M.S. Physical Therapy
"The completion of the physical therapy program would bring lots of opportunities, it was certainly a challenge. I started the program in the fall of 2005 with 10 other students. One of the greatest attributes to this program is the small size. Over the next three years those ten other students became part of my family. We supported each other, challenged each other, encouraged and motivated each other, and learned from each other. In three years, the eleven of us went through four marriages, two divorces, and two pregnancies. We have had a lot of fun together and we will continue to learn from each other as we move forward into our careers.
The FGCU physical therapy program has four full-time clinical rotations built into the curriculum. Three settings; acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, and orthopedic outpatient are required. The last clinical rotation can be any setting that you are interested in or another of the previous settings. A career in physical therapy opens up a gallery of choices. The possibilities are truly endless and FGCU helped me discover those possibilities.
Another requirement of the FGCU physical therapy program is the completion of a thesis or an independent study. A topic is chosen and over the course of the program students are required to continually work on their topic in addition to coursework and clinical rotations.
I graduated with my fellow physical therapy friends. I look back at the last three years as some of the hardest, most challenging, and incredible years of my life. It was seldom easy but rewarding none the less. Looking back, I credit the FGCU physical therapy program for the most important lessons I have learned. I learned to dream big, fight for what you want, let nothing stand in your way, be honest to yourself and others, admit when you are wrong, and never be content in your knowledge."
Yixuan (Ellen) Xing
M.S. Accounting and Taxation
“Having the opportunity to study at Florida Gulf Coast University is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I was determined to return to FGCU for graduate studies after the wonderful experience I had as an undergraduate exchange student from China. I have been trying to utilize every moment I have at FGCU to improve myself, and being so far away from home, I need to manage my life well too. It is challenging sometimes, but luckily I have received so much help from FGCU faculty and staff. There is always someone there when I need help. Without them, there is no way I could do the things I am doing right now. Many people have asked why I didn't apply to larger graduate schools. The answer is simple, I love being here! The faculty is great, I have wonderful friends around me, and there is always someone there when I need help. FGCU is my second home, although my actual home is in another part of the world! I am proud to be a student at FGCU and I believe one day, FGCU will be proud of me too.”
M.S. Environmental Science
"I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell College where I double majored in Geology and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Science. While in attendance at Cornell, I became interested in studying climate change and how it drives changes on an ecosystems. When looking at graduate schools, it was important to me that I found a program where I could conduct research in this area, and interact with a faculty that would foster my interests. Florida Gulf Coast University has proved to be the perfect fit for me providing such an opportunity supported by a curriculum that not only provided the background needed to be knowledgeable in my research interests, but also exposing me to a broad array of topics providing a unique understanding of the natural world.
Conducting my thesis research investigating the coastal geomorphology of South Florida has been a rewarding experience in that it has lead to a better understanding of Florida’s coastal processes, which may be utilized to make informed decisions regarding the management and restoration practices of local resources. Furthermore, this research has given me first hand experience in project management, data collection/analysis, and technical writing that will make for a seamless transition to a career centered around environmental stewardship and public service. I have valued my time at FGCU and would recommend the program to anyone looking to gain a succinct understanding of the natural world and the issues that are currently surrounding it."
Sasha Linsin Wohlpart
M.S. Environmental Science
"From the very beginning, my experience with the graduate program at FGCU was positive. I came to the University with an interest in pursuing research that would advance our understanding of the natural world and was met with tremendous enthusiasm from faculty who graciously shared with me their own research interests and expertise. These meetings and my initial course work provided me with the tools I needed to select a thesis topic and to create a research project that would fulfill my interests.
There were a tremendous number of opportunities made available to me as a graduate student at FGCU including a variety of very interesting and unique courses, such as a carbonate environments course offered in San Salvador, Bahamas, and several special topics courses, all taught by an enthusiastic and dedicated group of faculty. Every professor that I encountered worked hard to ensure that the students would be able to use their courses as a vehicle through which to advance their own research. In addition, my thesis work allowed me opportunities to work with the staff of the Coastal Watershed Institute at FGCU to collect my data in the Ten Thousand Islands and Estero Bay, to travel to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where I worked collaboratively with professors and graduate students, to travel to Geological Society of America meetings to present my research, and to participate as an author on a technical report for the Environmental Protection Agency. Finally, I was given the opportunity to work as both a research assistant to my primary advisor, Dr. Michael Savarese, and as a teaching assistant to Dr. Win Everham.
As the end of my graduate work drew near, I felt a strong calling to return to the classroom where I would be able to share my new knowledge and experiences with others. Upon completion of my degree, I was fortunate enough to be offered an instructor position at FGCU. I am currently teaching Environmental Biology of Southwest Florida and Coastal and Watershed Geology in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences. In my role as an instructor, I feel that I am able to contribute back to the University community that nurtured me through two years of graduate school. I can’t imagine a more perfect outcome!"
"I chose FGCU because of its community atmosphere and its fast growing nature. FGCU gave me the opportunity to succeed in scholarship as well as in leadership. I graduated in 2007 with a BA in History and minors in Latin American Studies, Global Studies, and Art. While an undergraduate I was a member of the International club, as well as Golden Key Honor Society.
