Physical Therapy Alumni in the spotlight!
We are proud to feature the accomplishments that many of our Alumni have achieved after receiving their degree from FGCU.
Alex Wann, DPT
For Alex Wann, the decision to pursue a career in physical therapy came mid-way through his undergraduate studies. He knew that he found fulfillment through helping people and enjoyed the social aspects of a career in physical therapy. After completing a Bachelor's degree in Gerontology, Alex graduated from the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at FGCU in 2016.
Immediately after graduation , Alex accepted a job in Houston, Texas, working for Select Physical Therapy. After working for Select Physical Therapy for 1 year, Alex moved into a traveling physical therapist position. This opportunity affords Alex the experiences of working as a PT in a number of different settings, with different populations, and exposes him to various practicing methods across the different areas of the country.
For students who are entering their last semester, Alex can empathize with the stress that comes with upcoming exams. His best tips are to, "Go in and be confident. Trust yourself and study hard." He remembers all the hard work leading up to the licensure exam and recommends that students take time to relax and reflect after passing the exam. Enjoy the process of transitioning from graduation to employment.
In his own experience, the first year of employment involved a great deal of learning with general treatment practice for Alex. When looking for employment, he suggests finding a business with good mentorship opportunities. He feels that his willingness to continue learning and his interpersonal skills have helped him to be successful and get the most out of his experiences. In the future, Alex is interested in working further with geriatric populations. He has ideas about someday starting his own home health business or working in a transitional facility.
Adrian Lores, DPT
Adrian graduated from FGCU in 2015 with his Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree. Among his many reasons for accepting a position with out program, Adrian noted that FGCU stood out because of the, "Excellently trained and caring faculty, a great teacher to student ratio, and state of the art facilities." He also noted that the competitive tuition rates for in-state students was a draw.
Adrian is very grateful for his experiences at FGCU, including the professional growth he developed through oral defenses and clinical rotations. Adrian shared three themes he learned through his time at FGCU. "First, good Physical Therapy is hard work and one must draw confidence from the fact that no matter the situation, you are willing to do whatever is in your power to help the patient. Second, the body is one cohesive unit so treat it as such. Last, the better questions you ask the better answers you will find."
Adrian is currently working at a small, private practice clinic in the downtown Miami area. He treats a variety of patients, but primarily treats orthopedic issues such as low back and shoulder pain, and running injuries. He encourages future DPT students to be patient and focus on mastering the basics, including the essentials of anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology.
Kristie Centner, DPT
Kristie graduated from FGCU in 2014 with her Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree. Among her many reasons for accepting a position with our program, Krisite noticed that, "Many of our professors serve on FPTA/APTA boards and were great motivators in growing the PT profession." The strong drive many of our professors have to contribute research to the profession has given Kristie opportunities to be published, experience great clinical rotations, and network throughout the state of Florida.
Kristie initially chose physical therapy as a profession due to her interest in sports medicine and athletics. However, while in our program, she developed a love for neurology and soon discovered that the physical therapists can work with a variety of populations. Kristie says her doctoral independent research project had the greatest impact on her during her studies. "Another classmate and I got work closely with the FGCU College of Health Professions researching the effects of Kinesiotape. We learned so much about how to conduct and analyze research studies and ultimately helped to develop evidence for PT practice in an area lacking research."
Some of Kristie's most memorable college experiences were the white coat ceremony and graduation day. To her, "Those days meant that I was ready to go out in the world, take all the tools FGCU had given me, and start helping people as a physical therapist." Kristie is currently the Physical Therapy Manager at a Skilled Nursing Facility/Outpatient Clinic and Long Term Care Facility in Miami, Florida. She enjoys helping patients achieve their goals, establishing students within a clinical education program, and mentoring those around her to become evidence-based clinicians.
When asked what words of wisdom she would offer to current and future students, Kristie says, "Work hard. The physical therapy program is certainly not easy. Neither is our profession. Keep passionate about your work and your patients and you will carry that with you throughout your career."
