Class of 2021
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Major: BS Public Health-Health Policy
Ragan Hummel decided her junior year of high school that she wanted to pursue physical therapy. After searching the Internet for colleges and universities with accredited physical therapy programs, she came across the University of Evansville. "I scoured the website and was highly impressed to learn about the Direct Entry Physical Therapy (DPT) program," she said. "After further exploration of the University and what it stands for, I got more and more excited about the possibility of coming to such an incredible institution."
Ragan first became interested in physical therapy during high school. "I ran cross country and track all four years and was frequently injured with shin splints and other common runner injuries, thus I frequently went to physical therapy for treatment," she said. It was during an internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, that she decided to pursue physical therapy as a profession. "After all that I experienced at the internship, I knew in my heart that this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, and that I would do whatever it takes to achieve it."
Her goal after graduation is to use what she's learned to help people around the world. "It is my goal to hopefully learn fluent Spanish and move to a third-world country to provide physical therapy assistance to those in need."
Ragan's advice for future students is to find internships. "I have had three internships, acquiring over 60 hours of observation in two outpatient settings and one inpatient hospital setting," she said. "Interning will not only help you decide if physical therapy is what you want to pursue, but it also helps you grow immensely as an individual in communicating with professionals and the experiences you will encounter. And if you don't end up liking it, the experience will still look great on college applications! It's really a win-win."
She also advises prospective students to find balance during the busy years of school. "There will be plenty of distractions on campus that can be very enticing, but it is important to maintain a healthy balance of fun and a fair amount of studying," she said. "It is very important to take good notes, GO TO CLASS, engage with your professors, and hit the books. If you do the work, you will be rewarded. If you don't, you won't get the results you want. University life is really very different from anything you've experienced before, both very fun and difficult at times, so do your best to have fun, study hard, and stay active in the Evansville community!"
Thomas Knox, PT, DPT, SCS, COMT, CSCS
Physical Therapist, St. Louis Cardinals
BS Exercise Science 2007
Sports Residency 2010
The Fast-track to Professional Success
After graduating from University of Evansville with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, Thomas Knox transitioned to the UE/ProRehab Sports Physical Therapy residency. He completed the residency program and achieved the Sports Clinical Specialist designation. "The connections I had made while at UE and completing the sports residency helped connect me with my first job in the sports world at EXOS/Athletes' Performance," said Thomas.
He worked at EXOS as a performance specialist and physical therapist for a few years before accepting a position with the Washington Wizards as their director of performance and rehabilitation. "I spent three years there then transitioned to work for the St. Louis Cardinals when the opportunity presented itself."
Thomas said that completing his PT degree at UE was the most significant aspect that helped him get connected in the sports world. "Being able to learn from and receive guidance from Dr. Kiesel and Dr. Plisky enabled me to have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to succeed," he said. "It was their networking and mentoring that allowed my career to not only be fast tracked to the professional sports world but to also succeed in the high-pressure environment."
Thomas's advice for current DPT students is to always keep their eyes open for opportunities. "Never say no…but don't always say yes. You should give any and every opportunity that is presented to you more time and effort than you think it deserves. Often it's the opportunities that are the most inopportune, seemingly impossible, and financially unrewarding that reap the greatest rewards."
Emily Schultz, PT, DPT ‘16
USC/RLANRC Neurologic PT Resident
Why UE DPT?
The University of Evansville DPT program is unique. The academic caseload is all encompassing and prepares students for clinical practice. There are countless extra-curricular activities, such as pro-bono work and research, to be involved in and multiple ways to serve the community. On top of all this, and most important to me, at UE you are truly part of a family. From the faculty to the students, there is an undeniable community atmosphere. The small class size truly allows for students to get to know one-another and their professors on a deeper level. I felt that this was one of the most important aspects of my education at UE. The atmosphere helped to keep me grounded as I took on a stressful academic career.
The atmosphere also encouraged me to self-reflect and identify my goals. The faculty and my fellow classmates pushed me to challenge myself and offered support when I aspired to try something new. For me, this was most evident as my classmates, Mary Kessler, and I took on ACErcise. Also, when faced with the complicated decisions as to “what happens next?”, my professors were always available as mentors and sound boards. Countless times professors made time for me to work through my plans. Professors even made themselves available by phone to help coach me through stressful interviews and offer their support. At UE, I can guarantee that you will be pushed to achieve your best potential, both in and outside the classroom. You will make amazing friends and find life-long mentors in the faculty.