I am currently pursuing an MA in History at FGCU. The graduate history program is a brand new program that is growing together with the students. The faculty is very friendly and committed to helping students succeed. This year, the students of one of the pioneer classes attended as panelists at the Florida Conference of Historians. Our panel topic was nationalism. The papers presented demonstrated the knowledge and research interests of the students involved. The paper that I presented at this conference demonstrated my interest in Latin American history. I researched how Eva Peron became a symbol of nationalism by embracing motherhood. I also work as a graduate assistant for the history department. This is a positive experience that provides me with the practice that I will use in my future career. The classes also offered me hands-on projects. For example, my public history class developed a display for the Southwest Florida Museum of History. Our display honored the 25 anniversary of the Southwest Florida International Airport. This project gave us the opportunity to work in two different archives.
I am also a member and a former president of Phi Alpha Theta, which is the history honor society. This club provides the graduate and undergraduate history majors the opportunity to develop their skills outside the classroom.
The FGCU graduate studies program is like the university, a fast growing program that offers a personal and friendly treatment to each of its students. This section of FGCU provides the graduate students with the benefits of a small community with the willingness to offer the aids and sources to satisfy the student’s needs and expectations.
Together with the Graduate Studies Office a group of students established the Graduate Students Organization. This organization attempts to help the graduate students with their diverse needs that differ from the undergraduate students. I am one of the founders and the treasurer of the organization. We hope that the new incoming graduate students will enhance and flourish the Graduate Student Organization and the FGCU Graduate Studies program."
M.S. Criminal Justice
"FGCU was an easy choice for my master’s degree because of the simple fact that it was such a great place to complete my undergraduate degree. Many of my friends who went to other schools won’t have the same opportunity for interaction between students and staff that we do at FGCU. The small class sizes and the knowledgeable educators we have here make it a great place to pursue your higher education.
My current research involvement is focused around the testing that is performed with the Weapons and Equipment Research Institute which is under the guidance of Dr. Charlie Mesloh. Most of the testing we do is very hands on and ranges from TASER’s and pepper spray to highway road flares. The focus is to independently test equipment that may be used in law enforcement applications to ensure that those officers who are risking their lives to protect ours have the best equipment possible. Many of the research projects we perform are funded through grants provided by the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
The pursuit of my masters in Forensic Science and the research I have conducted with Dr. Mesloh has helped to prepare me for my future career in law enforcement. Effective written communication and the hands on learning environment ensure that each student that completes the program is well versed in performing state of the art investigative techniques. In addition, courses such as Dr. Walsh-Haney’s Forensic Anthropology course provide an insight into trauma and human identification that other programs across the country could not even dream of having.
My career goal is to work in federal law enforcement.
Christen Elizabeth Herrick
M.S. Criminal Forensics
"I am a graduate student in the Criminal Forensics Studies program, studying with Dr. Heather Walsh-Haney in the Human Identification and Trauma Analysis concentration. I began my academic career at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2003, and received my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Forensics Studies and Criminal Justice in April 2007. I chose to continue my graduate education at Florida Gulf Coast University based on the excellent education and mentorship I had received as an undergraduate.
I am a student member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the Paleopathology Association, and FEMORS, Florida’s mass disaster response team. My research in forensic anthropology includes disease patterns in skeletal remains, immunology, and dental morphology. I plan to pursue my PhD in Physical Anthropology once I finish my MS degree at FGCU."
Christina Nicole Jordan-Watkins
Master of Social Work
Christina received her Master of Social Work Degree from FGCU in Spring 2008. Christina is driven to be a life long learner that gives back to her community and her alma mater.
Christina chose to attend FGCU to earn her Master Degree for the same reasons she chose to complete her bachelor degree here. “I chose to attend FGCU because the institution could offer me things that other universities could not which were: great student faculty ratios, accredited programs, the experience of being able to be apart of something new, the possibility to be a pioneer, and the opportunity to build tradition. In addition, by Fort Myers being my hometown, FGCU’s location allowed me to be close to home but in a positive and empowering academic environment. I admire the growth of our University and the support I received while attending FGCU during my undergraduate years. Therefore, when I decided to pursue my Master Degree I chose my alma mater. During my post-graduate level work, I was able to participate in the Annual Research Day in which I presented my Single System Design on Stopping Negative Thoughts using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). FGCU has proven to be student-focused and committed to ensuring quality education in a quality academic arena. I feel that FGCU has prepared me for my future endeavors by challenging me to continuously use new skills and knowledge, to be creative and to be a leader while fostering the use of evidenced-based practice.” Christina is now an academic advisor in the College of Professional Studies here at FGCU.
As a Peruvian journalist that moved to Cape Coral in June 2003, Alessia is a published writer and a regular contributor to the News-Press. She is an active member of Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife and Friends of the Cape Coral Library. Alessia completed her Master's in English in 2008. She is currently working as an adjunct of the Department of Language and Literature. Here is what she had to say about her experience at FGCU.
"I feel at home every time I hear the clock striking all around campus. It is a familiar sound to me since life in the small villages of the Peruvian Andes beats by the bells of hundreds of churches. Home is also present in the smile of other students, teachers, and staff members. Through my life, literature has been my endless source of ideas and dreams, but also strength. I truly believe that creative writing is a singular way to understand and deal with reality. Literature has been for me a sort of security blanket in many difficult times, mainly during periods of adaptation. Languages are immense and there will always be new words to learn and more expressions to understand. However, I cannot put aside my visions, goals, and projects. In the end, it is not just the language itself that I expect to grasp, but the soul where the core of any language lies. I feel the moral responsibility to keep working for my adopted community and our environment. Also, I know I have a literary challenge ahead of me. The program in English at FGCU has provided me the tools I need to accomplish both goals."