Erin Pauley, DPT
Erin Pauley graduated from the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in 2015. Erin is currently working at a private outpatient physical therapy clinic in San Antonio, TX. Though she sees patients of all ages, Erin specializes in athletic populations. Prior to pursuing her physical therapy degree, Erin worked as an athletic trainer and was driven to learn more about treating athletes and athletic injuries. She recognizes the DPT Program at FGCU for its problem-based learning model. This model fostered Erin's ability to think critically, which has assisted her when treating patients of all background and diagnoses. The clinical rotation also had a significant impact on Erin's professional development, "My clinical rotation in an acute inpatient setting helped me to expand my outlook and forced me to think outside the box when treating patients." When asked about rewarding moments during her college experience, Erin reflected on memories of helping patients who have suffered a stroke to walk out of the hospital. To current and prospective DPT students, Erin offers this honest advice: "You get out what you put in."
Chrstina Machuca Metz, DPT
Christina earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from FGCU in 2014. She is currently working in the Brain Injury and Stroke Unit at Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation in Chattanooga, TN. She is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist and is also active in a spinal cord injury support group.
Christina is working to expand her expertise by applying to sit for the Neurologic Clinical Specialist Exam in spring of 2018. Becoming board certified in neurology will help Christina toward her long-term goal of becoming an educator. Dr. Mollie Venglar, FGCU Physical Therapy faculty member, helped to cultivate Christina's interest in neurology while she was in the PT program. "Dr. Venglar's enthusiasm for neurology really inspired my love for treating those with neurologic impairments, and I'd like to pass that on to another generation of PTs."
Christina believes that the broad knowledge base she gained by participating in clinical experiences in varied settings helped to set her apart as a physical therapist. She also recognizes that her desire to continue to grow and learn as a clinician has given her an edge. Chrstina values the method of teaching/learning in the FGCU DPT Program as it helped to instill practices of researching pathologies and evidence based interventions. Christina acknowledges that there is some unease with joining the workforce and functioning independently as a clinician, so she passes on this advice to graduating DPT students, "Don't let your fears paralyze you. Let them inspire you to learn more, read more, and work harder to find the best evidence based methods to improve your patients' quality of life, reduce their pain, and maximize their function."
Bridgett Klemz, DPT
Bridgett attended FGCU for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. In 2011, Bridgett graduated from the Human Performance (now Exercise Science) Program and went straight into the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Having completed the Human Performance Program at FGCU was an advantage for Bridgett when it came time to take Movement Science in the DPT Program. She felt prepared for the challenges in the DPT Program because of the solid foundation of knowledge she gained in the Human Performance Program.
When Bridgett graduated with her Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree in 2014, she was very selective about picking her first employment. In the end, she utilized her network at FGCU to find a job in Fort Lauderdale at Select Physical Therapy. Bridgett serves as the Clinic Center Manager of Select Physical Therapy, located within a performance gym. Bridgett is grateful for experiences she had working as a hostess which helped to hone her customer service skills, as well as her experience as a strength coach which contributes to her expertise working with athletic populations; both skills that she utilizes when working with clients.
Although Bridgett's goals have evolved over time, she feels encouraged by the opportunities around her. Bridgett is working to build up the athletic population in the clinic. Through her job, Bridgett has been able to work with ballerinas at a ballet studio as well as collegiate football players who are preparing for the NFL draft. She encourages future graduates to find a place of employment that provides outlets for mentorship and that encourage employees to pursue their interests.
Sean Landis, DPT
Sean knew he wanted to become a physical therapist ever since he was in high school. He started at FGCU in the Human Performance (now Exercise Science) Major and went directly into the DPT program after earning his Bachelor's degree in 2010.
Sean shared two experiences in his educational career that helped to shape him into the physical therapist he is now. The first was his experiential learning experience at Webber International University when he was an undergraduate student. Sean and two others helped develop the strength and conditioning program into a multifaceted, dynamic program. Sean's other memorable experience was during a clinical rotation during his doctorate program. Sean took this opportunity to self-reflect and determine what type of clinical experience he wanted to offer to the PT and PTA students he would eventually work with.
