficient at time management and having balance in my life has also been challenging.  While a busy schedule can get stressful at times, it is important to get involved and meet new people.

What advice do you have for students considering the pre-physical therapy program?  

For any profession, job shadow as soon as possible. It really gives a better understanding about what the profession involves and how a physical therapist spends his or her day. Next, try and involve yourself in undergraduate research. Throughout my research experience I not only learned so much about the research process, but also about the latest and greatest research findings.  I learned things that I had not learned in any of my classes. I also was given the opportunity to present my research at regional and national conferences, which were incredible learning experiences.  Lastly, it is important to stay on track with your prerequisite classes and finish your observation hours as soon as possible. By staying on track, you can apply early to graduate schools, which is extremely advantageous since some schools have rolling admissions. 

Did you study abroad? If so, how did that experience impact you?  

Yes, I studied abroad in Cork, Ireland. I also was fortunate enough to travel around mainland Europe for a month.  The whole experience was amazing!  I learned a lot about myself and I developed a greater understanding and appreciation for other cultures. It allows you to gain skills and learn from life experiences that you aren't able to learn in a classroom.  If you have the chance to study abroad, I definitely recommend it! 

What are your plans after graduation?  

I will be attending the University of Iowa Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. I love sports, so I hope to become an orthopedic or sports physical therapist.