Advice for a 1st year PT student
GET INVOLVED! There are so many outside of the classroom opportunities to become involved in as a student of the UE DPT program, and you need to take advantage! You will have the opportunity to collaborate with classmates and faculty to be a part of a student run pro-bono PT clinic and group exercise program. There are also different clubs and peer mentor opportunities available. In addition, students can assist professors in research and can serve as tutors and teacher’s assistants for numerous courses.
My experiences outside the classroom are truly what took my education to the next level. I also found so much passion and joy from engaging in them. Getting involved allowed me to supplement my education, but, most importantly, it served as a constant reminder for my purpose in PT school. Never forget WHY you want to be a physical therapist. Never forget your mission. Despite the stress or challenges you may face, let that “why” be your fuel to drive you.
In the future, I aspire to have my NCS. I aim to work in an outpatient neurologic PT clinic while working as an adjunct professor for the nearest DPT program. Due to my love for pro-bono work, I also plan to volunteer at pro-bono clinics where I live and/or work to help develop pro-bono programs in areas of need. I am passionate about the field of neurologic physical therapy and about serving that patient population. I aim to be involved in multiple aspects of care and to help ignite this passion in future students.
What Am I up to now?
Currently, I am working as a resident in the University of Southern California and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency. As a resident, I stay busy and get vast exposure to my field! I am working as a physical therapist at Rancho Los Amigos in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. I am able to practice at this nationally renowned facility and receive one-on-one mentorship from the best in this field. I am also assisting the lead researchers of the ICARE trial in the development and writing of a follow-up piece of literature. I serve as a resident teacher for the neuroanatomy and electrophysiology courses in the University of Southern California’s DPT program curriculum. Once a week, I work in Keck Medical Center’s Neurology physician clinic, where I sit in on the neurologist’s appointments performing movement analyses, educating patients over the importance of staying active, and referring appropriate patients to physical therapy. Lastly, I volunteer as a physical therapy supervisor for Fit Families, a student run pro-bono community wellness program.
I love every second of this chapter in my life! I am learning every day, and continuing to grow as a clinician. I hope one day to be able to make a large impact in this field, but most importantly in the lives of the patients and families I serve.
Brian Joyce is serious about sports, which has inspired him to pursue a career in physical therapy. "Due to a running injury in high school, I gained firsthand knowledge of the benefits of physical therapy. That experience, as well as my course and lab work, has strengthened my goal to work with athletes. "Down the road, I would like to look into teaching physical therapy. My professors have always made themselves available for any questions and review of materials we're learning. Several professors offer extra review sessions in addition to scheduled lecture time."
Brian has taken full advantage of the many facets of the University of Evansville. He is a member of UE's NCAA Division I cross country team and numerous campus organizations and community activities. His involvement has included College Mentors for Kids, Newman Club, Habitat for Humanity, the Student-Alumni Mentoring Program, and study abroad at Harlaxton College. "The people I have met and relationships I have built at UE have impacted and changed me most during my college years."
Terre Haute, Indiana
Kim Sutterer met a physical therapist who graduated from the University of Evansville and decided to take a look at UE for herself. She knew it would take hard work to get into the program, but felt prepared to embrace the opportunity and fully commit herself to learning physical therapy. While an athletic training major at UE and as a student in UE's DPT program, Kim has done just that.
"So far I have completed one eight-week clinical experience. The best part was that it confirmed my desire to be a physical therapist. My placement was perfect, and I was fortunate to observe several different aspects of the field. It is an exciting feeling to be able to connect classroom learning with real world situations and help make decisions to treat patients." Other observation experiences Kim has had while at UE include wound care, women's health, cardiac rehabilitation, and acute care.
"For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a physical therapist. A person never realizes what it's like to lose some aspect of normal function until it happens. Physical therapists help patients regain function and return to things that they love. I can't wait to be a practicing physical therapist!"
Sarah Davis' decision to major in physical therapy came during an eighth grade career shadow day. "I absolutely loved the experience and realized that physical therapy encompassed many of the things I'm passionate about — people, physical activity, and science."
Finding the right university was the next step. "UE's direct entry program was very attractive, and I wanted to learn more about attaining my doctorate in physical therapy in six years. I visited Evansville during my junior year and discovered I really enjoyed the campus. After my one-on-one meeting with a PT faculty member, I was convinced UE was for me."
Since coming to UE, Sarah has changed from a shy, quiet student to an outgoing and confident individual. "I'm an orientation leader and a member of Student Christian Fellowship, EXSS Club, and the Physical Therapy Club. I've also completed an internship in South Carolina at a cardiac rehab facility. I'm making the most of my college experience."