Sean urges current and future students to put in the extra effort at FGCU. He says that, "The staff of both Exercise Science and DPT [programs] were always more than willing to assist when needed. If you want to do the bare minimum you will get the bare minimum out of it. However, if you are willing to try a little harder, it is amazing what you can get out of the programs."
After working for a while in Louisiana, Sean has return to SWFL and currently works at The Terraces of Bonita Springs which includes Skilled Nursing, Home Health, and Outpatient Services. He also works in the skilled nursing facility at Lee Health.
Brian Bochette, DPT
Brian started off at FGCU as a Human Performance (now Exercise Science) Major. After receiving his Bachelor's degree in 2007, Brian considered many different options for graduate schools. Ultimately, he decided to continue at FGCU to pursue his Master's degree in Physical Therapy because of the many positive relationships he had built with the PT faculty. After receiving his Master's in Physical Therapy in 2010 from FGCU, Brian went on to complete his Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree in 2014.
When asked what led him to his major, Brian says, "I have had an interest in health and fitness for most of my life. When deciding on a career I wanted to be in a field where I could help others and also remain active myself." He found that the Human Performance Program was a perfect fit for his interests and that Physical Therapy was the logical extension of his path. During his time at FGCU, Brian had several opportunities to participate in internships and clinical rotations. He says, "In both my undergraduate and graduate education, the most rewarding experiences were those where I was able to take what I'd learned and use it to help others."
During his educational career, Brian was also able to serve as a graduate teaching assistant. This experience had a tremendous impact on Brian, as he was able to discover his love for teaching. After graduating, Brian worked as a Physical Therapist in an outpatient setting for about 5 years. During this time, he also came back to FGCU and began teaching as an Adjunct and began coaching CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting. Currently, Brian is working as a physical therapist, teaches at FGCU and Keiser University, and is co-owner of Thoroughbred Athletics/CrossFit Thoroughbreds in Fort Myers. Brian says, "All of this keeps me very busy, but I love what I do and I'm very grateful for the path my life has taken."
Brian leaves these words of wisdom for any students who pursue a degree in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences:
"Remember that the end goal is not just to get a job but to enter a profession. Take every occasion to learn and treat every day as an opportunity for professional growth. You will never regret the hard work you invest in your own development.
Lori Lang, MSPT
Lori Lang, MSPT graduated from FGCU in 2003 with her Masters in Physical Therapy. This was FGCU's 3rd graduating class in the Physical Therapy Program. It was an article in the New York Times that first introduced her to FGCU "America's newest university." She felt instantly drawn to the opportunities for experiential learning and said that it changed her view on education by instilling a life-long passion for evidence-based research and patient care. She also felt that, "The school's team oriented approach to solving problems was apradigm shift for me perosnally and professionally." She feels that this learning style not only prepared her to be an active, positive force in healthcare, but also in her everyday life.
Lori sustained an injury in the 6th grade that required extensive rehabilitation. It was through that experience that her love of physical therapy was first instilled. The first semester of the FGCU PT program still stands out in Lori's mind. She felt as though, "It was an exercise of truly understanding your individual style, which was crucial to understanding how to study and how to succeed." She feels as though it was a pivotal moment and changed the way educations and guides her patients.
Lori says of the physical therapy program, "FGCU's program has taught me not only the skills I utilize daily, but also to be compassionate, motivated, team-oriented and to listen to others." Lori believes that communication is key with everyone involved in a patient's care, including the patient. Therefore, it is very important to listen well and learn something new every day. She encourages current and future students to remember that change is constant, so it should be welcomed and not feared. Most importantly, Lori says, "Passion is the most important attribute to being successful. Never stop learning and never stop caring."
Lori has been with Accelerated Cate Plus (ACP) for 11 years. She started as a Clinical Program Consultant and has worked her way up to the Regional Manager of Operations position. She first learned of ACP as a SNF Rehab Director since her job used many modalities and evidence based practice guidelines. After seeing the patient success clinically that came with these products, she knew that she would be a good fit with ACP.
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